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Software License Management

All software, whether it is cloud-based or installed on a desktop, comes with a license that governs the use or redistribution of software. Staying on top of all these licenses - tracking who is using them, ensuring license fees are up to date and assessing their relevance, can be daunting and time-consuming. That’s where software license management or SLM comes in.

At its simplest, software license management is a strategy that enables businesses and organizations to track and maintain their licenses. For a small business or entity, this task might not be so difficult, but for larger enterprises, controlling, documenting and monitoring its assets can be very complicated. 

  • Benefits
  • Best Practices
  • Solutions

Software License Management Benefits

There are many benefits to knowing how to manage software licenses. SLM can be used as part of a strategy to ensure full compliance with software licenses. This ensures a company conforms to every End-User License Agreements (EULA).

Having a comprehensive software license management system is the first line of defense for protecting a company and its reputation. That’s because a company is at risk of fines or legal action if it runs even a single device with unlicensed software.

Effective SLM is also a valuable tool for reducing costs and wasteful resource usage. Many companies don’t know which software or programs they have bought, where they are installed and even if they are being used. By implementing a global approach to software licensing management, companies have up-to-date and accurate data about all their software assets. This approach prevents waste and also allows them to allocate resources where they are most needed.

In addition, using the right software license control, whether that's a software licensing service or software license management tool means that most of the day-to-day minutiae involved in application license management can be handed off and be automated. Using a software license management system also eliminates human error and allows for better reportage and tracking than a spreadsheet-based system, for example.

Top 5 Best Practices for Software License Management

Without an effective software license management system in place, it’s hard to keep track of everything. Companies may even find they are not in compliance with certain licenses or have obsolete or unnecessary software that they continue to pay for. By implementing the following software license management best practices, software license control becomes easier.

  • Start by collating all your licenses. Without knowing what your company is using, there is no way of keeping on top of them all. This includes desktop applications and cloud subscriptions. If this is not something you have already been doing, it can be a time consuming and overwhelming task, but it need only be done once. When you have a system in place, it will be easier to maintain and update the system and even hand it over to someone else without having to start the whole process over again.
  • Once you have all the information clearly laid out, start checking through each license to ensure you are in compliance and that you are only using the software you may legally run. You can do this by finding and matching license documents, including proof of purchase and maintenance contracts and renewal information. Store these alongside the license information using a software license management tool or asset management software system. This is important not just for software license management best practices but is good practice in case your firm is audited.
  • Software license management is not a one-and-done task. It's an ongoing job that must be maintained. Licenses must be updated on a regular basis, unnecessary or obsolete software must be removed, and so on. To ensure nothing gets missed or overlooked, create a system that ensures you stay on top of the complicated task of software licensing management. This can be something as simple as setting reminders in a calendar to ensure everything is up-to-date or establishing roles and processes within your company to make this happen.
  • Another must-do as part of software license management best practices is keeping track of just who (and how) the various assets and licenses are being used. This can help to keep spending under control, as many organizations waste money on licenses they do not need or use. This can be done (albeit not optimally) using a simple spreadsheet, but a larger enterprise will find IT asset management software or a software license management system better for managing a greater volume of licenses. Using such a system means you can be ready to uninstall unused software or transfer them to another user to prevent double purchasing. Doing so will also enable better projections for setting a software budget.
  • Last, but not least, create a clear process for who is authorized to either purchase or install software. By doing so, you'll reduce the change of users putting your company at risk through the improper download or use of software and also stem the flow of unauthorized software purchases. Employees should know the process they must go through to purchase or update their software and understand which department is in charge of maintaining and running software license compliance tools or are in charge of software licensing management.

Sentinel Software Management Solution

We offer a range of products for optimal software license management. These include Sentinel EMS and Sentinel RMS.

Sentinel EMS is a web-based licensing and entitlement management system that allows software developers and device manufacturers to streamline their operations. It includes interfaces for license generation, activation, tracking, reporting, back-office integration, and customer self-service portals. 

Sentinel RMS gives software and technology vendors control over, and insight into, how their applications are used. RMS offers enterprise-grade on-premises license enforcement and cloud-connected benefits. 

With the right tools in place, every step of the software license management process can be easily automated in a transparent and end-user friendly way. Adoption of a SLM system enables companies to automate time-consuming, manual tasks, eliminate human error and ensure they comply fully with their EULAs.

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How to Get Software Licensing Right the First Time - White Paper

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