Tackling Business Challenges Through Software Categorization

22 February 2019

Sean Robinson


A software asset management tool speeds up day-to-day tasks for SAM Managers by correctly calculating complex license metrics and managing software entitlement data. Dated, ineffective spreadsheets are a thing of the past, replaced instead with automated, real-time reporting at the touch of a button.

Raw file data from multiple inventory tools presents a further challenge for SAM Managers. In order for the data to become useful information, that can be applied to compliance and optimization targets, it must be deciphered into a meaningful software list. Software recognition investigates and reconciles raw data for correct inventory results and automatically recognizes installed software. Risk is reduced, and time and resources are freed up for business critical tasks.

Software product categorization offers further context for SAM Managers. More than just defining software, categorization reveals what the software is used for, and what it does.

Drive licensing planning through software categorization

Having a standardized classification system means IT and Operations Managers are equipped to make the best, most effective business decisions with the ability to plan the procurement of IT assets. Software categorization data can be applied across the IT department:

React to a cyber vulnerability found in a certain software category

The challenge: Spotting a cybersecurity issue is becoming harder and harder these days. To combat this organizations are tightening the rules around what internet browser products are installed on the network, for example. One way in which to do that would be to create a list of known browsers so the IT team can then compare it to the network install list via a Discovery tool.

The solution: The IT team can capture all installations by simply filtering their discovered software by category. They can then isolate the internet browsers, including unknown instances.

Rationalize software products by individual category

The Challenge: IT Managers want to spend their budget wisely, and paying for software that crosses over or duplicates tasks is potentially wasting that budget. It could be that an organization is running multiple IT Security products, which presents a clear duplication or rather overlapping of resources.

The solution: Having visibility of software applications by category will highlight that duplication, and allow the IT Manager to potentially rationalize down an organization’s range of products in use, leading to savings.

Report by software category to drill down into usage

The challenge: The Procurement department reports on annual IT spending every year, which helps to communicate true ROI and make savings in the future. The ITAM Manager, constantly working toward compliance, should have visibility of what is installed where, and be aware of any recurring patterns of noncompliance amongst software.

The solution: With software product categorization, the Procurement team can identify what category of software the spend is predominantly allocated to, and so is better equipped to make impactful recommendations based on users and usage. Similarly, if the ITAM Manager can see how a certain category of software is used, there’s potential to rationalize its use to reduce the risk of non-compliance.

User profiling through categorizing software products

The challenge: Typically the metadata of a piece of unknown software isn’t enough to reveal what it is being used for. Because of that, it can be difficult for IT to match software to users across their organization, which means that the information around whether or not a piece of software is being utilized properly, to its full potential, is ambiguous and unreliable.

The solution: With software product category information, IT can ensure that an organization’s users only have access to the software they specifically need. Unused software can therefore be reallocated to a more appropriate user.

Software categorization to enhance procurement

The challenge: Purchasing new software any time a user requests it can become costly. Not just chipping away at IT’s budget, the time and resources it takes to follow correct protocol and record what’s been procured makes ad-hoc purchases inefficient.

The solution: Being able to see what is already available across the network should reveal whether or not a piece of similar software is already available when a request comes in. Both IT and Procurement can use software product categorization to see what is installed based on classification, avoiding the need to buy further software and licenses.

Software categorization aligns business strategies with IT

For many organizations, the information available for hardware and software assets is often inconsistent, incomplete, inaccurate, or simply unavailable. Software categorization helps change that. With knowledge of the software estate, the IT department is better able to drive data insights and allocate budget to make savings.

Sean is a pioneer of SAM with over 20 years’ experience in software licensing compliance. He developed our industry leading, software asset and license management tool, License Manager, delivering SAM services to some of the largest companies in the world.

Sean Robinson

Further reading