As the world continues to adapt to dramatic changes to the working environment, businesses have been forced into making huge IT changes at a pace that is seldom witnessed. Organisations that are not only desperate to survive, but also thrive as the world comes out of the other side of the Covid-19 pandemic are making decisions to ensure that their staff remain employed and safe.
Utilising a number of offers of “Free” software has been a popular choice for organisations throughout this period, but organisations need to make sure that they are aware of what (versions, functionality, etc.) and for how long the products that they have chosen to use are “Free”.
Software Asset Managers are going to be very busy in the immediate post-virus period, as the “Free” use licenses expire. In certain circumstances the organisations using these licenses may see services start to fail as commercial licenses will again be required to fulfill these. In others it may be the inevitable increase in Vendor Audits as software firms also seek to maintain their revenue streams and profit expectations for the year.
Software Asset Management will play a key role in driving the organisation through this minefield and back onto a steady state platform that is free from security, financial and reputational risk. This may mean building business plans to secure the extra budgets required to enable organisations to continue on past the “Free” period, or alternatively finding ways to adequately remove the software that was installed under the “Free” license, in order to protect the organisation from extra unbudgeted costs, or even audit fees and fines.
In order to be ready to react Software Asset Managers should be ensuring that their ITAM Governance practices are fully operational, and robust enough to provide them with the data and process insight that they will require in order to complete the activities required of them, such as;
- Where is the “Free” software installed? And/or where is it used?
- How many legitimate licenses does the organisation hold? And who has legitimately requested this?
- How is the software, or access to the software, removed from the environment?
Any ITAM Reporting, or KPIs, should also be reviewed so that they can consider the additional risks that will arise as the return to work escalates post virus. Reporting profiles should include:
- A review of products at a functionality level – Does the organisation now utilise multiple products performing the same role? How much of a products functionality does the organisation use? If the product were to remain, is there a possibility to purchase & utilise more functionality to displace other products that the organisation holds licenses for?
- Proper Monitoring of Cloud Use – With the vast increase of remote working, and subsequent move of essential services to the Cloud, organisations need to monitor their Cloud usage closely. Only by doing this, will companies ensure that they do not fall into the trap of “Shadow IT”, Ghost Usage or even the “hoarding” of Cloud assets as an overspill from the pandemic “keep the lights on at all cost” mode.
- The Management of Audit Risk – License and Maintenance revenue is the single biggest income generator for most large vendors. So, if vendors’ are going to miss year-end targets due to the pandemic situation, their customers should be raising significant risks for each non-compliant position, and ultimately have an appropriate mitigation plan, as audits will undoubtedly follow.
SAMGarde is the UK’s largest independent IT Asset Management specialist. Being truly independent from software publishers allows us to offer impartial and honest advice and guidance for your IT Spend and the Optimisation of this.