How to Take Full Advantage of Software License Reports

Software license reports offer valuable insights into how individual users, in particular, and the whole organization, in general, utilize some of the company’s most expensive assets: software licenses.

Generating the right license reports is a very crucial step in the software license management (SLM) and optimization process.

Without accurate and appropriate reports, it would be difficult to conduct proper usage data analyses that could provide a fundamental basis for formulating an effective business plan.

However, before we further discuss the importance of license reports and how to take full advantage of them, let’s start where it all begins: software metering.

What is software metering?

Software metering is key to effective software license management and optimization.

Aside from collecting license information, it also includes the periodic collection of license usage data from license managers, log files, OS kernel, I/O events, and other sources to accurately assess the true active usage of every software application being metered and correctly identify who is using them, where, when and for how long.

The first step towards license usage optimization is metering.

After all, as Peter Drucker said, “you can’t improve what you don’t measure.” Metering provides the necessary visibility on the company’s software usage.

It allows them to uncover unused and underutilized software licenses, the maintenance of which could be draining away budget that could be saved or better allocated to some other much-needed resources.

It exposes potential risks of non-compliance, which could rack up huge penalties for the company if remained unchecked.

Software usage metering could also reveal some inappropriate habits that users may have picked up, such as license hogging, i.e., checking out multiple licenses at the same time, and license camping, i.e., keeping the license checked out without actually using them.

These inappropriate user behaviors deprive other users from checking out much-needed licenses and may cause unnecessary denials.

Aside from these, software metering can provide insights into usage trends throughout the years, which can then be used to predict usage trends in the near future.

This would allow companies to better understand their licensing position, plan the incoming year’s software budget more efficiently, and gain an advantage during software agreement negotiations with their vendors, thus minimizing true-up costs and maximizing license usage across the enterprise.

Software metering is key, but to fully take advantage of its benefits, you will need the right license usage reports.

What is software license reporting?

Some would think that software license reporting is simply keeping tabs on vital license information that can be found on the license keys or option files and tracking the license checkouts VS total licenses in the pool. But that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Effective license reporting provides the software usage information you need so that managers and executives can make actionable business decisions based on hard data.

With accurate software license reports, managers can easily decide if they can remove unused or underutilized licenses and reallocate the budget to other applications that may need additional licenses based on actual usage.

License reports could alert you when the available licenses of a critical application are running out or provide you with important details when denials happen.

Are your licenses about to expire? No worries.

License reports could tell you when you would need to start preparing for license renewals and renegotiations and provide you with the necessary information to make the best possible deal with your software vendors by using actual usage data and projections.

Are you getting so many denials even though you have more than enough licenses to cover the entire workforce?

Check the user-level license reports to see if there are possible cases of license hogging and license camping among users and deal with them accordingly.

And these are just a few examples of how you can take advantage of software license reports to create business value. The right license reports can provide you with the right solution for your specific goals and initiatives.

How do you take advantage of software license reports?

The first step is to define your goal.

What do you want to accomplish?

Do you want to ensure compliance?

Cut your software costs?

Optimize your licenses?

Make each department or team accountable for their own license usage?

Ensure license usage efficiency?

Oftentimes, these goals may have overlapping effects, and accomplishing one could also help accomplish another, but the specific license reports that you would need to accomplish a specific goal may differ slightly.

For instance, optimizing your licenses could eventually lead to cutting at least some of your software costs, but different levels of optimization would require different license usage reports and may result in varying cost savings.

If the goal is to optimize and not necessarily cut costs, you may want to settle at a lower level of optimization, which is safer but could yield much less savings. But if the goal is to cut costs, then you would have to try all levels of optimization to yield the most savings.

Next is to find the right software usage metering solution that could gather the necessary usage data that could help you understand your current position and show you the usage trends that you would need to be able to make the necessary data analyses.

Open iT LicenseAnalyzer, for instance, collects various usage data from a wide range of sources, including license manager utilities, log files, OS kernel, I/O, mouse and keyboard events, etc.

Now you would need a powerful engine that would aggregate and process the collected data and turn it into meaningful and actionable information by generating a wide range of license reports across different levels of the organization (from enterprise-wide down to user-level), specifically defined time periods, and various resolutions (yearly, monthly, weekly, daily, hourly).

It would be best if you could have various forms of reports, such as tabular, heatmaps, graphs, etc., for better and clearer presentation, and if you could create your own dashboard that could instantly provide you with all the reports you need on a single page.

It would also be great if you could integrate the data into your preferred BI tool for easier navigation. All these and more can be accomplished through LicenseAnalyzer.

Once you have the right license reports at your fingertips, you can now use them to draw conclusions and formulate your action plans based on your findings.

License reports are hard, irrefutable facts, and if your action plans are based on them, stakeholders would be hard-pressed to turn down those plans.

Then comes the hardest part: implementation.

All your hard work will be for naught if you fail to execute your action plans. However, many organizations are found to struggle with this part. Follow through and keep your eyes on your goals.

Lastly, rinse and repeat. You could either find a new main goal or continue your improvement by pushing your current goals further. The important thing is to keep pushing forward and continue to reap the rewards of effective software license reporting.

Learn more about how to effectively use software license reports to your advantage. Schedule a free one-on-one consultation with one of our solutions experts and find out how software usage metering and license reporting can help your organization.

Click here to see how license reports can help you uncover your true active usage.

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