Are you waiting for a knock on the door for an audit of your software licenses to take place? Well if you are, you're not alone! Some 88 percent of European organizations expect their IT assets to be audited at least once in the next 12 months, and 77 percent would struggle to conduct this audit report, according to a poll CA Technologies conducted at the Gartner European Gartner Procurement, Financial and Asset Management Summit in October.
Even though these results are from Europe, I believe that they are quite representative of the global picture. The study found that most organizations aren't well prepared to manage their software licenses and that it is difficult to identify unused software and redistribute it within their organization. I know of organizations paying maintenance fees for licenses that are not even in use. Others are using antiquated software that is no longer supported.
The increasing dependence on technology for effective and efficient business means that CIOs cannot continue to ignore the financial and organizational risks of unmanaged software assets. It is critical for organizations to implement a defined software asset management program, supported by the appropriate tools, to manage an increasingly growing software estate.
At a minimum, the CIO must ensure programs are in place to manage software license allocation, usage, harvesting and retirement, or suffer the potential financial penalties associated with a failed software audit. Most organizations' environments are too complex to manage assets manually or as part of an antiquated procurement process, so you need to use the right tools to ensure that you are effectively managing your software assets and their use. The problem with many tools is that they only offer basic software asset management capabilities that count what you own and, in a higher maturity implementation, those that have been deployed. What's required are solutions that understand what you are using, and what you are entitled to use under what conditions.
I encourage you to read the press release and the executive summary for more information on the asset management challenges organizations are facing. And if you are having challenges funding your own software asset management program, I'd suggest that you pass a copy on to your CIO!