Software specifiers seek cost savings Open Source alternatives

Some 58 per cent of respondents to a survey of over 250 senior IT personnel from both public and private sectors have switched their primary focus away from adoption of the latest software asset management (SAM) standards to seeking software cost savings. Key areas of cost scrutiny were usage, software licences, and reviewing Open Source alternatives.

This contrasted markedly with those who stated that their primary focus was performance improvement (18 per cent), or achieving a return on investment (24 per cent). Despite the altered focus, however, the vast majority of those questioned (64 per cent) felt that the main importance of existing SAM investments was to ensure regulatory compliance.

Thirty-one per cent of respondents felt that formal SAM programs like ISO 19770, SAM Advantage, and FAST, are ‘too onerous’, and ‘fail to provide clear business benefits’. In addition, 28 per cent of the sample polled felt that they ‘did not currently posses the budgetary resources’ to implement the standards fully.

When questioned specifically about the latest ISO 19770 standard, 46 per cent of respondents, the majority response, felt that they are ‘less likely to invest in achieving this standard’ than they had been in 2008.

“Over the last 10 years a whole industry has grown up around supporting organisations to meet SAM standards along with other best practice goals,” observes Liken CEO James Rowlands; however, because of the dramatic economic turn around, IT management clearly equates formal SAM programs with compliance, in that it is primarily a method for meeting regulatory obligations.
“Cost savings are not seen to be a key deliverable of SAM standards, and consequently they are seen as onerous and resource intensive,” Rowlands adds. “This is likely to explain why our figures showed that organisations are less likely to implement formal SAM programs than they were a year ago.”

Many companies are starting to question whether they have over-licensed to ensure compliance, or whether they are under-utilising the software they already have licenses for, Rowlands says: “Many believe that by reviewing their licence and related maintenance requirements that they can reduce costs without significantly impacting service level agreements or performance; others seem to be taking a greater or renewed interest in Open Source alternatives”.

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