Research Firm Provides Tips for Enterprise Software Savings

Research firm Gartner Inc. claims enterprises can cut software costs by up to 30 percent by following three best practices for optimizing software licensing.

"Automated software license optimization is a relatively new discipline and most organizations are at lower levels of maturity," said analyst Hank Marquis yesterday in publicizing new research. "The variety of license entitlements also makes it tough for IT leaders to spot savings, especially in environments with many software publishers and titles. But it's worth pursuing, as spending reductions contribute directly to the bottom line as gross profit."

That new research comes in the for-pay report, "Cut Software Spending Safely With SAM." It indicates the key factors in realizing software licensing savings include application configuration optimization, recycling software licenses and the use of software asset management (SAM) tools.

While teasing the report, Garter provided the following three best practices:

  1. Optimize Software Configurations: Software from large publishers has complex use rights and is costly. The default configuration for most software is normally the most expensive for clients as well. This blend of complexity and high cost offers your best chances to cut spending.

    IT leaders must look for savings in the configuration of software, especially data center software.

    "Such changes appear simple in hindsight, but they are not obvious, and your savings could be in the millions of dollars," Marquis said.

  2. Recycle Software Licenses: Recycling software licenses is the recovery of unused license rights for reuse to avoid new license purchases. License recycling will reduce software spending as well as support and maintenance costs.

    Recycling requires strong process control. However, with many IT organizations at low maturity levels, most could cut their software spending by maturing their recycling and license optimization processes and building them into their daily IT operational activities.

    Recycling requires metering to spot unused, underused or misused software. For example, a user may have a piece of software installed but never actually use it -- or perhaps the user only require a viewer. SAM tools, and some client management tools, can provide this functionality.

  3. Use SAM Tools: It is hard to optimize software spending because licenses are so complex. Optimizing complex licenses manually is labor-intensive; it requires specialized knowledge and does not scale. Larger enterprises will need a SAM tool. A SAM tool can automate, accelerate and improve manual processes. It can pay dividends over manual alternatives, and can often pay for itself.

"In more than 800 Gartner client inquiries regarding SAM tools between May 2015 and March 2016, organizations with mature software license optimization processes that were automated using SAM tools reported reducing software expenses, on average, by 30 percent within the tools' first year of operation," the company said in a news release yesterday.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.