Software license costs and credentials are becoming a larger and larger administrative concern for many companies across a wide swath of industries. As more and more business infrastructure is moved to subscription models under software as a service contract, this issue can be expected to become even more important to businesses in almost every industry.
For some, like the creative industries, it can be especially complex, which is why you need to understand how to organize and track all your software license information company-wide.
Billing Cycles and License Counts
Two of the most important data points to track are your license counts and billing cycles. Often, software that’s used for professional work in design and other fields will put limits on the number of simultaneous users an organization can authorize as users. If you hire more people into the positions requiring that software, you need to expand your license purchase.
Complicating that is the fact that many licenses are also renewed on a regular basis, so tracking that outgoing expense is essential to cash management. There are a couple of options for keeping track of this information.
Tracking software licenses can be done like any other regular expense, by creating a spreadsheet detailing each purchase, its term length, and its next renewal date if that is applicable. This gives you a sortable, at-a-glance list that you can also use to calculate total annual expenses and track payments.
As your number of software license purchases grows, though, it can become unwieldy to track all of this manually and update it as policies change.
There’s also the issue of differing business models, with some licenses being permanent for a version of the software, others having unlimited users, and still others requiring individual subscriptions for each user.
Automating License Management
Another option, one that is likely to become the norm at some point as companies reach a tipping point in the number of software licenses they have to manage and the time they are willing to spend on it, is to invest in automating all your software license management.
This is done through the use of a specialized tracking program that allows you to build a database as you buy licenses, entering their information with each addition. The program then provides you with automated insights that make managing your needs easier.
For software with a maximum number of simultaneous logins or with limited installation licenses, this makes tracking down unused credentials and repurposing them much easier. It also simplifies the process of assessing when it’s time to go up a service tier to get more bandwidth, more storage space, or just support for a larger volume of production in general.
Costs of Automating License Management
The more software licenses you need to track and manage, the more time it takes to do it manually. That means for every growing business, there will eventually become a point where it just makes sense to find a software service that lets you manage your software as a service contract.
The question is when will your company reach that point? It’s a hard question to answer, but an easier one is whether you will save money with a management service right now. If you’re currently devoting a significant number of employee project hours to this task every quarter, maybe it’s time to add up the cost of all that extra personnel and put it next to the cost of an app designed to do most of the management work for you.
Only a close cost/benefit analysis can tell you if this is the right move for your business. Even if now is not the time, though, it’s probably a good idea to make keep an eye on the cost of this service so you’ll know when it is time to buy in.