Automation is transforming enterprises’ Effective Licensing Position, says Licence Dashboard’s Ben Eagling
Organisations that are embracing automation are saving time, cutting costs, and enjoying improved productivity. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation are all working to eliminate repetitive tasks at work, and the technologies are developing to benefit business intelligence as well as IT specifically.
From manufacturing and utilities to transport and operations, artificial intelligence offers major disruptive potential. According to Forrester, by 2025, 16 percent of US jobs will be replaced by cognitive technologies such as robots, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation, and instead we’ll see new roles like “robot monitoring professionals, data scientists, automation specialists, and content curators”.
A reallocation of resource with more accurate data
Automation’s most obvious benefit to IT is its impact on the speed of operations. Tasks are executed more quickly, with better precision, and more securely. Some manual monitoring of performance is required to ensure all is well (an automated error can quickly get out of control!) but on the whole, automation liberates the IT department, allowing them to spend more time on other tasks that have wider impact on IT performance, and often the entire organisation.
If it’s a repetitive task that is performed frequently, automation will save IT time and resource. Transactional license management tasks, such as the gathering, consolidating, and normalising of software install and usage data, and the cross referencing of that data with license entitlement, is the perfect example of such tasks.
Larger organisations, with larger IT budgets, are more likely to invest in an internal software asset management solution where smaller organisations will be running with a smaller budget, and probably a smaller IT team. With 73 percent of SAM Managers spending most of their time on transactional license management tasks that could be handled through automation, no matter the size of the team, it’s easy to see how this technology will complement SAM, and why more and more organisations are investing in it.
Managing Office 365 Subscriptions
Through a Microsoft Office 365 subscription, it is permitted that Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2016 can be installed on up to five PCs/MACs, five tablets, and five smartphones.
The IT department must track which users have access to which devices (which becomes all the more complicated if multiple users have access), as well as track the instances of Microsoft Office that are covered by the Microsoft Office 365 subscription so that they know how many Microsoft Office device licenses are necessary to achieve compliance.
If a user has a Microsoft Office 365 subscription and has the equivalent version of Microsoft Office installed on their laptop, their tablet, and their work’s desktop computer, the admin portal understands the subscription, but conflicts with the network discovery tool, which is asking for three separate license for those three separate installations.
With Microsoft Developer Network, a developer may deploy multiple products to multiple devices under one subscription. The network discovery tool, however, understands these as full deployments, and therefore demands a license for each instance.
To manually reconcile each user to their multiple aliases, and then allocate the relevant license across that user’s devices is a mammoth task. User based licensing has the potential to be a cost-effective choice for organisations, but without a tool to automate it, they risk over burdening their IT departments.
Automated SAM in the Retail-scape
Online retailers rely on data centres offering an online catalogue service to accurately trace stock levels and service customers. Certain times of the day will be busier, and certain times of the year will be busier, especially when it comes to products susceptible to seasonality. To cope with an increase in activity, and ensure business as usual, increased capacity, and therefore more resource must be allocated. Software licenses for data centre products are complex, and are not flexible in unplanned changes. An increase in required capacity, if not expected, will result in unplanned additional costs, blowing the budget, and making financial forecasting impossible.
Historical data will help identify when those busy periods are due, and therefore when capacity must be stepped up. Additional software licensing can be purchased through automation, so that retailers are fully informed and fully prepared for further expenditure.
SAM is Transforming through Automation
Automated SAM relieves the IT department from transactional SAM tasks, and reduces the burden associated with accurately managing software assets. Cloud migration and user based licensing has paved the way for simplifying software licensing for organisations, however the reality is that keeping track of who is accessing what can quickly snowball without the right tools in place to gather and manage user data. Where hundreds of man hours could have been previously allocated to establishing an organisation’s Effective Licensing Position (ELP), automation means that it now takes one professional to oversee the process.