How the Digital World is Changing Software Management
As more businesses are adopting cloud technologies, many had expected that some problems could be solved: under-licensing would no longer be an issue since licenses would be user-based, and on-demand subscription models would decrease the amount of unused software. Many IT leaders have also seen potential in lowering costs by outsourcing their infrastructure and its maintenance, or simplifying the process of connecting new corporate sites to the IT infrastructure.
If your business was “born in the cloud,” this might be true. But for established companies that might have legacy infrastructure, tools and processes, the cloud also brings more complexity to software management. Let’s take a look at why that’s the case and how you, as a software manager, can handle it.
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How it Started: The Historically Grown Software Portfolio
A software landscape can often resemble a deep jungle with decades-old self-developments and unused software. Additionally, there’s software that’s been used by different departments, which may have very similar functionalities but come from different vendors.
Redundant software is not always the result of poor procurement practices. The increase in overlapping software functionalities often takes place over time. For example, if software licenses are procured with a maintenance contract, the original software will always be replaced by the newest versions, which gradually have more functionality. So over the years, the amount of overlapping software functionalities increases.
The problem with this is that any software installation, whether with similar or duplicate functions, used or unused, generates costs as each of them has to be procured or renewed, maintained and supported.
Clean Up to Tackle Complexity
Adding cloud services to a software portfolio won’t make things easier for the software manager, but since the shift in IT is toward the cloud, the issue must be faced head on.
By moving into the cloud, software becomes harder to track. An unknown scope of functionalities are added to the mix, software now runs in different infrastructures that need to be tracked and controlled, and the lifecycle becomes more challenging with a mixture of on-premise and SaaS-based licensing.
At the same time, the increasing complexity makes it more difficult to use the IT budget efficiently, not to mention begin consolidation tactics for cost savings. So, before you take the big step into the cloud, it’s a good idea to clean up your portfolio and reduce the variety of software and vendors.
On one hand, to optimize your software portfolio optimization you need to know your installed software in detail. On the other hand, you also need to know what your employees require of IT. Because when employees get the software they really need, you reduce shadow IT, which ultimately reduces the risk for IT security.
What is Shadow IT?
The uncontrolled use of software, without the knowledge of the IT department.
Shadow IT can lead to significant risks for compliance and IT security, as the used solutions often don’t provide sufficient data protection.
In fact, the digital world with its complex network structures and easy online software procurement, makes it difficult for the IT department to keep an eye on unapproved software installations and to recognize security risks at an early stage. This can also cause issues regarding data protection, since without visibility into the software, there’s no one to check if an unauthorized installed software processes personal information causing additional risk regarding the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
What is GDPR?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation to strengthen and unify data protection of personal data within the European Union. It also applies to the export of personal data outside the European Union.
Software Consolidation: The Art of Data Analysis
Effective software portfolio optimization is not easy to master and takes a lot of effort. Who really knows the exact functionality of each software product and has the opportunity to track the constant changes in functionality and evaluate overlaps?
A software portfolio management tool helps to bring transparency to the software landscape and provides the necessary information about functionality, etc. You can use this tool to consolidate and optimize your portfolio using different analysis methods, thereby lowering IT and operating costs.
With the insights gained from a software portfolio analysis and transparency of your existing software landscape, you can now select the right plans with the right scope of functions for Office 365 and successfully implement the step into the cloud.
Those who want to sustainably profit from software consolidation should introduce a continuous software portfolio management system. Otherwise, you will be back in the same jungle in no time. Like the software requirements of employees, the functionality of software will continue to change, whether on-premise or SaaS.
Your software portfolio need to be regularly reviewed for functional overlaps and you need to look at the actual software usage to ensure efficient use of the budget.
By doing these things, you remain competitive in age of digital transformation and can invest in future-oriented IT with your saved budget. At the same time, you support your IT security, since a consolidated software portfolio also has fewer sources of error.
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