Vendors have increased their monitoring of software licence infringement as companies fail to remain compliant.
Research by Trustmarque Solutions has shown that the recession has had a marked impact on organisations' ability to manage their software assets.
Ninety one per cent of senior IT managers and directors in large UK organisations say their handling of software assets has been affected, and 67 per cent say that as a result of the recession they now have fewer staff to manage those assets.
Of the respondents, 35 per cent claimed that vendors are now checking that they are compliant with licences, while 26 per cent said that they had been hit by an audit and believes it to be the result of whistle-blowing by a former employee.
Tony Fisher, managing director of SAMpartners, the software licensing consultancy for Trustmarque, claimed that the point of the research was to test the belief on what was going on within licensing, and to find out what they felt that they suspected was true.
Fisher said 'Organisations need to give more attention to this area, and it has to be woven into the way the business manages itself. It has to be represented at board level and until it is flagged at board level nothing will change, but people who have had a scare will act more. The message in these times is sort your position out now, plan and budget to work with the vendors to work out the best way to do it.”
Cherry Taylor, managing director of Dynamic Markets, who carried out the research, claimed that the overall impression is that IT administrators are under pressure, the recession is having consequences and making for a difficult situation.
Taylor claimed that the vendor auditing statistics, where an increase in the auditing was witnessed by 35 per cent, was ‘the driving force of research'.
Taylor said: “We do think that this is increasing funding and we wanted to pin this down. One of the knee jerk reactions is to panic buy licenses, companies don't have a close handle on what they've got and certainly there is room for improvement.
“Only 17 per cent felt that they would pass an audit if the vendor knocked at the door. They lack total confidence and they don't do the buying themselves so they're not completely confident in compliance.”
However there are some positives to draw from the research, as 81 per cent of senior IT managers and directors say software licensing is given more attention now than it was two years ago before the recession took hold. Also, 50 per cent believe that their organisations should take greater steps to re-harvest their licenses when employees leave or a PC is retired.
Phil Heap, head of consultancy services at FAST, said: “Over the years, organisations have frittered away billions of pounds because they have failed to manage their IT infrastructures effectively. In today's unforgiving economy this kind of wastage or inefficiency is no longer acceptable. Re-evaluating how you do things and getting into better shape will pay dividends.”