Flexera Software offers advice to get your IT estate in order
- as latest Gartner survey points to another increase in software audits over the last 12 months
- 61% of those surveyed had been audited in the past 12 months, the highest percentage of any comparable Gartner survey
A survey published by research analyst, Gartner, on the 2nd March, highlighted the need for companies to ensure they are in compliance in preparation for being audited, with a doubling of the numbers being audited in just 3 years. Citing the increasing complexity of the IT environment as one of the reasons software vendors audit, especially in relation to virtualised environments and the increasing numbers of mobile devices, as well as of course opportunism - Gartner recommends taking action quickly to ensure asset management processes are in place.
Jill Powell, Global Content Manager at Flexera Software concurs with their advice, "The risk of software audits presents a real threat to organisations. The resulting fine or licence 'true-up' resulting from an audit is generally an unbudgeted cost. Gartner's survey should be 'ringing alarm bells' in the ears of IT Asset Managers, and is a cautionary tale. Investing now in better management of software purchases and implementing processes to manage licence compliance, is potentially only a fraction of the many millions of pounds a software audit may cost."
Audits can be highly disruptive to an organisation. Below are a couple of key areas to focus on when defending against an audit:
Inventory and asset recognition
Collect and analyse inventory for all computers to accurately list all the installed products. Sometimes the tools the auditors use may not be as accurate in determining exactly what's installed, so having good internal systems where full inventory can be determined will provide a much better grounds for negotiation. When determining installations, all versions and editions of the different products should also be included. For example, if there are three versions of Adobe Acrobat installed, then the inventory analysis must accurately report all of these versions. In addition, an organisation must accurately determine the versions and editions of all suites installed versus respective component products. This has significant cost implications.
Understand what volume licence agreements are in place and what entitlements those agreements offer. The product use rights for each product purchased generally differ from product to product and version to version. For example, Adobe Acrobat Pro 7.0, 8.0 and 9.0 may all be installed on the same computer and it will only consume one licence. However, this is not the case for the older versions of Adobe Acrobat, where each installation consumes a licence. Hence, the importance of accurately reckoning installations and applying use rights correctly.
'Freeware' may come in to play too. This includes software that may not be purchased and is free to use, but only within certain 'terms and conditions'. If the software publisher has freeware such as 'players' and 'readers', ensure that these are identified and not mistaken for their purchasable counterparts.
Automating the inventory collection, asset recognition and licence management process is the only failsafe option for organisations. A Software Asset Management and licence optimisation tool with a comprehensive Application Recognition Library and built-in support for product use rights is a must. Such a tool not only ensures enterprise-wide compliance, but also helps optimise licence consumption and reduce spend on software.
 Gartner, Survey Analysis: Survey shows another increase in software vendor audits? IT asset managers should prepare now - ID no: G00210916 2nd March 2011
Flexera Software GmbH
Flexera Software is the leading provider of strategic solutions for Application Usage Management; solutions delivering continuous compliance, optimised usage and maximised value to application producers and their customers. Flexera Software is trusted by more than 80,000 customers that depend on our comprehensive solutions - from installation and licencing, entitlement and compliance management to application readiness and enterprise licence optimisation - to strategically manage application usage and achieve breakthrough results realised only through the systems-level approach we provide. Flexera Software is a privately-held company and an investment of private equity firm Thoma Bravo, LLC.
Our European headquarters is based in Maidenhead, UK. For more information, please visit: www.flexerasoftware.com.