The combination of rising licensing costs and pressure from piracy watchdogs is persuading businesses to investigate automated software auditing tools.
Licence costs account for huge swathes of IT budgets. But getting an accurate assessment of users' current software installations can be a difficult task.
"We know what we've bought," said Matt Barlow, IT manager at financial services firm St Paul's Insurance.
"But that doesn't necessarily tally with what people are using. Traditionally, we've probably over licensed."
Barlow used IBM's Tivoli Licence Manager to conduct an audit of software being used, and came up with a few surprises.
"We were able to make significant savings just by being able to see which users really needed Microsoft Access, or similar software that we previously just paid for," he explained.
Firms may also find that enough users have installed software on their machines to make buying a group licence the most cost-effective option, according to Probal Sil, business development director at systems integrator Elyzium.
"Typically, our clients find that software such as WinZip is quite common on the desktop, and firms may want to consider licensing it appropriately," he said.
The threat of being taken to court by software piracy watchdog the Federation Against Software Theft was also a major consideration when looking at licensing.
"No business wants to get the reputation for shady dealings," said Barlow.
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