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ABC's software asset management spells relief for IT managers

What do an employee's computer desktop and a company car have in common? Running each can cost well over $10 thousand per year. Companies frequently exercise strict controls over their vehicles, but many allow their desktops to go virtually unchecked.

"You're not going to allow an employee to make unauthorized modifications to the company car, attempt to make major repairs, or drive it thousands of unnecessary miles," says Rod Plummer, Corporate Marketing Manager for ABC Systems & Development. "Maintaining control of the those vehicles can be much simpler than exercising similar controls over the desktop."

ABC is the company behind Lan Licenser3, technology that allows companies to maintain control of their software assets. Lan Licenser3 uses a three-tiered scalable architecture to monitor and control software usage.

For many companies, this kind of control, known as metering, can lower the bottom line. Metering helps IT managers control the number of applications running on a network. Also, unauthorized applications can be prevented from running.

Metering can also save money on purchases, preventing companies from investing in software its employees seldom use. It can also allow companies to train its support staff for the software being used most often by employees.

Another benefit of software asset management comes in enforcing licensing agreements, thereby helping companies avoid hefty piracy fines.

How much can software asset management technology save a company? Quite a bit, says Plummer. "If you estimate the average annual cost of a desktop PC to be $11,500, software asset management can save a business about 30% per year," he says.

Plummer says many businesses began paying closer attention to the software running across their networks over the last couple of years, as the world braced for Y2K. Once January 1 came and went, the focus began to shift from Y2K-compatibility to bottom-line efficiency.

ABC has built strategic partnerships with several major IT vendors and software developers, including Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard. One example, the ABC Lan Licenser/HP OpenView Integration Module, combines Lan Licenser metering with data from HP OpenView's asset inventory. The module creates a series of comprehensive software asset management reports. Through those reports, companies can determine which programs are unused but still incurring maintenance and upgrade costs, as well as the return of investment (ROI) on software purchases and maintenance contracts. The module can also help secure the network by detecting software that has been installed, run and removed between inventories.

ABC is headquartered in Mountain View, California. Its main software and research and development center is located in Telford, England.

You can get more information on ABC and Lan Licenser at www.abcsystems.com.

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