Software Asset Optimization today is not actionable and is primarily addressed by solutions that use historical data to “look back” by providing usage information from registry readers or log files. Registry readers/scanners report the last time an application was used, but not usage duration. License server log file reading reporting tools provide historical usage information, but only for applications with concurrent user licenses. License server providers such as Flexera come closest to providing actionable information because they let the user organization release inactive licenses. Judging from the number of posts on the Autodesk Community Forums, changing the options files to release licenses is not as easy as it sounds.
Optimizing asset usage of specialty desktop software requires having perspective on historical usage patterns, such as typical usage peaks, and whether there is any predictability to usage peaks. It’s important as well to be able to identify what the real behaviors were like at those peaks. License server log files can report only how many licenses were checked out, but not whether they were actively used or what percentage of licenses might have been “borrowed.” For licenses such as Autodesk it’s important to identify what the actual license demand was between premium and ultimate vs. standard or LT versions.
Organizations can adjust their licensing based on historical data, but this does not help with the ability to take action during peak usage, such as when a license denied message is sent. In order to take action during a period of critical need, organizations need to be able to do the following:
- Understand that the problem exists. A typical example today is a complaint from one or more users that a license is unavailable.
- Identify which users are using/have checked out the needed licenses. This is most often accomplished today via a group email to application users asking them if they are still using/have checked out the license.
- Obtain release of the needed license. Often this request is part of group email that relies on the emails being read as well as the kindness of fellow co-workers to release a license.
- Force release of the needed license. Let’s just call this one a decision from the group’s manager.
Optimizing the software asset requires knowing who has a license checked out, whether the license is being used, and a vehicle to make this information visible to an appropriate decision maker (the license user, the license requestor, or a manager), in order to take an action to free up the license. Solving this problem seems simple enough on the surface, except that the solution requires visibility into several disconnected processes or data sources. These include:
- Does the application program vendor provide information to identify what the application is, such as Standard or LT, or year?
- Do the license server log files provide information about which users are using the application and who the user is who requested a license?
- Is there a mechanism to identify the status of a license (is it actively being used)?
- Is there a mechanism to compare checked out licenses to entitlements, or identify when license usage exceeded pre-determined thresholds?
- Is there a mechanism to consolidate this information and associate a user to an application and a license?
- Is there an alerting mechanism that can alert the appropriate individual(s) depending on the circumstances?
Solutions are available today that read log files and let organizations know they are running out of or have run out of licenses. Some solutions report how often a license denied message was issued in a week. An actionable framework of alerts, including the ability to identify who is using what and whether it being used in real time has not yet been delivered by software asset optimization vendors.
Solving the problem requires a different approach and data collection process than existing solutions offer. The solution has to address concurrent licenses as well as standalone and cloud-delivered applications. Cetrus is building an architecture that can gather the information, provide visibility into status, and deliver messages to allow real-time actions.
We welcome you to try Process Meter, which we believe solves the problem of actionable Software Asset Management. The first step is being able to gather and report real-time usage information. Give us a call at +1 (877) 238 -7871 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll show how we can solve the problem.