When you stop to consider just how much work IT managers have on their plates today — mobility, cloud and IT security — it’s easy to see how the task of managing software licenses might be overlooked.

IT managers at many organizations aren’t entirely certain when it comes to all of the software they have, or whether they are paying too much for it. After all, software licenses aren’t something tangible like a new server or security appliance. And just managing a major vendor’s software licenses can keep a couple of people very busy, before adding in other vendors, ERP software, antivirus or other security products.

CIOs — who traditionally have focused on delivering IT services — in the past didn’t necessarily like the idea of pulling an IT staffer off another job to count or audit a company’s software licenses.

The need to dedicate a team member to manage software licenses is becoming more apparent, however, as software companies today update policies monthly, weekly or even daily, and those changes grow ever more complex.

Did you know that Microsoft now packages key functionalities into maintenance (Software Assurance) contracts? Beginning with SQL Server 2014, each active server licensed with Software Assurance coverage requires the customer to install a single passive server for failover support. Sometimes changes like these can add cost, or significantly impact a customer’s future licensing strategy.

Know When to Ask for Help

Those are just a few of the reasons why IT departments should take a closer look at software license management. There are more. First, leading software manufacturers are stepping up their efforts to run compliance audits. Depending on a company’s size, noncompliance can cost organizations thousands — sometimes millions — of dollars. But, getting a grip on software license management also can help companies save millions of dollars.

The average company stores all software asset information in a series of disparate spreadsheets that too often don’t adequately track or show pertinent information when it comes to internal use of software. That means company leaders typically don’t know when they are paying for software that’s not used, or if they’re not sufficiently licensed in other areas.

Third-party integrators can help organizations get a more accurate handle on their entire software picture. Companies that engage this type of service receive up-to-date information on all of the software manufacturers they’re doing business with, along with important dates for upgrades or renewals.

For example, we can also employ a tool from Snow Software to offer IT managers an entire dashboard view of all software licenses in play. Armed with all of this information, companies can develop a comprehensive, three-year plan for software management. Some large companies report millions of dollars of savings annually thanks to these tools.

It makes sense for those customers who opt not to use a management tool to still request a Software License Review from CDW. It’s likely to show IT teams precisely how they can manage licenses more effectively.

Teams can also increase productivity by running the most current versions of software available, and save money on costly fines or carrying underused software. The best part? Our Software License Review service is free of charge.