Software License Compliance without Compromise

Software license compliance is one of those high-impact areas that create a ripple effect of concern throughout organizations today as everyone from the office of the CEO to the entire IT department feels the financial and operational weight. In particular, when it comes to software licenses, six-figure settlements with advocacy groups like The Business Software Alliance make you sit up and take notice. Equally staggering are the billions in avoidable and ongoing costs associated with unused software or “shelfware.”

Despite these scary stats, Ernst & Young reported the results of a customer survey where 60 percent of those polled don’t monitor software usage and usage patterns, even though the software liability can equal up to three times the retail value of each unlicensed software installation. Why? Simply put, software license compliance is a time-consuming, difficult undertaking that often gets pushed aside because there’s just never enough time or resources to address it sufficiently.

Until, of course, you get audited—and chances are you will, as research shows that software audits are on the rise and growing each year. At Dell Software, we take all types of compliance very seriously as it is fundamental to helping our customers do more without increasing their risk exposure. We closely follow big industry movements so we can make it easier for companies of all sizes to maximize opportunities and minimize challenges.

For example, let’s look at BYOD, virtualization and cloud computing—huge industry trends that are transforming how our customers do business while further complicating their software licensing structures. We also recognize that market changes and end-of-life announcements can open the door to both under- and over-spending on software. Getting the balance right is a tough task, especially when you consider the proliferation of multiple software versions and inconsistent naming of software packages and components.

Luckily, understanding the complex nature of software assets falls right into Dell Software’s Systems Management wheelhouse, which is why I’m excited about the just announced enhancements to the KACE K1000 Management Appliance. With this latest release of the flagship product in our Endpoint Systems Management portfolio, we are delivering deep-dive software asset management capabilities in an easy-to-deploy physical or virtual appliance that also addresses the gamut of systems management tasks.

The K1000 now comes fully integrated with the Dell Application Catalog (DAC), which is a web-based catalog containing millions of executable files and nearly 50,000 software products from thousands of publishers. The catalog is updated daily, which gives our customers unprecedented access to highly accurate, reliable software information. Automated software metering will provide up-to-date usage information, which will make it much easier to identify underused software so it can be reallocated for use elsewhere. And, detailed, automated software audit and compliance reports are designed to help our customers thrive—not just survive—an actual audit.

The resulting combination of new capabilities offers Dell customers software license compliance without compromise. This is one area where we don’t think trade-offs are a good idea and definitely don’t advocate the “no gain without pain” rule.

What do you think? Drop me a line at to share your latest software audit story.

About the Author: Tom Kendra