Technology can undoubtedly deliver cost and efficiency benefits, but insufficient management of IT means these savings can quickly be eroded. Software in particular is one area in which spending can easily spiral out of control, both in terms of procurement and managing assets. To deliver the maximum benefits for the minimum cost, IT teams in housing providers must manage these assets, freeing up money to focus stretched budgets on more pressing areas. Here are four practical suggestions for housing providers looking to reduce IT costs through software asset management (SAM).
Revisit existing software licenses
One way for housing providers to reduce costs is by having a full overview of existing software licenses for services and applications currently installed and in use throughout the organisation. By creating a software portfolio, staff can compare the list against existing contracts and licenses to identify any unnecessary expenditure, or whether additional licenses are needed. If more licenses are required, companies should also assess how critical the software is to the business in order to avoid any unnecessary investment.
Assess software need
While having a comprehensive view of the software in use is a key factor in reducing IT costs, understanding the need for a particular piece of software and assessing if it is a business essential is also extremely important. IT staff must be certain they understand who is using which software and how it impacts their ability to do their job. This knowledge and understanding is especially important considering that staff changes – with employees swapping roles or leaving the company – can lead to situations where applications are no longer required but maintenance and payments for that technology needlessly continue. If only 500 people are using Microsoft Office, why should an organisation pay for 1,000 licenses?
Having a comprehensive understanding of the organisation’s specific technology needs enables IT departments to make more targeted software procurement and management decisions. That way, employees always have the necessary tools to do their job effectively, with the organisation procuring this technology in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible.
Consolidate similar applications
The number and type of required licenses can often be trimmed back through effective software asset management and the consolidation of software that performs a similar function. For example, it’s common for businesses to have several versions of different business tools all performing similar functions and adding little extra value to the company. This unchecked software usage not only gives those tasked with managing software an unnecessary workload, but also wastes money. Consolidating applications can lead to instant savings, without sacrificing functionality.
Managing the cloud
Cloud computing not only increases operational flexibility, it also offers the benefit of lowering expenditure. However, the cloud complicates software asset management as there are no longer fixed numbers of users, workloads or devices, making it harder to ascertain levels of usage and preferred applications. As a result, one way to combat this and better control software in the cloud is through a ‘dashboard’ which provides visibility into how applications are being used and which ones are being accessed most frequently.
This is important because software that may have previously been sitting on a single on-premise server may now exist on virtual machines spread across multiple locations, which in turn affects licensing considerations. For example, many end-user licensing agreements forbid the usage of software in a cloud environment, which could mean an organisation becomes non-compliant and will require additional licenses.
A small investment could go a long way
Each of the above methods outlined above can deliver significant cost reductions for housing providers’ IT teams. However, to maximise the benefits these four practices can bring to a business, they all need to be executed frequently and effectively. If software use goes unchecked for an extended period of time, costs will not only spiral, but future efforts to digitally transform your organisation will be made that much more difficult – just a small investment in software asset management goes a long way.
Tony Spruyt is responsible for software asset management services at Comparex.