Software license management: 5 best practices

Posted on February 6 2024

Reading time: 4 minutes

Software license management has become a major issue for companies. Whether it’s for finance, human resources, sales, production, communication, or any other department, the software is used in every department. 

However, with the proliferation of license types, it is increasingly difficult to manage them efficiently. Here are 5 best practices to improve software license management.

Software license management

What is software license management? 

Software license management refers to the process of tracking and controlling the use of software licenses within your organization. It involves keeping an inventory of software licenses, monitoring their usage, and ensuring that they are used following the terms and conditions established by the software vendors.   

Software license management enables organizations to optimize their usage, reduce costs, and avoid legal and financial penalties associated with non-compliance. It involves managing licenses for different types of software, including proprietary, open-source, and cloud-based applications.

5 best practices for software license management

1. Conduct a software license inventory 

One of the first steps in effective software license management is to conduct a thorough inventory of all software licenses within your organization. 

This involves creating a comprehensive list of all software applications, including the version number, license type, and terms and conditions of use. The inventory should also include information on the number of licenses purchased, the number currently in use, and the number of licenses that are not being used. 

By having a clear understanding of the software licenses in use, you can identify areas where licenses can be consolidated or optimized, and ensure that you are not paying for licenses that are not being used. 

Software license inventory management can be done manually, but it is often more efficient to use specialized software asset management (SAM) tools that can automatically track and manage software licenses across multiple devices and platforms.

2. Verify Conformity of Software Licenses

Once an inventory of software licenses has been established, the next step in effective software license management is to verify that all licenses are being used in compliance with the terms and conditions set by the software vendors. 

This includes ensuring that the number of licenses in use does not exceed the number purchased and that the licenses are being used on the appropriate number of devices and for the intended purpose. 

You should also ensure that you are using the correct license type, as some software licenses may have different usage restrictions and limitations. To verify conformity, you can conduct regular audits of your software licenses, either manually or using specialized software asset management (SAM) tools. These audits can help to identify any discrepancies or areas of non-compliance and enable organizations to take corrective action before they incur any legal or financial penalties.

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3. Keeping Software License Contracts and Its Importance

Another important tip for efficiently managing software licenses is to keep contracts and all associated documentation. You should ensure that you have a copy of all license agreements, as well as all purchase records, terms and conditions, license codes, and activation keys. It is also recommended to store these documents in a centralized and secure location so that they are easily accessible when needed. 

Keeping these contracts properly can help you meet compliance requirements, prove your right to use the software in case of an audit, and reduce the risk of losing important licenses.

4. Remove old applications

Removing old applications that are no longer in use is an essential practice to effectively manage software licenses and avoid complex IT management. As software applications age, they become more complicated and expensive to support and maintain, which takes a toll on IT resources. 

Outdated applications may also not be compatible with new hardware and software configurations, leading to difficult migrations and compatibility issues later on. This can also increase the risk of software conflicts, which can impact system performance and user experience. 

Therefore, by regularly removing old applications, you can avoid these problems and optimize the use of your software licenses, reducing unnecessary licensing expenses and improving system performance.

5. Use a software asset and licenses management tool 

Using a software asset management (SAM) tool is one of the most recommended practices.  SAM tools allow you to gain visibility into your software inventory and monitor license usage, ensuring compliance with license agreements and avoiding costly penalties 

Asset management software allows you to track license usage, monitor expiration, and optimize utilization, enabling you to identify under or overused licenses and make informed decisions about your license purchases. 

Such software also allows you to manage contracts, providing a centralized view of license information and reducing the risk of non-compliance. That said, by automating the software asset management process, you can save time and resources and improve the accuracy of your license management practices.

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Hector Software Asset Management and License Tracking (SAM)

To optimize the use of your software, Hector offers a comprehensive solution that allows you to effectively manage your software licenses from purchase to expiration. Here are some of the benefits of using Hector to manage your software assets: 

  • License tracking
  • Usage reporting
  • Cost tracking
  • License assignment
  • Audit compliance
  • Automatic alerts

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