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Software Asset Management
Licence compliance for hybrid infrastructures

Challenges of licence compliance in hybrid infrastructures

January 14, 2019

Our question is simple: "Do you really still need software asset management in modern hybrid infrastructures?" After all, with all the different cloud offerings, there can be no more compliance breaches and subscription management is a breeze. Or is it? And the number of on-premises IT infrastructures is decreasing by the day, so life for CIOs, IT managers and asset managers should actually be getting easier...   But the truth is that the world of software asset management (SAM) and licence compliance becomes much more complicated as organisations start to add cloud services to their own IT infrastructures. Below are some simple examples that explain this increasing complexity.

Partially hosted infrastructure

Organisations that have part of their IT infrastructure hosted by a service provider pay the provider a monthly fee. The service or hosting provider is usually a licensee who has a contract with a software vendor (for example Microsoft). In some cases, however, end users can exercise their right to licence mobility if software assurance is attached to their software licences. Put more simply: These customers can transfer their licences from their own local infrastructure to the hosting provider and start using the software. In this case, however, the parties legally bound to software contracts begin to differ. The end customer (the software user) has a contract with Microsoft, but the service provider also has such a contract. So who is responsible for compliance? What happens when customers cancel their Software Assurance? How do both organisations register licence allocation, contract renewals, reallocation of licences and so on?

Public cloud services

Another factor that complicates IT infrastructures are public cloud services. If only one service is added, it may still be easy to manage. However, when organisations start using several different cloud services (such as SaaS office applications, SaaS offerings for business applications or ERP applications and Azure or AWS for infrastructure), the level of complexity increases again. Not because there are multiple licensing or cloud agreements, but because each software provider has its own terms of use and they rarely harmonise with each other.

Shadow IT

In the two paragraphs above, I had talked about cloud services that an organisation is aware of. But then there is the phenomenon of "shadow IT". If the IT department cannot meet the needs of departments or individual employees, or cannot do so quickly enough, these employees or departments are now happy to whip out their own credit cards and pay for web applications. Subscription costs paid with private credit cards are simply reported to HR or accounting as an official expense. But if software registrations in the company are not aligned, the IT department may not even know that this new cloud service is in their IT environment. And I haven't even mentioned the security risks yet...                  

Optimisation of use

The above examples give us enough reasons to worry about compliance in modern companies. However, there is another factor: optimising use. This brings me back to the original topic: Why software asset management is still needed in modern hybrid environments. When SAM is done right, SAM consultancies collect huge amounts of data: Data on software usage in departments and business units and even by individual users. With this data, SAM partners are able to advise companies on licensing and cloud optimisation. This is imperative, because in modern IT hybrid environments, we encounter over-use as often as non-compliance.

Face the challenges

IT hybrid infrastructures lead to increasing complexity related to licences and can thus become a real challenge. Insights, overview and control. Technology, people and processes. Do you have everything under control? Are you sure? And can you back up your "opinion" with data? Face the challenges! Start with Software Asset Management and get the answer.

Special features Microsoft Cloud Licences
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Use of cloud services

When it comes to the topic of cloud, there are some special features with regard to licences. In a personal webinar, we will show you how best to deal with them.

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Do you have any questions?

Are you interested in the topic of licence compliance and would like to receive further information? Then please contact us. We look forward to your enquiry!

Erol Anil

Managing Director
SYCOR IQ Solutions GmbH
+49 89 307 731 32

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