Managing software licenses is not merely a matter of compliance; it's a strategic imperative for organizations seeking to optimize costs, mitigate risks, and streamline their IT Asset Management (ITAM) operations. To do this effectively, Software License Tracking tools are essential.
To stay on top of assets, we bring you the five best Software License Tracking solutions in the market.
Keep reading for a quick topic overview and a list of software alternatives!
How to track software licenses?
Tracking software licenses is a fundamental part of any Software License Management (SLM) strategy.
As a general procedure, organizations should add the software license data into their IT inventory, including details such as contract agreements, installed devices, license owners. With such a database in place (preferably built in an IT Asset Management platform), they can monitor licenses, audit usage, and report on their status.
When do you need a software license tracking tool?
Leveraging a tool that tracks and reports on all the software licenses in your environment is a fundamental pillar of a Software Asset Management practice. Nonetheless, there are a bunch of scenarios where it’s indispensable:
- Complex software environments - As companies grow, their software ecosystem becomes increasingly intricate. When dealing with numerous software applications, versions, and licenses, a tracking tool becomes essential to maintain an organized overview.
- Software audits - Many software vendors conduct audits to confirm compliance, and some companies run internal audits for the same purpose. A tool will support this process by providing you with accurate reports to present during an audit to ensure you’re meeting the compliance agreements.
- Change Management implementation - When introducing new software or retiring existing applications, tracking tools offer visibility into the impact on existing licenses. This helps in making informed decisions about retiring or reallocating licenses.
- IT budget planning - For effective budgeting, it's crucial to understand software licensing costs and use trends. An ITAM tool generates reports and insights that inform IT budget allocation and software usage.
7 benefits of tracking licenses
We’ve also hinted a few, but here are some of the key benefits of tracking licenses throughout your organization:
- Leveraging Software Lifecycle Management - From procurement to disposal, licenses go through different stages. Tracking them ensures that they are acquired, used, and retired efficiently.
- Optimizing asset utilization - License tracking provides insights into which software is actively used and where licenses can be reallocated, preventing over-purchasing and ensuring optimal resource utilization.
- Mitigating risks - Unmanaged software licenses can expose organizations to security risks due to outdated or vulnerable software versions. License tracking helps mitigate them by ensuring timely updates.
- Saving time - Manual management can be time-consuming. Implementing a tracking system automates many processes, freeing up IT resources for more strategic tasks.
- Enhancing compliance - Accurate license tracking ensures that your organization remains compliant with software vendor agreements and licensing terms. This helps avoid legal disputes and potential financial penalties.
- Saving costs - Identifying unused or underutilized software licenses that can be harvested and redistributed prevents overspending on unrequired licenses.
- Improving accountability - License tracking assigns ownership of licenses to specific users or departments, making it clear which cost center is responsible for the them, promoting accountability and responsible software usage.
7 essential features of software license tracking solutions
When selecting a tool, you should always look for characteristics that adapt to what your organization needs (designing an ITAM RFP can be very useful for this process). However, there are some essential features that any software license tracking solution must include:
- License inventory - This is the base of any SLM (or of any ITAM, we dare to say). A comprehensive inventory of all software licenses owned by your organization should include details such as license type, version, and the ability to relate it with other assets.
- Contract Management - Effective license tracking involves managing various licensing agreements with vendors. The solution should facilitate this process, storing contract terms, renewal dates, and compliance requirements.
- User Management - Managing users as configuration items in your IT environment will help you understand who owns and uses which license.
- Software metering - The ability to track software usage at a granular level provides insights into which applications are actively used, helping in identifying underutilized licenses.
- Automated compliance checks - The tracking solution should automate compliance checks by comparing software usage against licensing agreements. It should alert administrators when any non-compliance is detected.
- Alerts and notifications - Automated alerts and notifications for upcoming license renewals, compliance deadlines, and potential overages help asset managers be proactive in facing any issue regarding software licenses.
- Reporting and analytics - The ability to generate customizable reports and analytics is crucial for informed decision-making. The tool should offer insights into license usage, compliance status, and cost trends.
5 best software license tracking tools
Now, it’s time to get into action. After exploring key features and other factors, we have put together a list with the best five software license-tracking alternatives out there for you to leverage before making a decision.
InvGate Insight is a comprehensive software IT Asset Management solution with robust license tracking capabilities. By building a unified inventory on the instance incorporating your different types of assets, you can integrate and manage your software licenses as a part of your IT ecosystem.
To do so, it incorporates strategic capabilities that make it a top choice for organizations looking to maintain compliance and reduce costs:
- Real-time visibility into software usage.
- Automated compliance checks.
- Contract Management features.
- Custom automation.
- Streamlined monitoring and reporting features.
Device42 is a versatile IT Asset Management solution that includes software license tracking as one of its core features. It provides a centralized repository for software licenses, allowing you to monitor usage, track compliance, and generate detailed reports. Device42's integration capabilities make it a valuable tool for organizations with complex IT environments.
ManageEngine Desktop Central
ManageEngine offers Desktop Central, a comprehensive Endpoint Management tool with software license tracking capabilities. Among its main features, you have automated license discovery, usage monitoring, and Compliance Management.
Freshservice, by Freshworks, is an ITSM platform that includes Software Asset Management and license tracking capabilities. It allows you to maintain a complete inventory of software licenses, track usage, and ensure compliance. Freshservice's user-friendly interface makes it suitable for organizations of all sizes.
SolarWinds SAM (Software Asset Management)
SolarWinds SAM is a powerful tool for software license tracking. It offers automated discovery, Inventory Management, and compliance monitoring. SolarWinds SAM provides insights into software usage patterns and helps organizations make informed decisions about license optimization.
To sum up
Effective software license tracking isn't just a best practice, it’s an imperative to ensure effective IT Asset Management. Therefore, it's essential to choose a robust tool that also aligns with your organization's specific goals and requirements. By implementing the right software license tracking tool, you not only enhance compliance but also gain the agility and control needed, and optimize software expenditures.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best way to keep track of software licenses?
The best way to track software licenses is by using dedicated software license tracking tools, which automate the process, provide real-time insights, and help maintain compliance.
How do companies keep track of software licenses?
Companies typically use Software License Management processes, including specialized tools like IT Asset Management software. This software automates license tracking, audits compliance, and optimizes costs.