Software Asset Management: Potent Antidote for License Audits



Our recent posts have focused on the increasing frequency of software license audits, and steps organizations can take to make an audit less of a hassle. Vendors such as Oracle are using audits to uncover software that isn’t properly licensed. If an organization has unlicensed software installed, the vendor will demand that the organization purchase additional licenses (often at full retail value) and often pay penalties as well. These so-called “true-up costs” reach six or seven figures in many cases.In addition to this significant, unbudgeted expense, organizations face the cost of the audit itself. Management, legal, IT and other resources must be directed toward responding to the audit. If the organization is found to be out of compliance, negotiations with the vendor will be tougher, resulting in fewer allowances and discounts going forward. And if the result of the audit becomes public knowledge, the organization may face reputational costs as well.

It’s obvious that many organizations are using unlicensed software or else vendors wouldn’t demand audits or be able to assess hefty true-up costs. In fact, 75 percent of respondents to a recent survey admitted that at least some of their software is overused. The problem for many of these organizations is inefficient software tracking. In fact, 92 percent of survey respondents said they proactively track, manage and report software usage. However, 29 percent rely upon manual methods, while only 34 percent use automated software asset management (SAM) tools.

Manual tracking may have worked with traditional license models, which generally provided one license per device or user. Today, software licenses frequently involve complex calculations for virtual machines, virtual desktops and the number of processor cores. On top of that, the sheer number of licenses to be administered, each with different rules, makes manual tracking virtually impossible for many organizations.

Modern SAM solutions help organizations maintain license compliance by automatically discovering software assets and reconciling usage against license entitlements. They can also help organizations determine how many licenses they actually need, so that unused licenses can be eliminated or reused. According to Gartner, SAM tools and practices can cut software spending by as much as 30 percent.

Technologent has partnered with VLSS to deliver its LicenseFortress solution to Oracle customers. The VLSS team will review your Oracle contracts and use the LicenseFortress monitoring tools to identify any unlicensed assets. If compliance issues are identified, VLSS will help you develop a remediation plan. But LicenseFortress is more than a one-time audit — VLSS licensing experts will input all the data into a customer portal and provide regular compliance reports. When Oracle notifies you of an audit or license review, VLSS will respond and engage in your defense, providing legal representation from Husch Blackwell if necessary. VLSS even guarantees its work with insurance backing from Berkshire Hathaway.

Effectively managing software licenses can pay big dividends by reining in software costs and reducing security and compliance risks. Contact Technologent to discuss how you can achieve continual software license compliance for your Oracle assets, and be prepared to defend your environment in case of an audit.

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