The term Effective License Position (ELP) has now become the new buzz word and it appears that many people are being misled into believing that this outcome alone will enable their organisation to achieve effective Software Asset Management (SAM). Unfortunately, this is far from the case, as SAM is much more than just a single report that details your over and under-licensing position, it is an ethos and an approach that drives good corporate governance and effective control of your software assets.

The term ELP was first coined by Microsoft, and was used by them to establish a clear understanding of an organisation’s current licensing shortfalls. By comparing what license rights you have acquired against what software has been deployed, the ELP simply informs you of what surplus licenses you have or what licenses you need to purchase – an output that largely really benefits the vendor or software reseller.

Although maintaining your ELP on a regular basis will help monitor your risks, it does not stimulate effective management, protection and control of your software. In many ways, relying on an ELP, is like going on a shopping spree with your credit card without having any consideration to the limit of your card and to the method of how you are going to pay for the bill later – unfortunately, when the bill comes, there is no going back, you have to pay.

Implementing SAM, however, ensures that you implement an effective method of control, preventing the over-deployment of software and maximising the consumption of your existing license entitlements. This proactive approach, ensures that you challenge every deployment before it is committed and allows you to check whether there are available surplus license rights or sufficient budget before you proceed with the installation. Simply put, it ensures you proactively manage your software, rather than reacting to unplanned change.

Don’t get me wrong, the ELP is an important first step in identifying the gaps associated to your existing process and ensures that you implement the corrective measures, however, if you stop at the ELP, you will never achieve the desired benefits that SAM has to offer.

Look out for the release of our next white paper for more information on how to monitor and deliver the true value from SAM.