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25 Software Asset Management Terms You Should Know for 2021

Want to know how to distinguish IaaS from a data connector, or a software license audit from a software license management tool? Then you are in the right place!

Software Asset Management is the business strategy for reclaiming budget and maximizing savings by actively controlling and automating procurement, usage, and deployment of software licenses. It's a complex world made up of elaborate acronyms and confusing jargon, so we are here to help you navigate it.

Alphabetized for your quick reference needs, here are the top 25 Software Asset Management terms you should know. You can thank us later.

  1. Data adapter and Data connector – A data adapter is used to retrieve data from a data source and to populate a data set. If changes are made to the data in the data set, the data adapter can also be used to resolve those changes in the data source. While a data connector is used to convert one data format to another, making the data usable by different programs and processes.

  2. Discovery tool – An IT asset management tool or application which connects to a device to identify which software is running on that device. It automates discovery and can be run both externally or locally on the device.

  3. IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) – A cloud computing model where an organization outsources equipment and provides access to computing resources through a cloud-based environment. It essentially consists of renting offsite servers that are monitored through applications as if they were on-premises.

  4. Joiners, Movers and Leavers (JML) – Human Resource-related tracking of IT asset status and ownership at the key points of an employee lifecycle. This employment data, stored either in an HR database or in the CMDB, can be used to determine when to allocate or re-harvest licenses.

  5. License metric – A measurement or set of measurements used by software publishers to identify how many licenses you are required to purchase for a product. These metrics vary by vendor, as each vendor uses their own metric in accordance with geography, user attributes etc.

  6. License optimization – The automatic and accurate deployment of license entitlements, such as product use rights, to ensure compliance and get the best possible for immediate cost savings and compliance.

  7. License re-harvesting – The process of defining and identifying unused or underused software and removing those software installations or reassigning user-based licenses.

  8. Over-purchasing / Over-licensed – When an organization purchases more licenses than necessary. Although it is something that will and can happen accidentally, it contributes to overspending and demonstrates the cost-saving value of Software Asset Management.

  9. PaaS (Platform as a Service) – Provides an environment where you can develop, run, and manage custom applications without having to directly maintain the underlying infrastructure.

  10. Private Cloud – Cloud services offered over the internet or over a private internal network to select users. These services are not available to the general public.

  11. Proof of License (aka License Entitlement or Proof of Entitlement) – Evidence that an organization has the rights to use software. The Proof of License acts as qualifying evidence and verifies the legal acquisition of a software license. It can differ according to the publisher or audit, so it is always best practice to get the definition in writing so you have it in case of a future software compliance audit.

  12. Public Cloud – Cloud services offered over the public internet. These services are available to anyone who wants to purchase the service.

  13. Product Use Right (PUR) – Stipulates what you can and cannot do with software you or your organization has purchased. These stipulations include: upgrade, downgrade, second use, and multiple versions rights.

  14. SaaS (Software as a Service) – A browser-based application and is hosted remotely by a vendor. It is accessed through the vendor’s website and is often used for daily work, for example Salesforce, Office 365, or WebEx.

  15. SAM (Software Asset Management) – Software Asset Management is the business strategy for reclaiming budget and maximizing savings by actively controlling and automating procurement, usage, and deployment of software licenses.

  16. SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) – A unique identifier which helps to facilitate discovery and inventory. Assigned by the publisher, this article number is also associated with the product use rights.

  17. Software license audit – The process of determining whether an organization is using their software in compliance with the product use rights and terms and conditions. It can be conducted by several parties, for example the software vendor themselves, or an auditor. If found non-compliant, an organization can face significant penalties, in addition to purchasing the required number of licenses.

  18. Software license compliance (aka Compliance) – Using your software in strict accordance with the terms and conditions laid out in the software licenses paid for by an organization.

  19. Software license management – The tools and processes that an organization uses to document and manage their software licenses to ensure compliance with the developer’s software license.

  20. Software normalization – A step-by-step process that systematically cleans and identifies the data, from filtering out what’s unneeded to standardizing the information that is kept. This improves product recognition, ensuring that your software license management tool can provide an accurate overview of your software licenses.

  21. Server Topology – Refers to the ways in which servers are set up and configured. With this information, your software license management tool can create a complete and accurate compliance report, as well as identify where potential compliance issues might arise.

  22. True-Up – In general, this means to certify what was formerly an estimation. True-up’s require that you pay in total for new usage for the remaining life of the agreement (a one-time lump sum versus pro-rated annual payments).

  23. Under-purchasing / Under-licensed – When you have not purchased enough of or the right licenses to cover your software usage. While this is never the direct intention of an organization, it can become costly and demonstrates the cruciality of software license management.

  24. Virtual machine – A program that acts as a virtual computer. It runs on your current operating system (the host operating system) and provides virtual hardware to guest operating systems. The guest OS runs in a window on your host OS, just like any other program on your computer. The advantage of a virtual machine is that nothing has to be installed on your actual hardware, giving you the ability to switch between and experiment with operating systems, run software designed for a different operating system than the one installed on your physical machine, and consolidate servers.

  25. XaaS – A general, collective term that refers to the delivery of anything as a service. It recognizes the vast number of products, tools and technologies that vendors now deliver to users as a service over a network -- typically the internet -- rather than provide locally or on-site within an enterprise. 

While there’s a lot to learn about the world of Software Asset Management, these fundamental basics can help you cut through the jargon jungle and reach your SAM goals more quickly and efficiently.

More about SAM in our Software Asset Management Programm Guide: 

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Nichole Williams

Nichole Williams

Nichole joined Aspera in 2015 and is currently the Manager of Project Management. She has over 18 years of project management & leadership experience in the SAM and Information Technology industry. She holds both project management and SAM Certifications including Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Practitioner Certificate in Oracle License Management (PCOLM) and Practitioner Certificate in IBM License Management (PCILM). She earned her Bachelor of Science in Ceramic Engineering at Missouri Science & Technology. In 2021 Aspera and all other USU Solutions were united under the USU brand.

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