How Re-Harvesting Cuts Your Software Costs

It’s quite common for people to focus on their work, without giving much thought to the implication of the tools or software installed on their computer. However, the financial impact of software costs is huge for most organizations. This is one reason why software license management is so critical.

As most of us know, IT departments are tasked with ensuring that businesses get all the software re-quired to succeed in their projects and delivery. But experience shows that most employees only use a limited number of software products on a regular basis. Software may not be used because it’s not relevant, or it’s just used for a specific time, or sometimes it’s never used at all.

If software isn’t being used, companies are spending money on software licenses that they don’t actually need – and those costs can add up quickly. This concept is simple enough, but the trick is having an automated and flexible process like re-harvesting in place to cut overall licensing costs.

Re-harvesting is the process of defining and identifying unused or underused software and removing those software installations or reassigning user-based licenses. In this article, I will explain how re-harvesting works and why it needs to be part of your Software Asset Management (SAM) program.

Re-harvesting reduces overall software costs

According to research from Gartner, Inc., many organizations can cut spending on software by as much as 30 percent by implementing three software license optimization best practices, including recycling software licenses (re-harvesting). Gartner explains that “Recycling software licenses is the recovery of unused license rights for reuse to avoid new license purchases. License recycling will reduce software spending as well as support and maintenance costs.”

Since unused or underused software products that are installed on company computers waste money, wouldn’t it be great if you could make it easy for your employees to uninstall that unused software from their computers to reduce the global licensing costs?

Take a moment to think about the following, all too familiar scenarios:

  1. You heard about this awesome new software that’s sure to revolutionize your daily work performance. It’s supposed to boost productivity for your whole team, so you immediately request it. After a few weeks of enthusiastic testing, you fall back into old habits. After a while, you simply forget about the software product that’s installed on your computer.
  2. You’re assigned to a great new project and need this special software for managing your part of the work. One year later the project successfully ends. Your team celebrates, and new tasks appear focusing on new activities. The important project software is no longer needed, but remains installed on your computer.

Now, because Software Asset Management departments actually know what is deployed and how much the required licenses for these products cost, software license management is well suited to bring transparency to an organization. It’s a quite easy step to also monitor the deployed software usage to identify exactly all of the wasted licenses.

How license re-harvesting works

As soon as the unused or underused (defined per department/product) installations are identified, an uninstallation can be requested from the software deployment teams. Of course, you want to ask the users upfront whether they need the products for anything. This process of identifying, reallocating, or removing installations to free up licenses is called “Re-harvesting”.

However, for many organizations this is a time consuming, manual process. This is why Gartner recommends metering via an automated SAM tool to re-harvest software licenses:

Recycling requires metering to spot unused, underused or misused software. For example, a user may have a piece of software installed but never actually use it — or perhaps the user only require a viewer. SAM tools, and some client management tools, can provide this functionality.

By automating the usage metering and the uninstallation of unused installations of a defined set of products, you can realize cost savings through software license optimization.

Combined with a quick and easy request management process that ensures people get the software back when urgently needed, acceptance by the business users is usually high. This means that the whole organization benefits from reducing software costs to the required minimum.

SAM tools like USU License Management can be used to automatically take care of:

  • Defining by department and product what underused means…
  • Collecting the metering information
  • Identifying underused software
  • Analyzing the usage situation of the underlying software products
  • Triggering the software uninstallation via the existing software deployment systems
  • Monitoring the success of the uninstallation request

Automated re-harvesting of unused licenses is a significant part of software license optimization - a key responsibility of SAM beside the legal compliance. Re-harvesting makes SAM and its value visible and measurable. Software Asset Management departments can use the resulting savings in licensing costs to promote the business case for SAM and its many benefits to the whole organization.

Start now to unleash the full potential of your Software Asset Management by introducing automated software re-harvesting processes.

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