Why is Software Usage Metering so important?

Those of us who have been around in the IT Asset Management (ITAM) sector for any length of time have heard it said – and probably even said it ourselves – that Software License Optimization (SLO) can not be fully accomplished without Software Usage Metering!

Effective License Position

I recently read an article about Effective License Position (ELP) and what that number is really worth (ELP is the sum of licenses owned minus those consumed). The author, Daniel Begg, argues that ELP raises more questions than it answers because it is simply a number. ELP on its own does not account for the many business planning questions that must be asked before a company can make carefully considered decisions about software licensing levels going forward.

Software License Optimization SLOSoftware Usage Metering

Software Usage Metering is a bit like that. It reveals hidden details that must be considered for effective SLO and cost reduction. The essence of SLO through Metering is easily seen in the example shown in the accompanying screenshots from K2-KeyServer, our software asset management solution.

The “Product Compliance” chart on the right indicates that Rosetta Stone 3 for Windows has a compliance shortfall of 77 entitlements (an ELP of -77) with an estimated liability of $21,098.00 worth of unlicensed software. The details of the Compliance report (which provides summary data to the chart) reveal a deeper truth that although there are 77 unlicensed instances deployed, 79 of the total (104) copies have not been used in at least three months.

Software License Compliance and Optimization Report

K2-KeyServer reports Effective License Position (ELP) for managed software products.

Therefore, rather than purchasing 77 new entitlements to achieve compliance, an IT manager might instead choose to uninstall the 79 unused instances, resulting in an ELP of +2, a license surplus. Perhaps this is an easy decision to save $21,098 in unnecessary software expense. But there are some business planning questions to answer before proceeding – examples of which follow:

  1. Basic SAM questions that are answered by K2 Dashboard & reports.
    • What’s my ELP?
    • Which instances are not being used?
    • Where is the over deployment and why has it occurred?
  2. More in-depth SAM questions that are also answered by K2 reports.
    • Is there a seasonal (time of year) demand for this software?
    • Is there a cyclical (e.g. “quarterly”) demand for this software?
    • Is there evidence that there could be a systemic IT Service Management (ITSM) problem?
  3. Business Planning questions.
    • Are we phasing out Rosetta Stone and migrating users to a replacement?
    • Since this is language learning software, is there a HR strategy on employee language learning?
    • Will this software be needed in the future?
    • Do we expect demand to increase, decrease, or stay the same – and why?

Software Usage Metering is regaining attention

In the 90’s, Software Usage Metering was king! In the 00’s it took a back seat to software discovery and inventory. But as more people in the IT management sector have come to realize that inventory dumps are ineffective for optimization and cost reduction without utilization statistics, Software Usage Metering is regaining attention in Software Asset Management.

As the many forms of Virtualization gain in prominence with their user- and utilization-based license metrics, Software Usage Metering will take on a more important role, that relegates discovery and inventory as supporting technologies.

Explore the full capabilities of K2-KeyServer, our Software Asset Management/License Optimization solution.

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