By Dick Stark
Last Wednesday, I hosted an Aspera webinar, “Baking SAM into Your ITSM Strategy.” Software License Management is a hot topic and Aspera offers purpose-built, advanced license optimization tools that go beyond traditional asset management functions. Can you have your cake and eat it too? Here is a brief summary of that webinar.
At the beginning of any webinar, RightStar polls the audience. For the Software Asset Management (SAM) webinar, we asked several questions around the topic of software audits and discovered that 43% had experienced an internal or external audit, and 29% had to pay fines or back maintenance as a result. This means that real pain exists due to the complexity of keeping one-step ahead of the auditor. Of course, the obvious question is why Aspera? Don’t traditional software discovery tools such as SCCM or BMC’s BCM combined with ITSM asset management modules provide a total solution?
The answer is not entirely. First, Aspera is not a discovery tool and relies on existing data repositories that most organizations already own and populate. Aspera’s SmartTrack consolidates all software inventory and usage, maintenance and support, and licenses used and owned in a single system, including purchase history, use-rights, and metrics. Traditional tools such as Remedy’s Asset Management module focus on keeping an inventory of hardware and physical assets. The terms of the licensing are overlooked. Software vendors utilize a license metric to determine how many licenses are needed for an enterprise’s use of a particular product, such as: per user, per device, per CPU, per installation, or some other combination of technical information.
Determining if enough, or too many licenses have been purchased requires a full understanding of the licensing terms and the changing dynamics of usage in the organization. Aspera utilizes its own “SKU Catalog” to document and link software entitlements in use. This catalog contains records from more than 170 software publishers for more than 300,000 unique SKUs.
Second, an optimization & simulation module (OSM) for SmartTrack moves beyond Software License Optimization to create financial analyses of the licensing costs of server software based on the licensing mode and the relevant infrastructure. That model can automatically answer business questions regarding the monetary benefits of SAM activities. For example, when consolidating a datacenter, carefully consider the potential software license impact. It is possible to see a savings in hardware costs be eaten up by increases in the licensing costs.
The larger the business, the larger the potential savings – Aspera’s Co-founder, Bernhard Boehler reported that he has seen surprise audit bills as high as $50M. The good news: RightStar is involved in several Aspera opportunities including a large proposal into a government agency. Because software is so important to large enterprises, and because the ROI on an Aspera investment is so high, I am optimistic about significant growth in the Software License Optimization space. You can have your cake and eat it too.