The benefits of getting a grip on the complexity of software licensing arrangements has been highlighted by insurer Standard Life, which earlier this month gave up its mutual status to list on the London Stock Exchange.
Ahead of its flotation, Standard Life spent months undergoing a due diligence process that required it to demonstrate governance and control of its IT assets like never before.
As part of its push for a better view of its IT environment, Standard Life deployed an integrated software and hardware asset management tool from Novell, which is now providing the insurer's shared services centre with an accurate real-time view of its software usage.
"We started using the Zenworks Asset Management tool from Novell to satisfy our own internal auditing needs ahead of the flotation, but it has also put us in a more competitive position when negotiating licensing terms with our suppliers," said Derek McGavigan, desktop architecture manager at Standard Life.
"We already had good relationships with our key suppliers, since we took care from the outset to choose them carefully and get the contracts right. But we are now better placed to make judgements about our licensing needs, since we have a more accurate picture of our software usage."
McGavigan said that, in general, getting software licensing right was more of a challenge in recent years, but Standard Life's greater understanding of its software and hardware assets had made all the difference.
"Our handling of the licensing contracts has become more specialised and professional. We now have a commercial team in the information services department, and they are well-placed to ensure that our key software agreements are sound and offering value-for-money," he said.
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