Software assets are a fundamental part of organizational IT, and effectively managing these assets is critical to achieving operational excellence. Accordingly, organizations employ software asset management practices as a part of their IT asset management strategy.
One of the fundamental parts of software asset management is software license management (SLM). A key challenge in SLM is to optimally utilize software licenses and follow the required compliance.
A typical organization uses a combination of proprietary and open-source licenses. Based on the type of license such as perpetual, per user, per machine, and concurrent, compliance requirements change. Organizations also use on-premises, public, and hybrid cloud environments to deliver services. With such a complex IT ecosystem, it’s critical to have appropriate processes and solutions in place. SLM helps overcome such challenges and becomes critical to demonstrate compliance, eliminate resource wastage, and improve agility.
A software license tracking and management tool helps proactively identify available, deployed, and unused software licenses. It also helps you understand whether license deployment and usage are following the license agreements and helps you prepare for audits.
An ideal software license tracking and management tool should help you:
- Gain visibility into the overall software license deployment and usage
- Collect software license information from multiple sources, including on-premises, public, and hybrid cloud environments
- Automate software license discovery, mapping, and reporting
- Estimate current usage and availability of inventory
- Deal with different software license types, including but not limited to per-device, per-user, perpetual, and SaaS licenses
- Demonstrate compliance and prepare for software vendor audits
This article discusses some of the best SLM tools and solutions in terms of their features and capabilities.
SolarWinds® Web Help Desk® is a service desk solution with support for extensive software asset management. With this solution, you can automate software asset discovery and analyze software license deployment and utilization. This helps assess whether underused licenses are contributing to unnecessary costs or if a user has installed software without IT’s knowledge. Moreover, you can identify compliance violations early on and address them before such issues trigger vendor audits that lead to costly true-up payments or legal liabilities.
SolarWinds Web Help Desk sends alerts about expiring warranty or licenses. You can also customize these alerts to help IT teams proactively address relicensing and new purchases. In addition to alerting about software licenses, it can alert about expiring hardware warranty and licenses.
Notably, the solution offers in-built Windows Management Instrumentation to simplify asset discovery. It also integrates with third-party discovery tools such as Absolute Manage and Microsoft SCCM for more effective asset discovery and mapping.
Freshservice is a service management solution offering integrated software asset management. The solution provides discovery tools to track software licenses in real time and reports about licenses in stock and use. It automatically performs scans to discover new software and allows scheduling scans, so you can have updated asset information at specific time points.
Freshservice can connect with hundreds of SaaS platforms and provides insights into application usage to help you identify rarely used subscriptions and optimize SaaS subscription costs.
The solution provides predefined workflows to eliminate manual, repetitive tasks and help IT personnel focus on more value-creating tasks. Some of these workflows help automate asset onboarding and alignment. It also helps integrate software asset information with various service desk workflows to improve service delivery.
ManageEngine AssetExplorer is an IT asset management tool with support for hardware and software asset management. The tool handles a broad range of software licenses, including but not limited to trial, OEM, node-locked, enterprise, individual, and volume licenses. It automatically discovers assets in the IT network and reports license utilization metrics like over- and under-provisioned licenses. This also helps assess the usage of licenses and further optimize costs by not renewing rarely or occasionally used software licenses.
You can schedule scans and perform audits regularly to demonstrate compliance and readiness for software vendor audits. AssetExplorer generates alerts as soon as it detects prohibited or out-of-compliance software usage. This helps prevent unauthorized and malicious software from gaining access to the IT network.
Cherwell Asset Management is an IT asset management solution that integrates with Cherwell ITSM. The solution uses proprietary technology to automatically discover software licenses and other assets in the IT environment. It also helps find discrepancies by reconciling purchase data with assets discovered. This helps you assess compliance gaps and identify potential cost savings by understanding whether inventory is optimally maintained.
With this solution, you can define peak usage limits for concurrent licenses and proactively reallocate idle licenses to users awaiting access. This helps ensure productivity is not impacted due to inefficient license use by individuals or specific groups.
Moreover, Cherwell Asset Management helps you attach software license purchases to organizational units, user groups, or individuals. This helps you understand budget utilization and more accurately report software license costs.
SolarWinds Service Desk is a scalable solution offering integrated asset management and service management. It helps collect information about software licenses used in your IT environment and analyze license deployment. Furthermore, you can identify compliance issues by reconciling inventory data with actual license usage.
The solution offers built-in compliance reports to assess risk exposure and prepare for vendor audits. You can also build custom reports based on specific software license compliance requirements. Additionally, you can create and manage custom licensing contracts and automate approval processes to optimize lead times.
While underutilized software license inventory inflates IT costs, inappropriate license usage triggers vendor audits, resulting in unexpected costs and damaged reputation. Effective SLM is paramount in service management. We believe SolarWinds Web Help Desk is best for organizations looking to self-manage their service desk and SLM solution. Its ability to integrate with third-party discovery tools offers more flexibility in effectively tracking and managing software licenses.