Folks often think of “Software Compliance” as an unpleasant affair – a lot of digging around, reconciliation, tracking and such - to avoid issues that might arise during a software audit. Heavy lifting, but not much upside – just “risk avoidance”.

I firmly believe that by viewing this as “software optimization” rather than “license management and tracking” allows us to look at this topic as an opportunity for IT.

Organizations waste a fortune on unused licenses –a quarter of all server and desktop licenses go unused. That’s a serious waste of resources – especially as much of this software comes with ongoing renewal and support costs.

Why “pay for what you don’t use”?

On the other side of the equation, of course, is the dreaded “license audit” – i.e. what happens if one of your software vendors determines that you are exceeding your licensed usage. The penalties and costs can be extreme – and software vendors are increasingly pursuing “compliance deals”

And there are most definitely some solid “security reasons” for knowing who is running what – especially in this age of BYOD and downloadable software. Using tools such as Dell Asset Manager to uncover what software is out there can pay big dividends, as most IT organizations are unaware of the vast majority of software in the organization, as I alluded to last fall in an article in Cloud Computing Journal. And, if you don’t know about it, you can’t secure it.

All of these issues can be resolved – pretty much in one stroke, as they have common roots.

Most organizations fall out of compliance as a result of a combination of inadequate record-keeping, ignorance of their license rights and lack of policies to address the issue. There are some great software packages out there that can help organizations get a handle on this – like Dell Asset Manager and Dell Desktop Authority Management System, which both offer free 30-day trials. This is one of those areas that can definitely “pay for itself” – and quickly.

Asset Manager can rapidly help you suss out “what you got”, who’s using it, and how often. Desktop Authority Management System provides a host of capabilities that support software license optimization – you can proactively manage the Windows user environment and ensure that applications run with only the privileges and access needed.

For example, you can:

  • Configure user environments for individual OS, applications, printers, registry edits;
  • Customize configurations and privileges to ensure productivity is balanced with security;
  • Authorize more than 30 different management tasks without disturbing your end users;
  • Re-apply settings automatically any time a user changes locations, machines or servers; and
  • Target elevated privileges only to users who need special access to be productive.

With the upcoming migration to Windows 10, this is a great time to address “which machines should have which software”. Standardizing “who gets what” sure can simplify a migration. And moving to a “managed model” for ongoing software license management with products like Desktop Authority (if you’re doing a move to Windows 10, this kind of “rationalization” will provide even more benefits) makes tremendous sense.

Learn More at DWUF

The upcoming Dell World Software User Forum has a number of sessions related to asset management that would be really useful for those looking to clean things up and become “worry free” – the Manage Windows compliance before it manages you (on Tuesday afternoon) looks particularly useful.

Hope to see you there!