Software asset and licence management is often placed at the bottom of a priority list.
At the recent UK Software Licensing and Management Conference, Alex Hilton, chairman of the Software Industry Research Board (SIRB), and director of infrastructure management at FrontRange Solutions, said that ‘in this economic climate, it is more important than ever and the business case around this more relevant than ever'.
A survey for the SIRB found that 98 per cent of businesses are failing to use software asset management (SAM) to reduce risk of legal non-compliance, while 98.75 per cent did not see legal compliance as a crucial corporate objective driving SAM corporate policies.
Discussing the results of the survey at the conference, Hilton claimed that the reasons for procurement ‘are simply not there', and there was a disconnect and silo mentality as far as SAM is concerned.
When asked ‘what goals is your organisation trying to achieve with your SAM programme', the most common answer with 62 per cent of respondents was to make sure that the organisation made it through an audit without paying settlement fees, while purchasing as few software licenses as the organisation needs gathered 55 per cent of responses.
Also 82 per cent of those questioned felt their role was no more than planning for acquiring new licenses, while the role of actual acquisition was also stated by 82 per cent of the sample. Only 44 per cent felt their role included licence retirement.
John Lovelock, chief executive of The Federation Against Software Theft and Investors in Software (FAST IiS), founders of SIRB, said: “SAM is more than just doing the bare minimum to avoid being fined as part of an audit process. That is just one side of the compliance coin. An effective SAM programme will help the bottom line in the overwhelming majority of organisations as they can manage their software estate to match their needs today.
“The picture the data paints is one of organisations failing to understand that the applications they use are business assets, and must be managed like other revenue generating assets under their control. Company executives are squandering the opportunity to gain better control of these assets through managing software licenses more effectively; ensuring all employees are aware of the organisations' software licensing business objectives and adhering to processes and procedures to ensure that the objectives are achieved.”
Hilton said: “Reduced compliance risks, controlling software costs and reduced labour costs in managing software must be seen by organisations large and small as an attractive proposition in today's economic climate. But this research has highlighted one fact only – that SAM and SLM appear to be at the bottom of a long list of priorities.”