Good Software Management Boosts Productivity

Companies that practice good software asset management are rewarded with a reasonable budget, tighter security system and increased productivity, an expert from Deloitte & Touche, Taipei said last week.

“Companies need to see the relationship between having a good software asset management practice and a healthy business,” said Jimmy Wu, a partner at Deloitte & Touche.

Mr. Wu was invited by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) to discuss the benefits of using only licensed software.

He has a decade of experience in, aside from software asset management, financial audit, enterprise risk management, regulation and agreement compliance as well as in computer support and audit. He is responsible for managing and coordinating software licensing and management services in Asia Pacific.

During the BSA-sponsored seminar, Mr. Wu said software asset management allows companies to maximize their software investments by letting them identify their needs and match these with available software programs.

Software asset management is a set of policies and procedures that allow organizations to take full advantage of their software resources.
It involves conducting software needs analysis and inventory, comparing installed software with licenses and creating a budget.
It also involves appointing a software manager, conducting regular audits and issuing company policy statements and reminders.

Mr. Wu said a sound software management allows the organization to control software purchases and upgrades since this helps the company buy only the software it needs and upgrade only copies where new features will be useful.

Since software asset management allows a company to take full control over which software is being installed on its computers, it reduces the risk of using unlicensed software. It also keeps firms from getting attacked by viruses and hackers and helps them avoid the risks of piracy.

“It does not really cost much for a company to start implementing software asset management. It’s just a matter of taking the time to conduct an inventory of all the software, knowing their software needs and making a separate budget for software purchases, if need be,” Mr. Wu pointed out.

He said early software management attempts failed because these were made an exclusive responsibility of a company’s information technology department.
They also failed to consider the software needs of the organization as a whole and lacked a coherent support process and infrastructure.

Previous attempts also ignored financial, contractual and technical considerations and companies were usually guilty of bottom-up investing, where software purchases were based on company performance rather on economic and other industry variables.

Mr. Wu said software asset management is a process, not an event, and should touch every part of an organization. Companies should also avoid silver bullet solutions and look at a phased approach.

BSA, composed of the world’s leading technology companies, has been educating companies about software asset management. It invited Mr. Wu to speak about the practice as part of its “Detox Your PC campaign,” a call for a clean business environment through the use of licensed software.

The campaign urges firms to keep their business healthy by regularly conducting software audits and by deleting unlicensed software from their computers.
Unlicensed software programs are considered toxins since these may negatively affect productivity and compromise the security of a computer system.

The Commission on Information and Communications Technology has endorsed the campaign, supporting the call for a clean and healthy IT and business through the use of licensed software.

A BSA-IDC global software piracy study released last year showed that the piracy rate in the Philippines as of 2003 stood at 72%, with retail revenue losses amounting to more than P3 billion.

Software advocates say cutting down on the use of unlicensed software does not only benefit the company itself, but the whole business environment and ultimately, the national economy.

A University of the Philippines study showed that IT investments had increased during the years when software piracy level had gone down.