Notomia for software licenses

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Notomia – that was Leonardo da Vinci’s synonym for anatomy. In 1515, when a Papal decree prohibited the dissection of humans, he ignored this decree and dissected 30 men and women who had been executed, in order to study the structure and functioning of the human body. Neither the decree nor the significant risk of infection through dead bodies kept him from doing what he wanted to do, and his success justified the risks he had taken: he discovered arteriosclerosis and was probably the first among mankind to create drawings of a child in the mother’s womb. Even today, his 200 or so anatomic drawings are precious works of arts, combined with scientific precision and detail. And what applied to Leonardo da Vinci, is well worth to be applied to software license management: the more precise and accurate knowledge is supplied to license managers on the company’s license landscape, the better they can manage, control and optimize enterprise licenses.

Perpetual versus subscription

Software product offerings are based on all kinds of licensing models and conditions. The typical licensing model for traditional on-premise applications is a one-time fee per device (computer-bound license), often combined with an annual maintenance fee for enterprise environments that entitles the company to receive updates, as defined by the software vendor. Very often, license utilization is based on specific multiple installation rules, such as the permission to install software on multiple devices, provided that these devices are not used concurrently.

The increasing use of software-as-a-service applications has changed software licensing models, since SaaS applications are operated in the cloud, i.e., they are updated by the software vendor, and no maintenance fee is charged. Also, users work with such SaaS applications on multiple devices via the browser or a mobile app; hence, licensing per device is insufficient and does not support the vendor’s business model, nor does it address the customers’ requirements. As a result, software leasing per active user per month has evolved into the most frequently used licensing model, replacing the perpetual license including maintenance by a monthly fee per user (user-bound license).


Bringing back order into the license chaos

Now, that’s the theory. In practice, each company is challenged to manage a mix of multiple licensing models, and Matrix42, as an experienced vendor of software asset management solutions, has developed respective best practices. The Matrix42 Software Asset Management and Compliance Suite divides license management into two areas:

  1. License requirements determination: The license requirements define how many licenses are needed in the company; in most cases, an inventory solution is used to capture the installation status on individual devices. Determining the license requirements, based on bookings in a service catalog, is another frequently used and valid option.
  2. License inventory management: The license inventory defines how many and which licenses the company is entitled to use, based on respective contracts, very often, enterprise agreements that are negotiated with respective vendors to cover longer terms of contracts.

The Software Asset Management Suite is used to avoid underlicensing or overlicensing situations, i.e., to maintain a balance between license requirements and license inventory.



Software asset management in the SaaS universe

SaaS applications come with new kinds of licensing models and also new challenges for software asset managers. Creating software accounts increases license requirements, while also expanding the license inventory, since additional licenses are simply booked and included within the monthly bill, which means that software asset managers must monitor and also optimize the use of licenses, scrutinizing and checking whether all entitled users really use their licenses or whether direct and fast cost savings could be achieved by disabling unused accounts. Also, they must determine whether certain users could use another, less costly subscription without functional limitations. MyWorkspace, in combination with the Matrix42 Software Asset Management Suite, can answer these and other relevant questions. MyWorkspace takes over the task of dynamically updating the license requirements and the license inventory to deliver real licensing requirements, based on continuous usage analysis to automatically show where subscriptions can be reduced or optimized accordingly. Thus, MyWorkspace is the ideal anatomy tool for examining and controlling license landscapes.



IT managers who do without license anatomy also do without related insights, knowledge and management options. For Leonardo da Vinci, this was not acceptable, and he took on considerable risks to gain such knowledge, as opposed to license managers, who will not risk anything, but can only benefit from related improvement opportunities, based on a detailed analysis of the license landscape; any risks that may arise are related to NOT leveraging these options. In this respect, Leonardo da Vinci can also serve as a role model for license managers, and the only bad news is: license reports will probably not make it into the museums; they are functional, rather than having the esthetic appeal of da Vinci’s anatomic drawings, but are certainly at least as precise and detailed.

Are you interested? Contact us to plan to initiated your first license audit for SaaS, Web and legacy applications based on MyWorkspace and Workspace Management 8.1.1! Follow this blog via e-mail or twitter to join or next Office365 live webinar.

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