License Compliance and IT Chargeback

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What is Software Usage Monitoring?

By Signe Marie Stenseth, Vice President, Open iT, Inc., presented at the 12th International Conference on Petroleum Data Integration, Data and Information Management

Software monitoring is used to measure how different software packages are used over time - by feature, feature-group, application or product - by business unit, location and project - and by all types of measurements, including:

  • Concurrent License Usage (max, min, average)
  • Named License Usage (number of different users)
  • License Denial reporting
  • Total vs. Active Usage
  • Top 10 users of a product
  • Usage above a 10-minute filter

The important thing is to keep a history to report on trends in usage over time. Software Usage tools also might include a real-time reporting feature.

Why focus on Software Usage Monitoring?

A study just released by Gartner [1] states that “depending on the level of process maturity, enterprises that implement software usage capabilities will achieve savings of 5-25% in the first year. After the first full cycle of contract renegotiations, the savings will likely stabilize at 2-3 % in subsequent years.”

The study goes on further to say that you should invest in tools that have quick payback with minimal effort after implementation; and software usage tools fill that requirement.

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Click to enlarge image.

Along this arrow that illustrates additional business value, I have highlighted a few of the positive milestones that we see oil and gas companies have reached as part of their implementation of usage tools in their E&P environment:

  • Entering into more flexible agreements with core vendors: Agreements that have a usage component can give you advantages. It is easier to try out new features and functions without running the risk of any expensive purchase upfront before ensuring that your users have picked up the new functionality. A more flexible, usage-based agreement often leads to tighter relations with your vendors, because discussions can focus on usage and value from their products and services (discussions that are based on facts rather than assumptions). They will want to support you with products and services that create value for you to ensure long-term relations. You can give important feedback to them on how a single feature or feature set is in use, and channel this feedback to R&D so they can continue to support your need for future improvements in technology that you are highly dependent on.
  • Always prepared for an audit. Reporting and budgeting costs are highly reduced with a monitoring tool in place.
  • Sharing technology best practices on a global level: With usage tools you are able to document what technology is in use right now and how it has been in use in the various locations or projects. In this way best practices can be spread company-wide. Also, training needs can be determined for a specific product, for a specific region, or the effects of training can be measured.