The business risk of poorly managed software assets is not well understood by the board members and general managers of UK companies, research has revealed.
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Only 48% of general managers at large organisations said a lack of software asset management (SAM) was a risk, a survey over 600 UK executives by IDC showed.
This contrasts with over 60% of IT managers in a whitepaper based on the IDC research commissioned by the Software Industry Research Board (SIRB).
The SIRB is an initiative of the Federation Against Software Theft and Investors in Software (FAST IiS).
The most likely reason for this discrepancy is that IT managers are more directly linked to software management and have a better understanding of the risks associated with poor management practices, the whitepaper said.
Alex Hilton, chairman of the SIRB, said the research demonstrates there is confusion over who owns SAM in corporations.
"SAM must be taken seriously at board level, given the severity of the legal, financial and security implications associated with poorly managed licences," he said.
The research showed that, while the IT department was responsible for SAM in nearly half the organisations surveyed, IT made the software buying decisions in only 13%.
This means 87% of organisations are "buying blind" which further increases risk to the business, said Matt Fisher, director of marketing at SIRB member FrontRange Solutions.
Some 75% of managers believe they have some form of SAM in place, but in reality only 38% actually know what is going on, said John Lovelock, chief executive of FAST IiS.
Organisations where there is no effective SAM are typically over-licensed on mission-critical applications, but under-licensed in other areas, he said.
"There is no control or communication because they do not maintain a software inventory or conduct software tracking," he said.
The SIRB's whitepaper is aimed at helping businesses to identify the legal, commercial, operational and reputational risk of poorly managed software.
Fred Broussard, senior analyst at IDC, said the whitepaper illustrates that effective SAM can address each of the four main risks and deliver cost savings to the business.