Software Technology

How to Avoid Being Taken for a Ride by Software Vendors (Part One)?

Written by Sean Holmes

Over the past few years, software such as cloud computing, hosted software, services and infrastructure and mobile working have intensified the problems that are caused by already complicated software licensing pricing structures, and there is a risk of vendors profiting from the lack of awareness amongst end-users. The recent reports of Oracle’s In-Memory patch default enablement issue further brings to light the challenges that businesses are facing when it comes to obtaining visibility of their entire software estates, and how they can incur huge costs without even realizing.

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Due to the fluid nature of cloud computing, it’s making it a lot harder for enterprises to manage software licensing. Many workplaces are also embracing the use of mobile devices for remote working and this is making it even more difficult to keep track of the licenses you do and don’t have, and usage of software. The software estate of an organization now has the potential to change daily, so software asset managers are under more pressure than ever before to keep up to date with how many licenses the organization has. However, there are a few things which can be done to tackle this:

1. Companies are automatically at an advantage if they know the exact size and make-up of their software estate, since any negotiations with a vendor can be initiated from a position of confidence. It is critical to have a deeper understanding of what’s happening with mobile devices in your business beyond email, as this can have a huge impact on your licensing position and can expose you to compliance risk. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) schemes are still a fledgling practice – governing use of personal devices on corporate networks by employees is one of the trickiest processes when there is no proper structure or protocol in place.

2. To uncover the business intelligence that you need to gain a holistic view of your software estate, enterprise-level business intelligence software should be considered. With this in hand, you have the clarity that can really help you to understand the opportunity or risk you may face when considering a move to the cloud, implementing a virtual environment, or dealing with mobile computing.

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While licensing has typically been based on the number of users, or per processor, some vendors have noticed that the cloud adds complexity to traditional licensing structures and have worked to create new ways to get a handle on this. Microsoft, for example, has recently replaced its three-year-old software licensing pricing structure with Server and Cloud Enrolment (SCE), a new licensing vehicle that enables customers to standardize on one or more Microsoft Server and Cloud technologies. This makes it easier for customers to plan, administer, and adapt as organizations evolve. If you have these visibilities, you then are aware of the exact needs and the exact resource that you already have and thus, it will help you to avoid falling in the trap of paying extra for additional services.

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Sean Holmes

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