Last week we hosted our third Strategic SAM webinar: Renewal Time Again, The Data You Need and How to Use It. In this session we covered tactics and strategies, like software reclaim, that will help you reduce the cost of software license renewals. You can watch the entire webinar and highlight clips on-demand.
We took great questions from the audience during the Q&A and have provided a transcript of those conversations below. Don’t forget that if you have any of your own questions about Software Asset Management or software license renewals, you can submit them to Ask Sam!
Q: You mentioned the workflow for reclaim operations. Can this workflow be managed by a service management tool like ServiceNow?
A: Absolutely, all of the AppClarity tools are designed with APIs for integration. which can be done by 1E or by your organization. 1E is not an organization that says you absolutely must use our consultants, and we recognize that our tools need to integrate and work with other IT operations, such as the service management tools like ServiceNow.
Q: Are there any restrictions on how often you can reclaim and reassign software titles?
A: Really good question. Yes! There is what you might have heard referred to as a ‘ninety-day rule’ for Microsoft titles. Essentially what that means is you can reassign software once every ninety days. So you resign it to another end user device or another end user, and you have to wait ninety days before you do that again. The interesting part here is we have a Shopping interface that allows you to install software: it has the ability to do rental type operations where you can say ‘I’m going to use this for my next project’ – maybe you’re looking at the Microsoft Project tool – ‘I’m going to use this for my next project, and I’m going to check it back in to the Shopping interface.’ We have a shelf time there that allows you to do a ninety-day wait, before that license becomes available again for reassignment.
It is something that you need to look at and understand the implications of in order to make sure you’re not going to hit an issue where Microsoft is coming in, doing a review, and they notice that you’re doing a reassignment on a regular basis. Other than Microsoft, I haven’t really seen much in the way of restrictions in that space.
Q: You say you only have to have Software Metering Client turned on, but don’t need to define any software usage rules, how does that work?
A: If you have the Metering Client turned on, it will track when an application is executed. It doesn’t track how long it’s executed for, how much time it’s in the front of the screen, how many key strokes or anything like that, it simply says, ‘this application was run, on this day, at this time.’ 98% of the time, that’s really the information that you need to know. And you can automate to that.
Q: You’ve indicated that reclaim works better if the user is engaged. What do you mean by that, and how do you engage the user?
A: Everybody has their own computer: they’ve customized it to their own environment, they’ve installed software that’s unique to their own use case, and you’ll find that people tend to have a sense of ownership over their computer. In actual fact the organization typically owns the computer (unless it’s a BYO device), but people do tend to have more of a perspective of ‘this is mine’.
If you simply go up to a particular device and say, ‘we’re going to take that software off,’ you tend to have the end user getting a little bit upset. They’re going to say, ‘hey, something changed, why did this disappear?’ By engagement we mean the user should be involved in this process. We can pop up a dialogue when we’re about to remove software, we have the option to say to the user, ‘this software is costing the user this much money, we would like to be able to use that software elsewhere, we’d like to be able to reassign it to somebody else: if you don’t need it, can you please return it?’ And through that level of engagement the user’s much more likely to think, ‘I’m part of the process, I’m part of the savings for the organisation, I have stock in this company, they’re treating me well, I’ll return that software.’
When they say, ‘here’s my reason for keeping it,’ that information goes up to their manager, and that manager can then say, ‘here’s what we’re going to do in that particular situation.’ The manager’s not overwhelmed. They’re just dealing with that one particular employee.
One other area which is of a great deal of interest to many of our organizations with regards to reclaim, is Shopping, which enables the end user to say, ‘I can return this, because I know how to get it if I need it again. You can take this off my device, because I know I can get it, I know I can install it, it’s really easy.’
Q: Can we use reclaim functions to provide a check out/check in approach to software use within our organization?
My perspective on that is, you can but you shouldn’t. The check in/check out process, based on reclaim, is a very manual process, where you say, ‘in thirty days this person is going to be done, and we can reclaim that software and have IT manage that reclamation process.’ Instead, what I would suggest in that particular environment is something more like Shopping – which has a ‘rental’ option, where you can say, ‘I’m going to use this piece of software, I’m going to use if for ninety days,’ and then at the end of the ninety days you’re given another dialogue, similar to reclaim, that says, ‘hey, are you done with this because we’d like to uninstall this from your system?’ It automates the process for you, it handles that effort directly.