Can Software Asset Management become easier?

We are now in 2010, computers are everywhere.  So why is it so hard to track license compliance?  After all, we can all see the applications in Add/Remove programs…

I have been managing HP DDMI (Discovery and Dependency Mapping Inventory (our asset discovery and inventory software) since 2008.  I knew the product had hardware and software inventory capabilities and I was impressed with its software recognition capabilities. As the world entered the global recession at the end of 2008, I started hearing a lot of complaints about gaps in DDMI’s software inventory.  I was a little surprised…I mean I knew we had some limitations, but I thought most of them were because we were not providing all of the results we were capturing.  I also knew we could improve the level of automation.

But, as it turns out (hindsight being 20/20), the issue is much bigger than I thought.  So, I started digging into the issue – is DDMI behind the competition?  Are we in danger of becoming irrelevant in the market place?  The answers I found comforted and shocked me at the same time.

First of all, I began to realize how incredibly complex the world of Software Asset Management really is.  Having gained CSAM certification from IAITAM, I validated that realization and in the process have learned about the many daily challenges of an IT Asset Management professional.

Then, I started to realize that there is a big difference between reporting what is installed and being able to track licenses.  There are also differences between tracking desktop software and server software, Windows software and Linux/UNIX software.

My conclusion?  There is no way to be able to automatically track license compliance across the board today.  You may be able to do it for specific titles, or perhaps vendors.  But there is no way to do it across the board!!!

Is there hope for the future? Yes!  It is faint hope, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  We now have a first global standard that promises to improve the current situation - ISO 19770, specifically, ISO 19770-2 (recently approved) and ISO 19770-3 (currently being developed).

Comments
Filip_Meuleman | ‎09-13-2011 03:28 AM

The HP Service Management blog community doesn't seem too active, but looking into license management solution for large HPES client in EMEA as an integrator in a multi-vendor context all kind of issues seem to come out of the closet:

- lots of overlap between HP products (DDMI, AM, UCMDB)

- integration between products is difficult and inconsistent, requiring support from specialists (such as provided by HP SW PS: Professional Services), often resulting in customization of the different products;

- the tools have nice capabilities, but require lots of customization to provide business solutions such as ELP (Effective License Position) for the wide area of licensing capacities, including the IBM PVU full or virtual capacity, software installation on workstations, user based counting based on active directory authorization (path for many Adobe products).

- in our HPES context we are using 20% or less of the tool capabilities, and lots of issues come up (ref SRA) based on decisions on the high volume / low customization leveraging, and looking at the tool in a silo perspective;

 

HPSS (selling the products as a software or a SaaS basis) are trying to following the market (ie they added PVU calculation capabilities to DDMI v9.30) and propose add-ons and whitepapers to package their products for SACM and others... but this only increases the gap between our HP offerings and our clients

 

Also, imho I'm not sure whether ISO-19770-2 and later -3 will get a lot of adoption, as other parties such as TagVault.org need to reach a critical mass in the SAM community, and I'm not sure whether they will be getting there with their price structure... and early adopters such as Adobe already are inconsistent with the ISO/IEC-19770-2.

 

I agree, there doesn't seem to be a way yet to automatically track license compliance as an integrator or as a product provider, even though the past years there is a tremendous effort in the SAM/SACM/ITAM space (partly because vendors are seeking alternative ways to collect some more money from their clients by threatening with software audits, but also because of the many consolidations and efforts to centralize where businesses loose control). This should be a red flag for our sales 'bulls' (literally speaking)

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