Ovum Research: SWOT Assessment - FlexNet Manager Suite for Enterprises 2014

Summary

Catalyst

In today's economic climate, there is significant pressure on CIOs to control costs and reduce risks while finding ways to fund new business initiatives. Software is a strategic asset that is typically under-managed in most organizations. It should therefore be a priority for CIOs to find ways to automate and optimize software asset management in order to uncover cost savings and minimize license liability risk.

Key messages

  • FlexNet Manager Suite covers many of the most complex license models and policies in use by vendors.
  • FlexNet Manager Suite includes automation, and integrates with an enterprise app store, App Portal, which enables it to cover the entire application lifecycle rather than addressing only license management and optimization.
  • FlexNet Manager Suite is an asset management solution for both hardware and software.
  • FlexNet Manager Suite uses a stock keeping unit (SKU) library to help automate the license reconciliation process and eliminate the risk of non-compliance.
  • FlexNet Manager Suite uses product use rights (PUR) – delivered out of the box for the major vendors – to optimize license entitlements and reduce license consumption.

Ovum view

Ovum has long advocated the need to manage software contracts and software license compliance/costs on a more professional basis – beyond the Excel spreadsheets used by most IT departments. FlexNet Manager Suite enables organizations to automate the current manual processes associated with reconciling their software portfolio, and enables organizations to optimize their investment. The FlexNet Manager Suite for Enterprises combines asset discovery and inventory, software recognition, reconciliation with contract terms, purchase order data, and product use rights to identify license-cost savings and report the actual license position of an organization. This allows organizations to maintain continuous license compliance, reducing the time and effort required to defend against software audits.

Utilization of software assets is another important capability, and FlexNet Manager Suite can also identify underutilized software (and the associated licenses) and reduce the IT costs associated with new license purchases and maintenance renewals. FlexNet Manager Suite also enables enterprises to maximize volume discounts by providing software categorization which enables rationalization of the software portfolio. In addition, FlexNet Manager Suite provides a license simulation capability that allows organizations to perform "what if" analysis and see the impact of changes to the IT environment. Ovum considers the ability to see the financial impact of changes to be another critical need for enterprises.

Recommendations for enterprises

Why consider FlexNet Manager Suite

FlexNet Manager Suite operates across a wide variety of different vendors' technology stacks; Flexera Software states this coverage to extend to more than 16,000 vendors. However, rather than the impressive number of different vendors covered, it is FlexNet Manager Suite’s ability to reconcile and optimize some of the most complex license policies for the most critical vendors that is its real value proposition. In addition to license optimization, FlexNet Manager Suite also provides a workflow capability to automate operations, and an enterprise app store to facilitate user self-service and proactive license compliance.

SWOT analysis

Strengths

Can optimize even the most complex vendor-licensing policies
FlexNet Manager Suite currently covers over 16,000 different vendors' software products, but it is its ability to optimize the most complex models for the most critical vendors that is a significant strength. For example, FlexNet Manager Suite can optimize licensing for IBM Processor Value Unit (PVU), IBM Resource Value Unit (RVU), Oracle Processor, and Microsoft SQL Server, to name just a few of the more complex products. FlexNet Manager Suite utilizes two general strategies for license optimization: a license-entitlement, PUR-based approach and a usage-based approach. The usage-based approach applies to SAP named-user licensing and also to concurrent licensing used by more than 20,000 engineering and technical applications. License optimization reduces license consumption by reducing the quantity of licenses consumed and/or the cost of licenses consumed. This, in turn, reduces ongoing software costs.

Can be used at any level of organizational maturity
Organizations are at different levels of maturity when it comes to managing licenses and assets in general. FlexNet Manager Suite can be used at any stage of maturity, from simple asset discovery all the way through to asset optimization. The simple UI and extensive automation built into the FlexNet Manager Suite solution will enable all organizations to rapidly move up the maturity model and obtain significant benefit from "smarter" use of all assets.

Provides a non-compliance avoidance capability
FlexNet Manager Suite uses a PUR library to cover different use-case scenarios of any software assets. This covers a range of use cases such as upgrade and downgrade rights, as well as some often overlooked cases such as non-production use rights, virtualization use rights, and cloud and mobility use rights. This PUR library enables organizations to ensure they are compliant is all use cases and avoids accidental non-compliance.