With the hoopla around cloud computing the question “How do cloud and SaaS affect our industry?” is often asked.
In my view cloud computing and other pay as you go models may make inroads into software piracy rates but the role of Software Asset Management; “managing software assets through all stages of their lifecycle” remains the same.
Similarly, cloud computing, virtual platforms and new licensing models bring new layers of complexity to SAM but the principles remain.
The places we have to look for data, the people we need to ask for help may change, but the methodology and standards are the same.
In very simplistic terms: Purchase History vs. Consumption vs. Entitlement
|Microsoft Office (on premise)
|What copies of Office have I purchased?
|What copies of Office do I have installed?
|What does my agreement entitle me to use?
|How many subscribers of Salesforce.com are we committed to?
|How many users are actually logging in to use Salesforce.com?
|Entitlement, in theory, should be self regulating here.*
* Piracy can also occur in SaaS environments in the form of multiple users in the same login etc.
Adoption of cloud based applications is on the increase and the more agile ITAM tool vendors are building (or buying) innovations to monitor and manage these platforms.
One such example is Dublin, Ireland based vendor Openplain.
Their heritage is in enterprise workplace productivity and tracking what users are up to on their systems. They have built on this expertise to develop technology around software usage which spans both traditional installs as well as web based applications.
Using the Salesforce analogy above, organisations can track the usage of which features are being used to renegotiate contracts. The same technology could be used to monitor usage of internal web pages, internal applications or third party custom built web apps.
“By analysing what features are actually used, it’s easy to determine who needs Office Professional, Office Standard or the free Office Viewers. Just as important is understanding who’s using which online services and how. Adopting SaaS does not in itself make companies immune to the problem of shelfware. For example, our clients often find that less than 40% of their active Saleforce users actually use the more expensive features in the Enterprise & Unlimited editions.”
Jon Mulligan, Managing Director, Openplain.
Openplain’s software metering tool can also perform a like-for-like comparison of perpetual versus concurrent usage versus installs over a given time period. Again; very useful when organisations are trying to find the optimal way to license software.
What do you think? Are cloud based apps part of your SAM portfolio?