Does your organization have a process in place for re-using or harvesting software licenses?
For example, when a desktop or laptop is retired, what happens to the software licenses that reside on the machine? With a reliable harvesting process, the software assets that can be re-assigned should go into a pool of available licenses for re-use.
A Software Asset Management (SAM) tool that manages licenses and monitors application usage can help automate the process of harvesting. A robust SAM solution should be able to monitor usage at various levels of detail. Most SAM tools can determine if an application has been opened and is being used, or simply sitting idle. Ideally, a SAM tool should be able to indicate levels of interaction – whether an employee uses a license once per day, once per month, or clicks on it all day long as a power user.
For proactive SAM and decision support, it is important to know which software licenses are underutilized or unused in the environment. If your SAM tool can automate the process, then you should be able to set thresholds for reasonable versus no usage. Once a threshold is met, an alert can be sent to the user providing usage metrics and the cost of the license to help determine if
- the user really needs the license and should continue to have access,
- another employee should have access instead, or
- the license should be removed from the environment until someone really needs it. If another department needs access to the software, why buy a new license and spend unnecessarily?
When a license is harvested, it goes into a pool of available licenses, and in the meantime, you save on maintenance once you alert your software publisher of the change. Harvesting licenses has saved companies tens of thousands to even millions of dollars on new license purchases and maintenance.
Some organizations have begun to provide incentives to their employees when they save money for the company by giving up the rights to a license. As one example, they offer gift cards as a reward for license and maintenance savings.