Software License Compliance and ISO 19770-1

Many of our customers are becoming more pro-active in the management of their software assets, driven by the twin concerns of shelf-ware and escalating vendor audit activity. No two organizations take precisely the same approach to the topic. Those just emerging from an expensive audit cycle are looking primarily to ensure that a repeat event will not be so painful. (And repeats there will be; our analyst friends have commented to us that news travels of audits that uncover non-compliance and trigger some ‘true-up’ revenue. It’s not surprising, given that the majority of these audits are carried out by software resellers highly motivated to uncover revenue opportunities.) Organizations not yet hit by an audit may be taking a broader view and want to truly understand just how much of their installed software is regularly used.

Software asset management vendors all have their own ideas on ‘how to’deal with the twin challenges of license compliance and minimized shelf-ware. Vector is no exception – we have a white paper on Software Asset Optimization – look for the free-to-download PDF. But beyond that, there are few resources available to organizations looking for guidance on how to go about it. ITIL includes a section on Asset Management, but has the image of a behemoth of best practices requiring a team of specialist ITIL practitioners on the payroll – or brought in on contract. For SME’s there’s little on the surface to make them look at ITIL, even given the big steps on simplification in ITIL v3. The International Association of IT Asset Managers IAITAM has its own best practice library, available for puchase and/or for paid up members, far from a low-cost option.

One of the best kept secrets is the ISO 19770-1 standard on software asset management which was published in 2006. 19770-1 sets out a library of processes which should be considered by any organization embarking on introducing, or enhancing, its SAM functions. On the whole there is a notable lack of linkage and interdependence between the processes, which means that organizations can select and prioritize depending on their business priorities and their existing processes. Many of the processes in 19770-1 could be regarded as simple ‘common sense’, but that doesn’t reduce their validity, and we all know how resource limitations and perpetual project overload often means many ‘common sense’ items never get attended to.

So, I’m quite keen on ISO 19770-1 getting better known.  And one of its best characteristics is its cost – you can buy the PDF online from sites such as and for around $250. To help convince you that it would be $250 well spent, we’ve produced a briefing on ISO 19770-1.

We’ll be talking about 1970-2 and -3 in coming weeks. They deal with software package identification and license entitlement definitions, and both have the potential to revolutionize software asset management. 

Take a feed to this blog right now, and we’ll ensure you are briefed in good time.

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