YEAR STARTER CHECKLIST: Getting the Most Out of Your Software License Agreements

For some people, the New Year holds a promise of new hope and another chance to get things right. It is the beginning of a new cycle. And although it shows us new potentials, it can also be full of concern and frustrations. It is the same in any language, in every type of environment you can possibly encounter. Beginnings can be quite worrisome, especially for highly organized businesses where large amount of money is at risk.

For business, software purchasing is one of those that needs a lot of attention at the beginning of a new fiscal year. After careful planning and preparation during the last quarter of the previous fiscal year, the first quarter of the new fiscal year is when the execution of those plans takes place. The most challenging tasks include keeping track and getting the most out of all Software License Agreements. Here are some important things to keep in mind to ease the process and to help in achieving better SLA within the organization.

1. Refresh the team with the organization’s goal

It is important to start the year with a fresh set of ideas and a clear goal in mind. Make sure that the team is well aware of what the organization’s objectives are and that the whole team is on board in order to achieve these objectives. Whether it be supporting and maintaining healthy software audits or cost reduction, it is vital that the team’s mindset is aligned with the business goals.

2. Know your current standing

Having thorough knowledge of all software contracts of the organization is crucial in order to completely take control of them. Make sure that the team reviews all software contracts and is well aware of the company’s current standing for each software vendor. In addition to knowing what the organization has, it is also important to have an in-depth knowledge of the internal goals and operations of the vendor.

3. Evaluate licenses that are for renewal

Assessing licenses for renewals is a completely different task and should have its own process and delegations. The organization should have a method on analyzing what they truly need to renew for the year. It is important to identify all the expenses and deliverables associated with the new agreement or the renewal for each specific license. Evaluate the company’s need for each license by checking actual costs for each and comparing the cost to how badly the company needs the license. It may also be a good time to consider other options in the market. Evaluate if there are any requirement that the current vendor did not meet or certain features that the organization needs but are missing in the existing software.

4. Strengthen your portfolio

To make the most out of your software license agreements, it is essential to have an accurate baseline of information to build future requirements, which will serve as a basis for future purchases. Gather relevant information from each business unit to gain insights on what they truly need for future requirements, which will serve as a reference point for the company’s current entitlements.

  • a. Know the actual usage of your licenses
  • One of the most essential information is the true active usage of the software within the organization. It is crucial for future decisions regarding how many licenses to purchase and install within the enterprise. This information is one of the main foundations on which software license agreements are built. Therefore, it is vital to have an accurate reporting tool that will provide a precise insight on the true active usage of software licenses.
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    b. Investigate on end user pattern
  • In order to strengthen any software license agreement with vendors and to gain more insight on what type of agreement is best suited for the organization, now is the time to pay attention to how end users use different licenses. Finding a reporting tool that can accurately provide this information would really help in the decision-making process for software license agreements throughout the year.

5. Analyze the gap between current haves and needs

Thinking ahead is important. It costs less than an impromptu software purchase splurge. It is important to keep in mind the licenses that may be needed for the upcoming years. So, upon the accumulation of information from the different business units and each end user, now is the time to analyze the gap between the organization’s current entitlements and what it might need in the future.

6. Stop neglecting the small things

The beginning of this year is the time to unlearn the habit of being oblivious of the small things. Always keep in mind to track all documentations. It is a great help to have an accurate reporting tool to keep track of all the important information. The basis of a good software license agreement is a good set of evidences to back up all future decisions and negotiations with software vendors.

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