An IRS report titled “Desktop and Laptop Software License Management Is Not Being Adequately Performed” has been released. Network World ran an article titled Software piracy discovered at the IRS, and of course it became big news in the Software Asset Management industry. Somehow we always react with outrage every time the government makes any sort of mistake. This report though could describe the state of Software Licensing at any number of large corporations or academic institutions.
The story is especially catchy because, after all, the IRS is in charge of auditing taxpayers, yet they have failed to audit themselves up to this point. At least that’s the commentary floating around the web. I think it’s the same sort of insignificant irony as if a computer virus infected CDC offices.
The real thing to learn from the IRS report is just how easy it is to lose purchase records, over-deploy, under-deploy, and generally make a mess of Software License Management. Unless your site is making a concerted effort to stay on top of things, this WILL happen.
The fact that software was under-deployed as well as over-deployed is particularly telling (and typical at most sites). The IRS is not trying to cheat, it just doesn’t have a system for keeping track of Software Licenses. Think of driving a car – if your eyes are half closed, or you are looking elsewhere, there’s no way you will stay in the center of the road. In the same way, you will never deploy exactly the right software by coincidence.
If your company doesn’t have a SAM program in place, you are almost certainly in the same boat as the IRS – using pirated software while simultaneously wasting money on other software that is never deployed or used. Attempting to reconcile your software licensing manually will just be a huge time sink and will still leave you grasping at straws. Commit to using IT Asset Management Software to accomplish this task, because your company will save money.