Scalable Software has announced the launch of its UK operations, and the appointment of a new senior management team spearheaded by Mark Cresswell, former CEO of Neon Systems.
So far the company is a one-trick pony with a product called Survey that not only tells a firm how many people are using a certain software package, but also how often they use it and in what way. It can also handle some hardware and printer asset management, but software licensing is where it holds the greatest potential to save a company money.
Its usage-metering technology is granular enough to help a company discover that a number of people using Adobe Acrobat, for example, are only using it to read Acrobat documents and could as a result swap costly licenses for the free Acrobat Reader product.
As well as being able to tell exactly how employees are using licensed applications, it can tell how many concurrent licenses are really required, rather than having to rely on rough approximations or even guesswork.
We’ve found that around 60% of organizations in the US are over-licensed and I would be amazed if that figure was very different in the UK, product and marketing director Nick Youell told Computer Business Review.
The company is so sure that its usage-metering technology will help companies save money on software licenses that it will offer a free trial on a subset of users, or even offer the software for free in return for a percentage of the money saved by customers.
The company claims that unlike certain rival software asset-management tools, its product distinguishes between software applications that are installed and open on machines but may be lying idle, and those which users are actually using. It does this by monitoring keyboard and mouse interaction, although it does not actually store or recognize any keystrokes, which would present a security risk.
The company said the result is that it can be used to help companies to negotiate fair licensing terms with their software vendors, recover budget by redeploying underutilized software, hardware, and printers rather than buying more, and reduce maintenance costs by retiring unused licenses or replacing full licenses with free read-only versions. It can also help monitor the take-up of new applications and their value contribution, and reduce the risk of software license compliance failure.
Founded in 1999, Scalable Software has the backing of private software investment company JMI Services, which is a John Moores venture. Moores was co-founder of BMC Software and is now a serial technology firm incubator and investor. He co-founded BMC in 1980 with an investment of only $1,000, and by the time he sold it was reported to have a net worth in the region of $400m.
Currently the software can only monitor applications running on Windows, but Youell said the company is considering a Mac version as that platform makes inroads, especially in the US portable market. On Windows any application is supported by Survey, as it does its monitoring of applications down at the Windows systems level rather than needing to hook into all of an ISV’s APIs.
Survey is already being peddled by one of the largest US software management and reseller firms, softmart, and Scalable is in talks to line up similar deals in the UK. It currently has about 60 staff in Europe including about 50 in an R&D center in Kiev.