Is Your Company Ready for a Software Audit?
Midmarket companies managing tight IT budgets should seriously consider investing in IT asset management, as one company learned the hard way.Hardware and software licensing audits can be a major hassle for small to medium-size businesses. Just ask Will McManus, IT director for Dynamic Systems, a mechanical installations company based in Austin, Texas. "We've been through two audits now, with two different manufacturers," he says. "And let me tell you, there were some real lessons learned."
Dynamic Systems employs about 2,000 people across 45 locations in the United States. Earlier in the decade, when Microsoft and AutoCAD issued software audits, McManus realized how unprepared their company was.
Since the two audits, McManus says DSI has implemented a written software policy that requires the signature of all employees. Most importantly, DSI began looking for a company that could offer IT asset management software for inventory and compliance purposes. They found their solution with Express Metrix, based in Seattle.
The company's Express Software Manager solution gave DSI the ability to see which computers carried which programs that required licenses, as well as letting them know which licenses weren't being used. "We can run a report and show how many systems take Microsoft Project, and if it's not being used we can take it and move it onto someone else's computer," he says. "If you can do that, you can easily justify the cost of that investment."
Although other companies, notably Tampa, Fla.-based Numara Software, Inc., offer IT asset management solutions for the midmarket space, McManus says his department had trouble finding a company that could offer flexibility and features at a reasonable cost. "There's tons of freeware stuff out there, but none of it comes close to the professionalism we need," he says. "If you look at Microsoft or Oracle, we frankly aren't going to pay that kind of money just to get the basic information that we need."
McManus says that's a real problem for midmarket companies. "There's a real need in the midmarket space for [IT asset management] solutions," he says. "I feel like it's a huge market that's missed." Like Goldilocks, many SMBs find solutions that are either too small or too big. "It's a challenging place to be," McManus says. "But not counting is no longer an option."