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Last week I spoke with Cobie Nel, IM Services: Manager Applications for Sasol Group Services, based in South Africa, on the complexities and challenges that a software vendor audit can present when a vendor comes knocking on the door.

She has recently been under scrutiny from Microsoft who decided to conduct a global audit across all Microsoft software residing on desktops and servers throughout the company.

So what advice would you give to fellow Software Asset Managers when it comes to a software vendor audit?

All vendors are different when it comes to how they license their software and as a result it pays off to study and know the license agreements inside out. Software licensing has become very complex, and it’s in your interest to know what the entitlement terms are as vendors will try and catch you out. It’s important that you don’t get pressured into something unnecessarily and that you have reliable evidence of the number of licenses deployed and in use. With software license optimization from a tool like AppClarity we have been able to radically reduce the risk and ensure compliance with our software contracts.

What’s been the outcome for you in deploying AppClarity?

We are already a few months into our program of optimizing how software licenses are used and managed across the business. So far we have reclaimed more than 185,000 installations within just a few months of deploying 1E AppClarity covering 15,000 PCs and laptops; that’s an average of 16 applications per user. We are now extending the installation across our regional offices in AsiaPac, North America, and Europe to get visibility on the total 22,000 desktops.

And what about servers? What happens to licenses there?        

We are in the midst of implementing the new functionality that AppClarity has to get visibility of usage of software on servers, and it has already helped us to uncover the extent of our SQL license position. Again the challenge is to fully understand the licensing model – per core or per processor – and again it really depends on the vendor and the product.

Thanks to the server feature of AppClarity we have been able to discover what we have in terms of SQL Express, SQL Standard, and SQL Enterprise. This has given us all the relevant information to show Microsoft what we have and we were able to downgrade versions depending on the extent of functionality needed, and were able to bring down the count.

Have you been able to get visibility of other vendor software on servers?

So far we have only really scratched the surface of discovering what we have on all 1700 servers, but what information is being revealed is very promising. Now implementing the VMWare module, we can already see that we installed certain versions unnecessarily and can make instant savings on maintenance. AppClarity’s Optimization Report is very good indeed; it gives us an immediate ability to understand the number of servers or processors needed – it shows that we can downgrade a number of licenses and we have been able to make saving on both the capital cost and software plus additional savings on maintenance.

Was the implementation of AppClarity itself an issue?

For visibility into the desktop software the implementation took hardly any time and it’s given us remarkable visibility of software licenses across all users in Sasol. We made tangible savings within days of deploying the solution – we achieved in literally a couple of days what we were not able to in 12 years. For the server side, there were no problems either, we had to implement an ActiveEffficiency server at the outset and our partners sustainableIT and Puleng provided the necessary services. It’s true that reclaim has more manual intervention when looking at servers, but already I can see the benefit and shall definitely be retiring quite a number from our estate.

To discuss any issues surrounding software vendor audits with our friendly experts, visit our LinkedIn forum, 1E INSIDEV1EW. To learn more about AppClarity, click here.

Source: Su Kent, 1E Blog 13 September 2013

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