The task facing IT professionals today is complex and multifaceted. IT is charged with delivering the services the business needs at agreed-upon service levels across an increasingly complex and continually changing IT infrastructure. This infrastructure includes physical, virtual, cloud and mobile resources, some of which reside outside the enterprise. The enterprise relies on that infrastructure to drive the efficiency and innovation needed to ensure long-term business success.
To meet the challenge, IT organizations are deploying IT service management (ITSM) solutions. These solutions provide sophisticated tools that implement and automate a number of IT processes based on best practices. ITSM solutions help IT increase its efficiency and effectiveness in keeping the IT infrastructure healthy and performing at the required service levels. By increasing the productivity of the IT staff, ITSM solutions also help drive down costs.
But the pressure to contain costs is relentless. Software accounts for up to a third of total IT spend, and software licenses account for a substantial portion of that amount. Unlike hardware, software can’t easily be seen, so IT organizations often lack the information and processes needed to gain insight into and optimize their software license positions. This often results in license overbuying and waste. Consequently, software licenses present an opportunity for significant cost reduction.
The problem is that software licenses are complex and involve complicated terms and conditions such as vendor specific product use rights. To address the problem, many organizations are employing Software License Optimization solutions. These solutions provide innovative technology that gathers comprehensive data about hardware and software installations, application usage, software purchase agreements and license entitlements, and reconciles this data to generate an optimized license position. With these solutions, IT can manage software licenses with the same rigor as it manages the delivery of business services and further drive down costs.
ITSM and Software License Optimization solutions have evolved somewhat independently. However, the business processes they automate and manage are closely related and IT organizations are beginning to recognize the value of integrating them. Integration enables IT organizations to drive efficiency, increase productivity and put a lid on rising IT costs.
This paper provides an overview of the capabilities of ITSM and Software License Optimization solutions and describes how the enterprise can integrate them to eliminate waste, increase efficiency and reduce costs.
Challenges and Solutions
IT organizations in most enterprises today face numerous challenges related to both ITSM and Software License Optimization. With respect to ITSM, the staff is responsible for maintaining agreed-upon service levels across an increasingly complex IT infrastructure.
IT organizational structures compound the challenge. The traditional siloed structure inhibits collaboration among IT teams, hindering their ability to create cross-functional processes that drive efficiency gains. Merger and acquisition activities add to the problem because IT often doesn’t have the resources to integrate the technology assets of acquired companies.
ITSM solutions are enabling IT professionals to meet the tough challenges they face. With these solutions, the staff can integrate and automate processes that span multiple IT and business disciplines across the enterprise, increasing efficiency and productivity. Consequently, IT can deliver services at the quality levels mandated by service level agreements (SLAs).
Some ITSM solutions include basic software asset management (SAM) capabilities. As with traditional SAM tools, these ITSM solutions provide insight into what software assets are in the environment and may also keep a count of the number of software licenses purchased. This is needed to support some of the core ITSM business processes. However, such capabilities are insufficient to maintain software license compliance and optimize spend across the software estate as they do not provide the capabilities needed to gain an accurate picture of the enterprise software license position, let alone to optimize that position. As a result, many enterprises are overbuying or overusing licenses and are not even aware of it. Some enterprises are overbuying in one area, such as geography or vendor, and overusing in another area. In any case, the result is higher costs and increased risk.
Software License Optimization solutions address the need for greater visibility and financial control of software assets. These solutions contain in-depth information on software vendor contracts, product use rights and associated license models — information that is far more comprehensive than that maintained by ITSM-SAM solutions. Software License Optimization solutions leverage this information through automated processes. These solutions help IT utilize licenses to the maximum extent allowable by license agreement terms and conditions, and ensure that the enterprise has the optimal license quantities and types to meet the needs of its users at the lowest cost.
Integrating Software License Optimization with an ITSM solution and enabling the two solutions to share data enhances the capabilities of both. Integration delivers extensive Software License Optimization capabilities that support ITSM processes while enabling organizations to drive down software costs and eliminate waste in the form of unused or underused applications. Integration also provides the Software License Optimization solution with deeper visibility into the makeup of the IT environment, allowing greater accuracy in the optimization process.
ITSM, A Strong Foundation
IT service management is a process-based practice that aligns the delivery of IT services with the needs of the enterprise, emphasizing benefits to business users. ITSM involves a paradigm shift, from managing IT as stacks of technology components to focusing on the delivery of business services using proven best-practice processes, such as those outlined in the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL®) guidelines.
As Figure 1 illustrates, a comprehensive ITSM solution provides numerous functions that help IT design, deploy, operate, maintain, support and improve the delivery of business services. It simplifies, automates and integrates IT processes across the enterprise, leading to improved operational efficiency and lower IT costs. With an ITSM solution, IT establishes a single system of record that orchestrates and automates workflows across cloud, virtual, distributed and mainframe resources and throughout all areas of the business.