Software Asset Tracking - Using Software Asset Tracking for Your Business - What is Software Asset Tracking?, How is Software Asset Tracking Done?
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Asset tracking should be a key strategy for loss prevention and profit-optimization for any business. While many businesses do little to no asset tracking except through their accountant at the end of the year, other businesses only do half of what they should. Any business that uses computers will have two separate types of asset tracking that can be done to improve their bottom line. Of the businesses that do perform asset tracking, many only perform hardware asset tracking. Software asset tracking, however, can be just as important. Many businesses belong to the Business Software Alliance, and from time-to-time this organization will ask about the status of your software licenses and compliance.
What is Software Asset Tracking?
Software asset tracking entails managing the portfolio of software used by everyone in the company. Software asset tracking is much more than simply loss prevention and calculating depreciation. Information from software asset tracking is used as a strategic base for new software purchases and deployment. A full system of software asset tracking will include the following aspects:
• Tracking all licenses, keys, and physical media for software used by the company. This includes which computer each key is being used on and the employee that it has been assigned to.
• Licenses and keys are also tracked on a date basis that states when it was first activated and when, or if, it expires.
• Managing all maintenance and support agreements, as well as warranties.
• Processing strategies for deployment of new software by piece or by category.
How is Software Asset Tracking Done?
There are several ways in which a business, or even an individual, can implement and perform software asset tracking. At its basic form, it can be done by hand in ledgers or notebooks. While it is extremely counterintuitive to track technology and computer software with a pen and paper, it is better than no tracking at all.
The next step up involves manual software asset tracking done with the help of generalized software. At its most basic, this would be just typing all of the information into a word processing document such as Microsoft Word. At its most advanced, this can be a strong software asset tracking method. The most advanced forms of this method involve using complex spreadsheet templates. Software asset tracking templates can be found free or for sale that are well planned and easy to read and manage. The downside of this system, however, is that it still requires someone to manually input much of the information into the spreadsheet. This is both time consuming and leaves room for error.
The best form of software asset tracking is through an automated system. Automated software asset tracking can be integrated into a Windows or Linux environment in the server, through individual workstations, or a combination of both. A good automated system will be easy to install, to understand, and to maintain. It should be able to be fully integrated into Windows and Active Directory for applicable businesses. If the automated software asset tracking solution does not have a deployment module, it should be able to be integrated into an outside automated software deployment system.