Each year, hundreds of billions are spent on enterprise software, IT and cloud services. Mounting economic uncertainty creates pressure to ensure your money is well-spent. In this piece, we hope to show how software usage metering, the practice of accurately measuring how, when, and by whom software is used, is critical to effectively manage spend and can help you save costs, mitigate risks, and stay audit-ready.
How do you currently track software usage?
By scanning account payables, credit card records and public cloud vendor portal, it can be relatively straightforward to determine how much is spent on software and cloud services. However, it is much more difficult to determine how much is actually used. That is where usage metering comes into play. By utilizing technologies such as agents, browser extension, and vendor portal data, a comprehensive view of usage can be created. A metering tool can monitor how long an application was in use, as well as get the details on which features were utilized.
Benefits of software metering
Once a foundation of software and cloud service usage is created, this information can be compared to purchase and entitlement data to identify areas of overspend and ensure your organization runs with just the right amount of technology. This information is especially valuable during license renewals, since organizations are able to rely on actual usage information as opposed to just re-upping for the same volume as the last contract.
You’ll be able to optimize the license types for each of the applications you keep. Most SaaS companies offer multiple, and sometimes complicated, tiers of software licenses. Only with detailed usage metering data can you know which package would best suit the users and teams in your organization.
For example, Adobe’s Creative Suite offers an “All Apps” package that includes 20+ apps, including Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro, Acrobat Pro, and more. But if you discover through metering data, your organization is focusing heavily on photography and photo editing versus illustration and video editing, Adobe’s Photography package of just Photoshop and Lightroom may be more suitable to save resources.
Software usage metering allows organizations to optimize spending by eliminating redundant or unused licenses and applications. With specific usage details, you can rationalize your SaaS applications. For example, if you are spending on both a Microsoft® 365 license and a Zoom license for team conferencing, but you can see from the data that an entire department hasn’t been utilizing their Zoom licenses very frequently, they could leverage Microsoft Teams with Microsoft 365 for video conferencing and eliminate the Zoom licenses for redundancy.
Metering data can also be leveraged to enhance security. Another value to usage tracking is that it accounts for unsanctioned applications, free, and custom applications that typically don’t show up in financial systems or credit card statements. Usage data for these applications is critical to identifying security and compliance risks. Many organizations have hundreds or even thousands of SaaS apps that are unknown to their IT teams. Within each app, there are many settings to control sensitive user data, admin privileges, encryption, and more. There are any number of security risks at stake, but all it takes is one misconfiguration to trigger a costly attack. With usage data, you can get detailed visibility across your hybrid IT landscape to stay in compliance, alleviate some of the stress associated with shadow IT, and leverage the data in the event of an audit.
How can I get software metering tools for my organization?
Gathering usage data is vital across all environments and deployment models, including installed end-user computing software, data centers, SaaS applications and public cloud. Snow Software utilizes both agent-based and agentless technologies to pull together rich data including software versions, user information and runtime details.
Comprehensive metering is at the heart of Snow Adoption Tracker and Snow Spend Optimizer. They allow IT leaders to leverage usage data to identify cost savings opportunities and reduce risk.
Snow Software offers usage metering capabilities in both its on-premises version and in Snow Atlas, a cloud-native SaaS platform.
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