Microsoft’s software license compliance strategy is avoiding the “overt” software license audit....
It has been my experience, that companies have often adopted the Service Management agenda whole, and get very capable at rolling out hardware and software so that new employees can do their jobs as close as possible from day one of employment.
The size of your company might require that departmental profiles are kept in your CMDB, so that 60-70% of IT resources can be configured from day one of a new employee joining, with the remaining 30-40% being added through subsequent self-service and/or service desk requests.
Joiners: Are users and software licenses up to date?
However, while managing departmental profiles in your CMDB may save time, it may also place unnecessary software on the devices of new starters. Periodic evaluation of those departmental profiles will help ensure that they stay fresh and relevant for when the Joiners portion of the JML process is run.
This is never more prevalent than when we are dealing with as-a-service software; the drip, drip, drip of money trickling out of the door can soon turn into a flood if the departmental profile is not kept in sync with business requirements.
Movers: Are software licenses being automatically re-harvested?
Let’s fast-forward 18 months, and our not-so-new employee is now required to move to another department. Once more, if the departmental profiles are kept up to date, then the change requests to keep their devices in sync with the new department will be kept to a minimum.
However, of greater significance are those as-a-service offerings that are no longer needed due to the move. There’s a fair chance that if someone is moving department and that as-a-service software is no longer needed post-move, then a failure to release the licence will result in the business buying a new licence for a new employee arriving in the original department.
Do you have an idea of what the internal staff churn is within your company? Engaging with HR to produce such data could highlight in which business direction you should be focusing your SAM team to facilitate this transition.
Leavers: How much are you overpaying for what you no longer need?
Finally then, our employee decides to move to pastures new, and so has to go through the leaving element of the JML process. New regulations such as GDPR and existing information security regulations should provide sufficient impetus to recover physical devices granted to end users; but once more, shutting down (or transferring) as-a-service licences should be a high priority for your SAM team.
Guidance from HR should be sought as to what the company policy is in regards to Gardening leave, as this could necessitate the shutting down of services prior to that employee’s last day of work. A final word on this: merely because you might have an over-arching network tool such as AD as-a-service, a solitary archiving of a user profile could readily prohibit access to Azure Services – please take the time to consider non-Azure services which might not be controlled by AD as-a-service.
Ideally, as change requests are processed over the employee’s time at the company, the personal profile in the CMDB will be updated, so that a ready record of as-a-service software can be displayed and then processed for termination or transfer. Or for those less sophisticated companies, a retrieval of software requests from the service desk tool by the departing employee should help identify as-a-service software that had been engaged with.
One point to note with a JML process, is that while many Software Asset Management processes are considered successful if they are executed in a timely fashion, your JML process could take years to complete for an employee – and this is no bad thing either; happy staff will result in a low turn-over, which in turn means that company growth is the determining factor in how frequently this process is run.
With a technical background in business and systems analysis, Rory has a wide range of first-hand experience advising numerous companies and organisations on the best practices and principles pertaining to software asset management. This experience has been gained in both military and civil organisations, including the Royal Navy, Compaq, HP, and the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST). Rory founded SAM Charter in 2012. Rory is a member of WG21, the Working Group tasked with developing the ISO 19770 family of SAM standards – and more recently was the winner of the ITAM Review “ITAM Professional of the Year”.