Software Reharvesting Cuts Costs: Here's How.

Emiliano Pardo Saguier November 3, 2021
- 6 min read

IT departments often have their hands full. And one of their main tasks is making sure that every device has proper access to the software necessary for workers to do their job effectively and efficiently. But, quite often this results in redundant or software licenses lying unused — an inefficient result in and of itself. Therefore, it would be advantageous to start paying attention to solid software license reharvesting practices

In addition, every dormant program means you incur hidden software license costs that can end up making a substantial dent in your company budget. Thus, license management (as a part of the larger framework of software asset management) is not an option, but a necessity. That’s where software reharvesting comes into the picture.

Let’s take a look.

What is Software Reharvesting? 

License harvesting is a software asset management practice consisting of identifying machines with licenses that are not currently in use, because the software was uninstalled or the user is no longer active. This allows the organization to recover these licenses and assign them to a different user, thus reducing software spend on new licenses as well as annual maintenance costs.

When it comes to anything related to licensing, especially, it entails passing on a software license from a user who is underusing it, to another who will make use of it more efficiently. As a result, overall software costs go down. 

But, the process of doing this manually can be draining and time-consuming. If you’ve already got an overworked IT staff, it’s very likely that they won’t be happy campers with the extra workload. Thereby, it would be recommended to pursue a good strategy that takes into account automated software asset management tools. After all, it’s only fair to use the best that technology can do for you. Moreover, it’ll help keep productivity up, and your IT team focused on the really important tasks.

Plus, there’s even more to gain from software license recycling. In some cases, software reharvesting practices can help cut software costs by 30%, according to Gartner. Remember that every license that you reuse is one that you don’t re-purchase. Efficiency becomes the name of the game. 

And, this also helps move things along in the case of two very common scenarios: 

  • Unused software that’s adopted early and supposed to be a boon for projects, but then abandoned. 
  • Software that’s used enthusiastically for a certain project but then remains installed and dormant far after the end date. 

How Does Software Reharvesting Work? 

The first thing to do is identify the unused software. This is done on a department/division basis, and a good license management tool can help give you a bird’s eye view of the situation. Still, it’s always a good idea to ask your users about whether they’ll be using the programs or not; unused or underused is not synonymous with “will never use.” 

Then, it’s on to the actual process of software reharvesting: classifying, reassigning, and removing installations in order to free up software licenses. 

While this can be done manually, the ideal choice would be to use an IT Asset Management tool, like InvGate Insight, that can do it for you. An automated software asset management tool will provide a level of detail and insight that is practically impossible otherwise. 

What’s more, trying to do this type of auditing manually is extremely time-intensive, and therefore costly in human hours. It’s wise to remember that cost savings are the natural result of automated tools and the main reason why you should invest in them; less redundant work in the hands of humans is more time spent elsewhere. 


The Software License Reharvesting Process

The process of software reharvesting is meant to ensure that any unused software licenses remains within your IT estate. Of course, there can be certain “white flagged” exceptions, but take this as a general rule. 

As a result, you should think about performing this type of audit every 90 days or so. Then, you’ll be able to see what software needs reassigning or what software is entirely redundant. By the end of the process, your team will perform a QA check to ensure that everything’s just the way it should be. 

What are the normal targets of a software reharvesting effort? Let’s take a look.

  • Specific applications like Microsoft Visio, MapPoint, Project, or Adobe products tend to make up the usual suspects. After all, they tend to be installed in practically every system, but hardly ever used. 
  • Identifying cheaper ways to do the same with other competing products. You don’t have to buy an expensive software license for Adobe Acrobat when other low-cost .pdf viewers exist on the markets for much, much less. Same with alternatives to Microsoft Visio or MapPoint, which you can find online for free. 
  • Making sure that there’s proper approval software license buy-in coming from upper management. 
  • Communicating with users with personalized messages to let them know that they have unused software sitting on their computer and give them the option of uninstalling it or reassigning the license to a different user. 

How Can Software Reharvesting Cut Costs? 

We’ve established that software reharvesting can help you cut costs significantly. Now, we’ll show you how. 

Software license reharvesting custs costs

Just stop for a moment and think about all of the time and effort that this automatic recycling saves up. In the end, it’s not just about the money spent on licenses, but also about the significant time (in hours) your IT team would waste performing these processes manually. 

On the software license side of things, reharvesting is a crucial part of license optimization and competent license management, as with any other asset in your IT arsenal. Software asset management tools, or SAM tools, can help you achieve results while maximizing value, and increase the benefits for your whole organization. This is also part of the cost-cutting benefits of SaaS.

How to do Software License Reharvesting with InvGate Insight

The right tool can mean the difference between your team spending hours manually and inefficiently trudging through the contents of your network for underused software, or a SaaS audit process that’s quick, painless, and gets the job done every time. 

Every software license counts, and every one that is not accounted for or properly managed can be chalked up as a loss for your organization. A proper software asset management tool is exactly what you need in this situation. 

Software Asset Management

Within InvGate Insight, the Contracts tab will allow you to register the acquisition of licenses for particular software or suites (software packages). These contracts facilitate the monitoring and distribution of software in the most efficient way possible within an organization.

After entering key information (such as software type, contract name, amount of purchased licenses, and additional metadata) you'll be able to establish rules for automatic license reharvesting within the tool; conditions under which the system will re-assign these licenses to different end users. For instance, you can set an auto-recycle condition for when the software is no longer detected within the device, or for when the device is no longer active.

The automatic reassignment feature can be set based on your own preferences under the "Auto Assign" section.

Software License Management Screen

InvGate Insight will keep a record of every time a piece of software is unassigned and reassigned within your network, providing you valuable control over your software licenses.

In the end, what you’re looking for is a tool for both cost reduction, and making your IT team’s life easier. With InvGate Insights, you’ve got everything you need in one smart package that increases efficiency and ends up saving time, money, and effort throughout your organization. 

In Summary...

Software license reharvesting is a great way to maintain efficiency and create savings across your organization. Having a software license assigned to the wrong user is not an issue that typically crosses most people’s minds, but it can actually produce significant savings of time, money, and effort. 

With the right tool in hand, you can reap benefits that go up to saving up 30% of your software budget. Additionally, your IT team will be spending time on tasks that befit their expertise and ability. 

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