- The case for Software License Management (SLM)
- AssetSonar makes Software License Management a breeze
- Step 1: [How-to] Set up ITAM Discovery Agent
- Step 2: Creating Software Licenses
4.1. Create a new license
4.2 Create a new license while viewing software
4.3. License data fields
4.4. License types
4.5. Edit a software license
- Step 3: Manage Software Licenses
5.1. Manage payments
5.2. Manage versions
- Software License States
- Filtering Software Licenses
- Custom fields in Software Licenses
- Actions on Software Licenses
- Add Users to Software Licenses
- Software License History
- Alert for License Availability
- Purchase Orders for Software Licenses
13.1. Purchasing additional seats for an existing license
13.2. Purchasing a new license
13.3. Custom Reports for Software POs
- Software Spend Report
1. The case for Software License Management (SLM)
IT-intensive companies have a diverse range of hardware and software assets to work with. When it comes to managing software, what businesses dread the most is unforeseen software licensing audits by vendors.
A study done by Flexera in 2018 revealed that 65% of enterprises face software license audits. Of these, 20% of companies end up paying millions of US dollars as hefty fines for licensing violations.
Put simply, they’re oblivious to such violations until a third party discovers them. This typically bleeds from the failure of businesses to track software licenses, monitor asset usage, and prevent illegal software downloads.
For this reason, it is crucial to implement a dedicated software license management system that helps you stay compliant and saves you from a tarnished brand image.
2. AssetSonar makes Software License Management a breeze
AssetSonar takes stock of all your compliance challenges. It comes equipped with a Software Licences module. This module keeps an exhaustive account of Software License details associated with all of your IT devices.
With AssetSonar by your side, you can keep tabs on license expiry and warranty renewal dates. It also enables you to monitor the usage of relevant software systems in line with their subscribed licenses.
This way, you can upsize and downsize your software assets based on their utilization and activity. The Software License module also flags up any illegally acquired software so you can dispose of it before it comes under the radar of a regulation agency.
AssetSonar helps you stay compliant with vendor agreements and pay only for software systems that add value to your business.
But the question remains! How do you go about Software License Management in AssetSonar?
This article serves as a detailed guide for you to set up and reap the benefits of SLM using AssetSonar.
Before you get started with creating and managing Software Licenses, it is important to note that AssetSonar only initiates Licenses against Software that has been discovered by its ITAM Discovery Agent.
3. Step 1: [How-to] Set up ITAM Discovery Agent
Agent-based discovery helps trace down and monitor all IT devices that are used in your organization. All you need to do is download the ITAM discovery agent from AssetSonar and install it on each of your devices.
Once installed in a device, the Agent can pull up hardware and software details of the device whether it is on or off the company network. The system runs an auto-scan every 24 hours to update the device details as necessary. You can also choose to manually sync and update the data if needed.
To learn more about how to set up the ITAM Discovery Agent, click here.
Once you have installed the ITAM Discovery Agent and run the sync, the Agent will populate all the software details of your devices in the system. You can view these details in your AssetSonar account by following the pathway, Assets → Asset Name → Software Details.
Here’s a glimpse of what you should see in the Software Details tab of an Asset:
4. Step 2: Creating Software Licenses
AssetSonar enables you to create Licenses against each of the Software identified in your Software Details tab. Let’s start!
4.1. Create a new license
To generate a new license, go to Items → Software Licenses → Add Software License. Configure the core details for the license as shown below:
Once you have filled in the core details, the system scrolls below to reveal data fields pertaining to Installed Software Information and Version Details as shown:
Fill these up and click ‘Done’. This will generate the Software License.
You may have noticed that some of the data fields mentioned above are not too mainstream. Thus, we have dedicated the next section to familiarize you with these fields.
4.2 Create a new license while viewing software
To license a software while viewing it, click on the ‘License This Software’ button and the license details page will open up.
Fill up the details on the license details page and hit ‘Done’. The software will be licensed.
4.3. License Data Fields
Here’s what a few of these data fields entail.
- Software Category denotes the function for which a specific software shall be used e.g. Customer Support, Marketing Automation etcetera.
- Software Type refers to Installed or Cloud software. We support creating licenses against both software types.
- License Key is a unique number you get from the vendor, indicating that you have actually purchased the license for the software.
- License Type indicates various categories of software licenses. Each type has different usage conditions, and purchase and renewal terms. These are explained further in step 2.1.2.
- License Options is a data field that gets populated based on the License Type you have selected.
- Payment Frequency refers to how often you’re supposed to pay for license renewals. The system automatically generates a payment history based on this frequency.
- Start Date specifies when you purchased a Software License. It also initiates the Active status of the license.
- End Date suggests the time when a Software License will expire.
- Software Name represents the software against which a license is created.
- The Approver is the person who authorizes the purchase of a Software License. This, by default, is the person who has created a new license.
4.4. License Types
Here are the different license types that AssetSonar contends with:
- Client Access License is a commercial software license. This enables clients to use software across different users/devices that are connected to a single server.
- Concurrent License is based on the number of simultaneous users accessing the program via a network. The system prohibits more users from using the software once the specified concurrent user limit has reached.
- Enterprise License usually permits unlimited use of a product or system throughout an enterprise. It eliminates the need to register a software program every time it is installed on a new device or used by a new person in the enterprise.
- Free License is royalty-free, non-exclusive, and perpetual. It allows you to reuse another vendor’s software without any payment.
- Named User License is exclusive licensure of rights assigned to a single named software user.
- Node-Locked License is assigned to only one computer or dongle i.e. one node.
- OEM License is purchased on a per-system basis. It normally applies to software that has been pre-installed in an ITAM device when you purchase it.
- Trial License refers to a Software License that you can try out for a specified period before you actually purchase it.
- Volume License is where you authorize one software program to be used on multiple devices by multiple users. You can specify the volume of devices or users that are authorized to use the software.
4.5. Edit a software license
Once you have created a software license, you can also edit it by clicking on the ‘Edit’ button on the Software License Details page.
AssetSonar gives you the ability to edit the fields highlighted in the image above.
Note: You can only edit the Start Date and the End Date before they have been exceeded.
5. Step 3: Manage Software Licenses
Once you have created licenses for each of the software programs in your IT devices, AssetSonar populates them under the Software Licenses tab on the Items page as illustrated below:
You can now track renewal dates and recurring payments for each of your Software Licenses. AssetSonar also enables you to keep tabs on the software versions that you’re using and update them accordingly.
5.1. Manage Payments
To get a detailed display of the payment schedule for a Software License, go to the Software Licenses tab and click on the relevant Software LIN or Name. This leads you to the Software License Details page.
Scroll down to the Payments section and you’ll find when each of the payments for a license is due. You can even choose to ‘Void’ a Payment as shown below:
Clicking on the ‘Void Payment’ button opens up the following overlay so you can specify a reason for the said action and Void a certain payment.
AssetSonar also gives you the option to manually add a payment for a Software License. Let’s say, you had to get some troubleshooting done for the software Realtek HD Audio Driver from the publisher and it cost you $10. You must record this amount in the payment schedule of the respective license.
To do this, go to the concerned Software License Details page and click on ‘Add Payment’.
Add the details as shown and click on ‘Add Payment’.
This shall add the payment to the payment schedule.
Note that automated license payments are different from manually added payments such that they have a ‘recurring’ icon next to them.
5.2. Manage Versions
When you create a Software License, you can choose to apply it to a set of versions of a specific software application.
Create a Software License as mentioned in 2.1. As you scroll below while creating a Software License, you can see a Version Management section.
The drop-down button in Version Management enables you to either apply the license to all versions, a single version, or versions starting with a certain digit. For instance, you can create a license against all versions of software that start with the digit 20.
You can even verify the total number of versions you have installed in your system by clicking on ‘Show Matched Versions’. This pops open an overlay that lists all the possible installed versions based on the conditions you have specified.
Let’s say, you want to know how many software versions you have that start with the digit 10. It adds up all the possible versions beginning with the specified digits and enlists them as shown in the display below.
In case you have purchased a new version and want the license to apply to that, you can ‘Add Version’.
6. Software License States
Each Software License has 4 states. These are as follows:
- Drafted: A license before its Start Date begins is in a Drafted state.
- Active: A license is in the Active state if it falls anywhere between its Start and End Date.
- Expired: A license enters the Expired state after the End Date.
- Terminated: A license when ended manually and voluntarily by an Approver enters the Terminated state.
7. Filtering Software Licenses
The Software License Listings page catalogs the entire inventory of your licenses once you’ve added them to your AssetSonar account. You can filter through this catalog to only view relevant information.
AssetSonar gives you the ability to apply filters by the following fields:
- State (Active, Expired, Terminated)
- Usage (Underused, Overused)
- Expiring in ______
- Payment Due in ________
- Updated Time
- Entitlements Criteria
- License Owner
- Software Publisher
- Software Name
- Software Type
Let’s say you want to see how many licenses are the responsibility of a certain employee, Alexis Rose, in this case, you can apply the filter by that License Owner.
Go to the Filter dropdown → License Owner.
Select ‘Alexis Rose’ as the User in the dialog box to update the list view per your requirement. You can see that the results have now been filtered by Alexis Rose as the License Owner.
Alternatively, you can view the license ownership of each employee from the Member Details page by going to the License Ownership tab as shown.
8. Custom fields in Software Licenses
Suppose as an IT Admin, you wish to add and track details regarding Software Licenses that are not added in AssetSonar by default, for instance, the Purchase Order number (PO #) of a Software License.
You can track such data values by creating custom fields in the Software License module. To do so, go to More → Custom Fields → Software → Add Custom Field.
This pops open an overlay. Here, you can configure details for the relevant custom field. Click ‘Add’ when you’re done.
You can also select preferences for a custom field from the following:
- Mandatory on Create/Edit (cannot be selected if linked to the module is checked)
- Save History
- Editable by a staff user
- Restrict visibility to Administrators
Apart from the Number Field, you can also create custom fields for these types:
- Date field (alert)
- Multiple choice
- Paragraph text
- Single line text
9. Actions on Software Licenses
AssetSonar lets you take multiple actions on a Software License once you’ve created it. However, you can take these actions only when a license is in its Active state.
You can reconcile a license to update all relevant data fields pertaining to it. Let’s say, you have downloaded a new version of a specific software application or have multiple devices using the software, you can click the ‘Reconcile’ button to refresh the Software License details regarding version management and usage.
Go to the Software License Details page and hit ‘Reconcile’. This will update all information including the concurrent users using a software system at a time. The action will also check out the concerned software on the devices it is being used on.
Here’s what it shall look like:
A User can terminate a Software License when it is in the Active state. This generally happens in three instances:
- When a User is dissatisfied with the performance or features of an Installed Software and does not want to use it any longer;
- When a User has upgraded a Software License from a lower to that of higher value;
- Or when a User has entered incorrect details pertaining to a Software License and wants to delete the license as a whole.
To end a license in the system, go to the Software License Details page and click ‘ Terminate’.
The following overlay will appear. Specify the reason and click ‘Confirm’.
This action will terminate the Software License.
Note: You can reactivate a terminated Software License as long as its End Date has not passed. To do so, click on the ‘Reactivate’ button as illustrated.
You can even choose to ‘Delete’ the Software License to permanently remove it from the system logs.
Note: Deletion is an irreversible action. Once a Software License has been deleted, you cannot recover its details back into the system.
This action removes the relevant Software License and its information from the Software Licenses tab. We do not recommend license deletion until it is absolutely necessary for you.
10. Add Users to software licenses
AssetSonar gives you the ability to add or remove users to software licenses and monitor software utilization with its Software License Entitlements and Reconciliation feature. To do so, go to the relevant Software License Details page → Assigned Users. Now, click on ‘Add or Remove Users’.
Select from the Available Users and click ‘Update Users’.
Things to note:
- All the employees that have IT Assets checked out to them will show up in the Available Users list.
- If a user is added or entitled to an existing license of a software application, they will not appear in the Available Users list of a new license of the same software.
Once updated, the added users will show up in your Entitlements tab.
With Software License Entitlements, you can entitle, authorize, or give user rights of the licensed software to specific users or machines. This means that as an IT Admin, you can allocate a software license for use only on authorized devices and by authorized employees. To learn more about license entitlements, click here.
Note: You can add users up to the Total Seats limit that you’ve specified while creating the Software License.
11. Software License History
A major benefit of AssetSonar is its ease of use and flexibility. Unlike most ITAM software, AssetSonar gives authorized users in your account the ability to edit Software License details.
It also keeps track of the changes made by your employees for oversight purposes. To view these changes, click on the ‘History’ button on the Software License Details page.
This pops open an overlay illustrating any updates made to a Software License by a specific user.
12. Alert for License Availability
Let’s say, your company is actively hiring new graphic designers and needs to purchase licenses for Adobe Photoshop to accommodate its new hires. Oftentimes, the purchase of new licenses may get delayed because you did not know you were running short of a certain license.
You can overcome this by specifying a License Availability Threshold and setting up a License Availability Alert. The License Availability Threshold refers to the minimum amount of licenses available, which if reached, should trigger the purchase of new licenses.
You can specify this threshold while creating a new license as shown:
The field ‘Total Seats’ refers to the number of individual users who have access to a certain software application, for instance, Adobe Photoshop.
Note: License Availability Threshold can only be set for License types for which you can specify the number of Total Seats. These include:
- Client Access License
Next, set up an alert for License Availability. Go to More → Alerts → My Alerts → Software Licenses. Select ‘License Availability Threshold’ and click on ‘Save Settings’.
The system will now send a reminder, prompting you to purchase new licenses whenever a certain license count hits the License Availability Threshold.
You can view the number of different licenses that meet this threshold by going to the ‘Notifications’ bar in the top panel.
Once clicked, this tab directs you to the ‘License Availability’ page. Here you can view all such licenses that you need to purchase.
13. Purchase Orders for Software Licenses
Our Purchase Orders (PO) module streamlines the process of procuring Software Licenses.
As an IT Admin, you can draft Purchase Orders for acquiring additional seats of an existing Software License or new seats of software that does not currently exist in your license catalog.
The PO module enables you to track procurement details of licenses and automatically updates your license inventory when you receive licenses associated with a Purchase Order. It also maintains a log of your purchases for audit purposes.
13.1. Purchasing additional seats for an existing license
To create a Purchase Order for a Software License, go to More → Purchase Orders → Add Purchase Order, select ‘Software’ as the PO Type, type in Vendor details, and hit ‘Create’ as shown:
Now, search and add the existing Software License that you want to acquire additional seats for from the details page of the Purchase Order. We use the license for Microsoft Windows as an example below.
You can now edit details such as the number of additional seats you want to purchase for the license and its cost and confirm the PO.
Note: You can only edit/remove Software Licenses from a PO as long as it is in the Drafted state.
When you receive a Purchase Order, additional seats associated with the PO will be automatically added to the Software License. To do so, click on the ‘Receive License/Seats’ button from the PO Details page.
This pops open a dialog box where you can specify the actual number of license seats received, the amount paid, and the payment method.
Once the PO is marked Complete, the Software License gets updated for the added quantity. You can view the updated data from the Associated Software Licenses tab.
AssetSonar updates the following data fields:
- Purchase Order #
- Total cost per payment
- Total and available seats
- Cost per seat
Note: The payment you make for additional seats of an existing license gets added to the payment table during the upcoming payment cycle.
You can view all the actions taken on the Purchase Order from the Events tab of the PO or the Software License.
13.2. Purchasing a new license
To create a PO for a new Software License, click on the ‘Add Software Licenses not in product catalog’ button as shown.
Enter details of the new license in the dialog box and hit ‘Create’.
Edit the number of seats you want to procure and their respective price. Then, confirm the PO and receive license seats as mentioned in Section 12.1.
The new license gets created as soon as you confirm the Purchase Order.
The initial payment made to purchase the new license gets added to the payment table as illustrated.
13.3. Custom Reports for Software POs
You can also create Custom Reports for Software POs to track your overall software expenses. For this purpose, follow these steps:
Step 1: Select Purchase Orders as the primary module.
Step 2: Add columns for PO Type, Paid Amount, and other relevant data fields that you want to track.
Step 3: Apply a filter of ‘Software’ to the PO Type data field.
Now, run the report and you’ll get a detailed overview of your total software expenditures.
14. Software Spend Report
Let’s say that you are an IT Admin and want to be able to identify financial software information for each user. AssetSonar allows you to generate reports with financial software information so you can optimize and regulate individual budgets and project future expense requirements.
To generate a report, go to the Reports → Member Reports and click on ‘Software Spend per Member’.
Here you can create reports to get insights into the software cost for each user. You can apply filters as follows:
Once you have applied the relevant filters, you will be able to generate a report.
Average Cost per Entitled Software = Total Cost of Entitled Software per Member/No. of Entitlements
If your average software cost per member exceeds the amount you’ve budgeted for a member, you must take corrective measures to reduce that cost.
AssetSonar takes Software License Management up a notch. It helps you glean data regarding license allocation and usage. With it, you can track license purchases and warranty renewals, and get software upgrades in a timely manner.
To add to this, AssetSonar flags up instances of illegally installed software. It is your surefire weapon to help maintain license compliance across your organization and save you from the wrath of regulatory agencies.
AssetSonar is the leading software license management tool that offers comprehensive software license tracking. It enables companies to ensure license compliance, optimize software spend, and become audit-ready. Sign up for your 15-day trial today!