A Year’s Worth of Lessons in Software Asset Management

After 12 years in this industry I really wish I could claim that the problems we saw at new customers this year were different from those we’ve seen for the past years…but unfortunately that’s really not the case.

First, there was the customer that contacted us after experiencing a BSA audit having paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees and consulting dollars (lawyers, experts, etc). We assisted them in determining what they needed to purchase but they still wouldn’t invest the small amount of money to put in an appropriate Software Asset Management (SAM) program (tracking software, processes, policies and product use rights education) or even consider outsourcing this issue.

Second, the customer who wanted some help negotiating a new volume licensing agreement. Unfortunately, when they had implemented their SQL Server 2005 environment with redundancy they failed to consult with an expert on product use rights (PUR’s) so ended up implementing a solution requiring them to have duplicate SQL Server Enterprise processor licenses…a very expensive solution that could have been avoided with a quick phone call or e-mail.

Third, there was the customer who wanted our help in performing their Microsoft true-up. They had discussed their server virtualization project with their reseller in connection with their VMWare needs…but the reseller never asked about their actual server licenses. The 20 Windows Server Enterprise licenses they needed to purchase came as a complete surprise.

The list goes on…

The lesson to learn here is this: In Software Asset Management, spending a little money by having an expert on retainer can easily save ten-fold on your investment. Stop relying on internal staff who do not have the time or the resources to know the current PUR’s on all your products, and don’t take the word of anyone (including publishers, resellers or consultants) unless they back it up with publisher documentation.

I hope your 2008 is full of the positive rewards of an effective SAM program!

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