Businesses fail on software licensing

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Many Australian companies are paying 30 percent more or less than they should be for software licensing, a software vendor said.

Many Australian companies are paying 30 percent more or less than they should be for software licensing, a software vendor said.

Phil Hare, regional managing director for UK-based IT inventory and tracking software vendor Centennial Software, said most of its customers over the last six months had been found to have either 30 percent more software licenses than they needed or were the same amount short.

He did not give actual figures but claimed "the vast majority" were failing to accurately inventory their software and buy the appropriate number and type of software licences as a result.

While that might seem a trivial issue, companies that could accurately inventory their software -- and hardware -- had the tools to manage it better, potentially reducing risk and saving money.

Meanwhile, regulatory compliance and corporate governance were becoming bigger issues, Hare said.

"Within organisations, both employees and managers can expose themselves to risks [as a result]," he said.

Centennial Software sells IT asset inventory and tracking applications that can tell users what software they have on their network-attached devices, what brand it is and whether it is licensable. It also gives a view of hardware on the network, Hare said.

Adam Shaw, a software asset management specialist in licensing solutions at service provider and Centennial Software reseller Data#3, said many of its customers worried about the problems they had keeping track of their software.

"Customers are coming to us and saying, 'we need to be able to find out what software we have'," he said.

"Many organisations only [inventory their software] once a year and then you've got people running around with freeware they've downloaded, dropping it all in .txt files."

Companies with large numbers of desktops and more mobile workers increasingly needed to ensure scarce resources weren't unnecessarily wasted or inappropriately used. Also, vendors such as Adobe were demanding customers audit themselves and report back, he said.

So products like Centennial Software's Discovery application -- which let users get a virtually instantaneous, real time view of their network assets -- were proving popular, Shaw said.
 

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