Nov 01, 2018

How to Squash the SaaS Spend Surprise with Software Re-harvesting

Software re-harvesting can cut your software licensing costs, but did you know that it works in the cloud as well?

Software Re-harvesting in the cloud

Although you’re saving money on computing resources in the cloud, your software subscriptions still represent a considerable investment. Subscriptions for most major cloud apps are based on Named User licenses, meaning that you’re paying for every user who needs access.

In some cases, you might even be paying double or triple for single users. Salesforce, for instance, requires a Named User license per user per Org. If a single user needs access to three different Salesforce Orgs, that user will require three different Named User licenses.

This is the SaaS spend surprise. While the hope is that moving to the cloud will reduce your overhead and lower your software costs, the reality is that there are a few hidden budget busters in the cloud.

Software subscriptions and SaaS license costs can balloon quickly, and to protect your cloud investment, those costs need to be managed using cloud software asset management.

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Software re-harvesting in the cloud

One of the essential features of any software license management program is software re-harvesting. With your software license management tool, you’ll track the usage of your cloud apps and watch out for inactivity and low-activity hotspots. Unused licenses can be deactivated and returned to your license inventory. This helps keep new software subscription purchases low, cuts your costs, and gives you a greater return on your investment.

The nuts and bolts of software re-harvesting are pretty simple. Of course, it’s important that your automated Software Asset Management solution is driven by policy and business needs and not by parameters fixed by your SAM solution provider.

Business-driven software re-harvesting

Your SAM solution should have features that support business and policy driven software re-harvesting. Those features will allow you to set the parameters for software re-harvesting, and include fail-safes to ensure that the wrong users aren’t deactivated.

  1. Whitelisting Use whitelisting to make sure that important low-activity accounts are not deactivated. Some users may only need occasional but continued access based on their role or project. Additionally, sick leave, parental leave, and vacation time might inadvertently be marked by your SAM solution as inactivity. Whitelisting accounts gives you control over which accounts are finally deactivated.
  2. Customizable Thresholds Depending on the app or the project, you may want to set varying inactivity thresholds. Software apps such as Office 365 might be accessed daily, whereas others might be used just a few times a week or month. Being able to set your own thresholds allows you to decide how and when to deactivate users based on business needs.
  3. Email Notifications Users shouldn’t be surprised when their accounts are deactivated. Accounts that have been flagged due to low activity should receive automatic email notifications alerting them to their status, giving them an opportunity to login or to clarify their status.

Software Re-harvesting is an essential piece of doing cloud software asset management. An automated SAM tool that includes these features is key to making sure that your software re-harvesting process is driven by business needs and organizational policy.

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Topics: Cloud, License Optimization, License Purchasing and Contracts, SaaS