Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Resellers and Publishers in the world of Software License Management

I woke up this morning to a great Twitter from a good friend and great coach Jak Plihal ( It was the quote:

"It is hard to get a man to understand something, if his living depends on him not understanding it." by Upton Sinclair.

To me, this perfectly explains the relationship between resellers (VARs, LARs, and any other acronym that is responsible for selling you software), software publishers and the details of software licensing.

There are details in software licensing agreements and product use rights that can be turned to a benefit for a company in legally reducing their software licensing costs...but you're not going to find them all out by asking your reseller or publisher for help.

Why? Not because they are necessarily trying to mislead you or keep you in ignorance - instead it's because they honestly don't even think of those options...because their living (or magnitude of it) depends on them not thinking of those options.

Now, there are definitely some that are better than others (I love working with Softmart for example as their reps have demonstrated to me a strong ability to keep the customer's needs in focus) but as long as their income relies upon what you buy then Upton Sinclair's quote will continue to apply.

When it comes to negotiating the best deal for licensing - the bulk of the savings opportunities comes from making full use of the product use rights and volume licensing agreements terms - not from the discount you negotiate (or not from the discount you negotiate without knowing these items intimately). Get your advice and education from an independent expert...know in advance who profits from your purchase and what their motivation is so you can better analyze their advice.

Remember, "It is hard to get a man to understand something, if his living depends on him not understanding it." Upton Sinclair.

Thanks Jak!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Timebomb - IT Backoffice Applications

We seem to spend so much time focusing on desktop licensing and trying to get that right...but frequently it is our IT backoffice applications that get us into trouble.

Despite change control on our desktops and servers, it seems that we continue to find an abnormally high number of IT management tools that are underlicensed. This is also an area where we find a lot of functionality redundancy.

IT will police the end users, but typically no one is policing IT's software. Here are some common costly issues we see at new customers:

Symantec NetBackup - it may be part of standard operations to automatically cover new servers by the technology but where is the automatic purchasing of the necessary additional licenses? Also we frequently see resellers selling the Express program licenses, even when the customer is already a Rewards program customer - make sure you're getting the benefits of your overall Symantec spend on each purchase.

Development/Test/Disaster Recovery - typically all of these instances require licensing. Make sure your servers are licensed appropriately, don't assume you can build a Test server and not license it!

Imaging/Virus scan/Desktop management - yes these are all standards of doing business but frequently they don't get reviewed to ensure that sufficient licenses exist to cover usage.

Client Access Licenses - if you're running Microsoft Windows server, each user or device requires a CAL. If you then add Sharepoint on that server, you also then need a CAL for that. If you're running SQL server to support Sharepoint, you need a CAL or a processor license for SQL. The list goes on and on...if you're using the resources of the server chances are there is a corresponding license requirement. This typically falls to IT to manage.

In short, make sure you're looking at licensing requirements on your IT management apps as well as your end-user apps.

As always, if you need help - let us know!