Far too often in large organizations, too many people have access to installation media and the freedom to deploy software in many organizations. One of the key tenets of cloud computing is an agile, self-serve autonomous world, which frees up IT personnel from day-to-day Admin to work on innovative projects. But there are consequences that many fail to recognize until it's far too late to do anything other than strip projects of budget to foot the bill of a compliance gap. You're giving too many people the keys to the kingdom, and that unfettered access is costing you money.
The "Premium Dilemma" – Know what you need to justify the cost
People always want to have the best, especially when it concerns business productivity solutions such as new software. If the premium version of a product is available, the natural tendency is to install it - after all, we want the solution we're working on to be the best, even if that's overkill. The problem here is that most people are not aware of the licensing ramifications, and the accompanying cost, in making that decision. By way of example, Microsoft's SQL Server Enterprise is around five times more expensive than the Standard edition, but not every organization requires the enhanced capability of Enterprise over Standard. Instead, make a list of your most pressing needs, then consult an independent advisor to help you align your business objectives with your long-term IT strategy.
For an end-user product, down grading to a lower edition is typically not a major task. On the server side, however, it's not so simple – migrating a database is not a trivial task.
In a virtualized world, spinning up a new server is easy. Much easier than seeking opportunities to co-host multiple workloads, decommissioning unused servers, and finding licenses that can be reharvested and redeployed. The end result can be a server estate with a much broader deployment footprint than you utilize or need.
Help! I'm oversubscribed. What should I do?
First, don't panic. "Migrate everything to a lower edition and hope no one finds out" is a coping mechanism, not a strategy. You still have compliance obligations; it's your future costs you need to manage. Don't preclude negotiation with publishers to achieve a positive outcome.
Looking forward, the most obvious answer is to limit the users/security groups that have the ability to deploy software – one of Software Asset Management’s (SAM) fundamental best practices. In a mature environment, you can still adhere to the agile self-service principles of cloud computing whilst still limiting who can deploy the solution. Just make sure your SAM tool is collecting and maintaining the right data.
Turn your enhanced functionality “problem” into a creative opportunity
You've already bought and deployed the oversubscribed solution, now it’s time to get creative and make use of the situation since, from a compliance perspective, you're going to have to pay for it anyway. Instead of writing off the expense, which is negative and reactive, take a proactive approach and turn this into an opportunity to explore the extra functionality you now have access to. IT departments are consistently asked to build innovative programs to help drive business leadership and efficiency. Your oversubscribed technology may well give you the headstart you need.
Understand that software licensing is complex. If you’re even remotely on the fence about an enterprise-wide software deployment, then it is in your best interest to engage a third party partner who knows the functionality of the software as well as the associated licensing intricacies. SoftwareONE’s Technology, Compliance, and Procurement experts can help you plan your IT roadmap, make sure you remain compliant, and ensure your licensing agreement suits your unique business needs.