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Reduce the risk of SAP shelfware by creating software user profiles


Companies can more efficiently cut down on "shelfware" or otherwise under-utilized software by combining user profiles of those in their company in conjunction with software asset management tools, according to Duncan Jones, an analyst with Forrester Research Inc., based in Cambridge, Mass.

"They're complementary. The [software asset management] tracking tools … can build up a picture of what's happening. But the profiling tells you what you should expect to see," Jones says in this Ask the Expert video.

Software asset management (SAM) applications help companies control their software, from installations and upgrades to security and version controls. Most, but not all, of those applications also include the ability to track user licenses.

User-based information can be acquired through survey-based user profiles that include the person's job title and responsibilities, what group he or she works in, and what kind of software they need to do their job, Jones said. That data can then be compared to license tracking data within the SAM software to understand what licenses it has -- and what it needs. "It's all about making sense of the data -- you need to have a top-down picture to do that," Jones said.

That data can then be used in software license purchasing decisions and negotiations with SAP or whoever the vendor is, Jones said.

It can be hard to get hard data on which people fall into which categories of use. "But if you can profile them, based on job types, and how many employees you've got in different functions, or in a department, then you can use that to discuss with SAP what would be a fair mix between the different user categories," Jones said.

Combining user profiles with SAM data can tell companies when license usage is low at a certain location, or within a certain group, when profiles might suggest that usage would be much higher, pointing to a problem with users not being trained well enough on the software, Jones said.

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