If you go into a negotiation with software vendor with no knowledge of what you are actually using, then you could end up buying software you don’t need. Yet 70% of IT professionals find themselves in this position when they negotiate their software agreements.

The data that software buyers should have available when negotiating software contracts is as follows:

1. How many licenses you have. This is the number of licenses that have been paid for or are currently being paid for. There are different types of license and you should record the details about duration, concurrency etc. You should also know the prices you are paying for these licenses.

2. How much of the software has been deployed. This should match the number of licenses that you have paid for. If you have more deployed than you are paying for, you might owe the software vendor money. If you have deployed less, you might be wasting money.

3. How much of the software is being used. You may have licensed and deployed the same amount of software but do you know if the software is being used. You could have 100 licenses and 100 instances installed but if you only ever use 20, you are wasting 80% of the cost and associated IT resources and this software is costing you up to 5 times what it should.

Software usage metering is a relatively new breed of technology which is providing business leaders with exact details of what is being used, by whom and for how long. This could provide you with the missing puzzle piece and ensure that you have everything you need when you have a negotiation with software vendor.

A clear view of the software you actually use, will not only arm you with the information required to re-negotiate contracts based on actual requirements, but will also provide valuable information for rationalisation of software and re-allocation of unused licenses.

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