Spend just as much, but only as much, as you really need to!
Facing often changing and opaque software licensing terms and conditions?
Overloaded by software asset management and licensing challenges?
We provide solutions that enable you to reduce both your license costs and risks!
Complex and volatile software licensing models cause a shortage of some licences (risk) and a surplus of others (overspending) simultaneously in organizations.
The development and operation of enterprise software asset management requires knowledge of the interrelations between the diverse SAM processes and related disciplines (IT, law, accounting, corporate governance, etc.), and an understanding of the diverse licensing policies of the many software vendors. Maintaining this complex expertise is usually uneconomic within an organization: it diverts resources from supporting the core business.
Our consultants are familiar with the best practices in SAM, hidden options, and potential pitfalls, and are confident in navigating the software licensing maze. They can help you to develop proven solutions tailored to your business so that your company spends as much, but only as much, on software as it really needs to.
Take advantage of our services
With a portfolio covering the entire SAM process, our experts can provide not only one-off services, but also comprehensive SAM projects tailored to your company’s SAM maturity level, or even outsource the SAM process. Some of our services provided:
The SAM strategy aims to set out the goals that enterprise software management must achieve in the coming years and clearly define the policies, processes and procedures that apply to the tools in the application domain.
The strategy must be based on a consensus between those responsible and the management, as this is the only way to ensure that the processes serve the company’s operations properly. On the basis of the agreed strategy, the details of the company’s SAM processes can be elaborated and the tools, registers and databases to be used by the various departments can be defined.
In pursuing each strategic objective, one or other of the four dimensions may be given greater emphasis than the others, but if one is omitted, the benefits of software management will not be realised. For example, you may not have the competencies and the tools because if you lack the right data or processes, you cannot succeed in software asset management.
Whatever management decisions we make, a basic question certainly emerges: ‘What kind of assets do we currently have?’ It sounds simple. However, when it comes to managing IT decisions, especially software-related ones, the picture is far from simple.
The ability to give a simple answer becomes doubtful when we think about it: in the case of software, we even need to refine the question. ‘What kind of assets is in use and what kind of software licenses are granted currently?’ These two sets match rarely by 100% accuracy.
The situation becomes more complicated if the experimental fact is considered, that an average medium company or an enterprise use thousands of different software products nowadays, which are manufactured by hundreds of vendors. To survey this infrastructure completely – including the inventory of hardware and hundreds of software products installed on the computers, furthermore the arrangement of presented license documents and analysis of divergences – appears frightening job for a company that has limited IT resources.
Consultants of IPR-Insights have gained experience of several years in creating software inventories, and, in the course of this inventory, they execute the following steps in cooperation with the customer:
- Collection of hardware and software data over the network and/or by manual data collection
- Creation of physical license inventory
- Processing of the presented licenses and invoices
- Comparison of software usage and software assets, analysis of divergences
Software asset management can deal with diversified procedures in the life of a company, so similarly to other management procedures, SAM procedures cannot be operated properly without appropriate regulation background. In the case of SAM procedures regulations have high importance, because these make it possible for the corporate management to decrease the risk of unintended mistakes and intended legal infringements and to delegate a part of their responsibility to other participants in the procedure.
If this area is intended to be regulated, further to the preparation of software usage policy and software asset management regulations, these regulations should be embedded in the actual regulation environment, or, if it is necessary, other related areas should be regulated as well.
Consultants of IPR-Insights gained practical experience in creating software asset management regulations at many companies in the last few years. Using this experience our consultants can support your work by providing the below services:
- Audit of software asset management procedures
- Creation and on demand modification of responsibility map
- Revision of software asset management regulations
- Creation of software asset management regulations and procedures
- Regulation of in-house developments
- Creation of software outsourcing contracts and regulations
For following appropriate software management practice, all of the hardware and software assets should be surveyed, which can be an enormous task even for a midsize company. The surveyed data change and become obsolete quickly, however, there are many company procedures that require correct and current hardware and software data.
Most frequently, the claim arises as IT claim, because these data are necessary to plan projects, make changes which fit business demand and execute other IT procedures.
Besides the IT area, the business processes of the company require these data continuously as well since these are essential to prepare and follow the budgets, plan new IT procurements or to comply with the accountancy obligations.
Finally, such third-parties also have to be mentioned, i.e., for example, the vendors and developers of the used software products, or the authorities which can require such data from the company.
With regard to the above-mentioned facts, IPR-Insights recommends introducing a convenient software asset management system for working up and maintaining software asset management. IPR-Insights provides the following services with the system:
- Delivering software asset management system
- Introducing software asset management system
- Operation and support of software asset management system
- Identification of unknown software products
- Our proprietary SAM system was created on the basis of the concerning standards and recommendations, practical experiences of several software asset management projects and compliance audits.
Based on our experience, 70-90% of our new customers purchase their software licenses in a less beneficial way than it is possible. The extent of this difference for a given procurement can be up to 40% and it might stay on this level for several years because of the maintenance and support fees due afterwards.
The underlying causes are numerous, but the most obvious reason is no doubt the lack of comprehensive information from software vendors and developers. It?s not surprising, because while the right owners compete with each other by offering seemingly more favorable licensing programs for their customers, their primary interest is still maximizing their own profits, for example by keeping the final prices high.
In addition, the information is changing as quickly that makes nearly impossible for IT professionals to keep up with the daily changes.
The Procurement optimization services of IPR-Insights are based on the nearly 20-years-experience of our professionals acquired in the software licensing field. Our staff is thoroughly knowledgeable in the areas of the different licensing solutions. Furthermore during the more than 10 years of operation of IPR-Insights they accumulated significant practical experiences in various vendor discussions when the company represented its clients’ interests. This accumulated knowledge and experience is embodied in a know-how and the application of this know-how could result 20-40% less software acquisition costs.
Before demanding this service several typical questions come up from the clients, thus we draw your attention to the following:
- Our company is not interested in selling other developers’/vendors’ software licenses in any ways, thus we do our job independently form the right owners; in the course of providing our services we consider only our customers’ interests;
- We reach our results by 100% legal proposals that fully comply with the given vendor’s licensing policies;
- We do not reach our results merely by reducing the number of licenses (however if we realize legal and feasible possibilities by this method, we include them in our proposals).
- There was a year when half of Oracle’s new database license revenue came from audits
- Microsoft audits enterprise clients in every third year
- IBM has a separate department dealing with audits
- SAP audits clients online continuously
- After several acquisitions, Micro Focus, which has an extensive portfolio (eg HPE), is increasingly active in auditing.
- continuous license reviews,
- proactive preparation for vendor audits,
- expert support during vendor audit, and
- Software Audit Protection Shield program.
Only regular license reviews can ensure the maintenance and improvement of the quality of the software asset management procedure. Similarly, revisions can help to respond to the question whether the company complies with the software asset management recommendations and standards (IT Infrastructure Library – Software Asset Management, ISO 19770: Information technology – Software asset management, etc.), and where changes and improvements are necessary.
IPR-Insights provides complex audit projects which fit the requirements of a specific company and comply with the industrial recommendations.
Compliance with the recommendations and standards also provides a reliable basis for the organization to successfully comply with the contracted software use and licensing requirements during vendor audits.
If you are interested in the Top 5 Risks that threaten users are if the auditor arrives earlier than the licensing consultant, download our presentation!
Receiving an audit notice usually causes a significant headache. From this time on, the user will be constrained by time and limited by opportunities, but this typically 30-45 day period is just about getting ready for the auditor’s visit. IPR-Insights also provides support in this as well as in the negotiations with the auditor: our experts help our clients become aware of their real licensing status and reduce the auditor’s information advantage to sit in for the meetings as an equal party.
For those who have not yet started software asset management or are in the early stages of the SAM process, there are many questions and tasks to be solved. What workload and duration to expect? Which products will be tested at all? How accurately do we know or guess what we are using? Do we have an overview of each installation? Do these software products belong to one or more areas? Who operates them? Do we know what licenses can cover what we use? What do we have a license for? To what extent can the incompliance move, if any? How should I prepare for the audit?
Those who are already advanced in software asset management are interested in the finer details of licensing and auditing. What has been the change since the last review? Are there any licensing traps that are unknown? Will there be any unplanned costs at all? What interpretation disputes can we expect? Should we advance planned infrastructure upgrades or other investments? How much will the data supply cost? How can we prepare for and provide data in the least disruptive way in our day-to-day operations, and should we tune in to the schedule? The more mature SAM practice is also beneficial in terms of numerical audit results, and serving information needs is less disruptive to normal operations and therefore less costly.
It is the client’s obligation under the license agreement to cooperate with the auditor, and this can only be limited in extreme cases. This may be the case if the investigating vendor is interested in non-relevant areas other than his own software or if the examination interferes with normal day-to-day operations.
The audit exploration phase provides a picture of where, how much, and what features of the vendor’s products are being used, which ones are within the scope of the audit, and how well they fit into the intended use. The more structured the organization, the more organizational and infrastructure pockets, nooks and crannies may occur where something unexpected can be found, and these details are of great interest to auditors.
The role of the evaluation phase is to determine which licenses are best covered by the identified use and to compare them with the license inventory. However, optimized licensing will only be sought by the user and/or independent consulting partner, not by the auditor as the cost is borne by the end-user.
Having discovered the expected incompliance, the financial preparation phase follows, which determines what level (e.g. regional, global) decision or support is needed for the solution. Addressing outstanding incompliance may involve postponing or canceling planned improvements.
In preparation for the negotiation phase with the auditor, it is important to clarify (or even quantify) what we want to achieve and what we are willing to let go. We also need to know what the opposite party is aiming for and what they are expected to respond to each of our steps.
The definitions of some license agreements are imprecise in their practical use, and the vendors tend to interpret the points at issue to their advantage. Clients, as equal parties, have the opportunity to interpret factually unclear concepts in contradiction with the vendor’s idea, as the difference in list price can be huge. The value of actual use must be paid for, but nothing that goes beyond that, or that cannot be deduced from the contract or is not based on facts.
Vendors have different attitudes in dealing with incompliance. Some allow you to purchase licenses during the audit, while others, especially ones applying external audit firms, freeze the status at the start of the audit, both on the license and on the usage side.
The software auditor (vendor or agent) is trying to make statements that cost money to the client. He is not an independent expert – he is interested in finding incompliance. In addition, some vendors stipulate that if the difference between contracted and actual use is greater than 5 percent, the auditor’s fee is also paid by the audited company, and that is also a significant expense.
It is important that the auditor does not have unlimited time to investigate: first, with less work, he focuses on promising points, the “low-hanging fruits”. It is worth preparing for each vendor-typical trap situation with the help of an independent SAM consultant.
If you are interested in the Top 5 Risks that threaten users are if the auditor arrives earlier than the licensing consultant, download our presentation!
Protection against Risks of Vendor Audits
Software license and follow-up fees constitute an ever growing part of corporate IT budgets, meanwhile, vendors are auditing software usage and compliance more and more frequently. Compared to the unexpected costs deriving from vendor audits, the predictable and realistic costs of software asset management can be integrated into even tight IT budgets, and they effectively reduce risks and license fees, too.
Software Audit Protection Shield – Guarantee Program
Our program – exploiting the potential of proactive software asset management – offers clients a safer protection against the risks of vendor audits than ever before. Based on conclusions of over 700 corporate reference projects, nearly 20 years experience in software asset management, and our database identifying 130,000 products (8 million executable files) of over 23,000 software vendors, we can guarantee the maximum non-compliance (in case of audit) with the contracted vendor’s expectation for our clients. IPR-Insights helps clients prepare for vendor audits, reveals any non-compliances (and helps in elimination upon request), and if the compliance report is false, pays the difference (till the limit specified in the contract)! Its collateral is secured by liability insurance.
Currently, the agreement is available for two vendors:
- Audit Protection for Microsoft
- Audit Protection for Oracle
You can learn more about the terms and conditions of financial guarantee in our flyer. If you are interested in our software audit protection program, please contact us, so that we can inform you personally about the detailed conditions of the guarantee!
Covering IT activities with external services or complete outsourcing of IT procedures is common practice nowadays. Many parts of software asset management (complete operation of the software asset management system, software identification, continuous maintenance of license inventory, creation of special reports, etc.) can be well supported by an external partner. Because of the requirement of special knowledge and quick changes in the software portfolio, it can result in considerable resource savings besides preserving the appropriate qualitative criteria.
IPR-Insights can provide customized administrative services for operating and maintaining specific parts of the software asset management procedure or the tasks of the complete software asset management procedure which can be executed by an external partner. Please check out our infovideo.
Continuous SAM Services
In accordance with the needs of the company, we undertake, among other things, the contractual provision of the following fields of SAM:
- complete operation of software asset management (SAM) systems
- software identification
- continuous maintenance of the license inventory
- creating individual reports
According to your need, you can choose from our portfolio covering the whole corporate SAM process.
In addition to providing one-off services, IPR-Insights can perform partial or complete software asset management duties tailored to the specific needs of the client as an outsourced service, as well. If you do not intend to solve complex software asset management processes within the organization – due to their high resource intensity – our SAM outsourcing service provides you the cost and risk reduction benefits of software asset management for a monthly fee.
IPR-Insights provides enterprise software asset management not only in its strict sense but also services that complement or even exceed the scope of daily SAM activities:
Organizations operating their SAM processes in accordance with the ISO 19770-1 standard on Software Asset Management have the opportunity to certify their operations. Our company offers ISO 19770-1 consultancy and implementation for companies but does not provide certification as this would result in conflicts of interest. (Certification can be done by a partner independent of IPR-Insights.)
In order to properly manage the legal risks associated with our software assets and minimize their cost and reputational impact, it is worth consulting with software law experts.
Software asset management also requires special expertise in accounting. Our consultants are at your disposal with the accounting review of software tools, the development of accounting recommendations for their management, and SAM accounting workshop.
SAM project quality assurance services of IPR-Insights provide support in areas like project methodology, risk analysis, training, quality control, process development, and evaluation based on ISO 19770-1 standard.
Specialists at IPR-Insights provide tailor-made and team-specific training and education on copyright and liability issues, software management, vendor license structures, and accounting. In addition, we have been conducting regular LicenseAcademy courses for nearly 10 years.
IPR-Insights has been keeping in view the international standards and recommendations since its establishment. Since the publication of ISO 19770-1 our company has been working with regard to this standard. In general, if a company wants to obtain an ISO qualification regarding a specific activity, the first step is the assessment of the actual status, the preparation for the introduction and the introduction of the standard. Following this, the assessment and the certification of the system come.
According to the international principle of “independence”, the preparation-consultancy company and the certification partner cannot be the same. As our company is engaged in preparation and consultancy, we do not certify our clients, because it would result in incompatibility. Thus, the certification should be acquired from a partner who is independent of IPR-Insights.
INCREASE EFFICIENCY BY SAM TOOLS
The modular SAM Insights is a dedicated tool for cost-effective and legitimate software asset management. In addition to software and hardware data collection, registration, license reconciliation, and other features support the work of a license manager.
ORCA for SAM-Insights
ORCA is a SAM tool for enterprise IT teams responsible for running Oracle databases. It reads the outputs of data collection scripts, analyzes the hardware and database data captured in these files, and calculates product usage and licensing demand.
samQ License Optimizer
samQ is an add-on tool for the optimization of SAP software licenses. samQ checks existing SAP licenses against actual user activity via usage analyis and makes immediate changes to licenses where optimization is applicable.
CHECK YOUR ORGANIZATIONAL SAM MATURITY
Even the most professional license manager can only be effective and successful applying the right tools. We have developed a dedicated SAM tool to support
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