As part of a challenge, I read Ulysses by James Joyce. 😬

Never again. At almost 1,000 pages (although about 250 of those pages were just explanatory notes), it was tough going. Especially when some bits of it were written in Latin, Irish, and Hungarian. I may have skimmed parts.

At 42 pages, the Microsoft SQL Server 2019 Licensing Guide is no Ulysses, and it does have the benefit of being written in a single language. But it’s still not an easy read for us mere mortals. Definitely not a page-turner.

And, of course, this describes the licensing for only one version of one product from one vendor. You can see why understanding your license position for all products on your estate is not a trivial job.

Effective License Position (ELP)

There are different levels to understanding your license position, with the ultimate, top-end version being the Effective License Position or ELP (it is so impressive that it even gets Initial Capital Letters and a TLA). Like many things in life, however, there are diminishing returns in determining your license position, with an ELP taking a serious amount of effort and requiring highly skilled and experienced SAM experts using complicated software. And it will take them a significant amount of time to gather the required installation, license, and contract data, and then crunch all of those numbers using often complex metrics to come up with the answer for a specific vendor. It’s a big investment.

If you are being audited, you’ll probably need to put in this much effort, including reading and fully understanding that 42-page licensing guide for SQL Server. Good luck; I wish you a safe journey—and do contact Ivanti, we can help you with this: we have people who understand that document.

However, an audit isn’t the only reason for understanding your license position. There are other reasons, and reasons that don’t need such a detailed solution to give you valuable information to help your business that are possibly just as important.

Gain Insights Quickly with Ivanti Neurons for Spend Intelligence

The dynamic summary of your license and install data provided by Ivanti Neurons for Spend Intelligence quickly provides you with insights into your license position. It’s not an ELP, but it’s a good indication of where you stand and where to focus your resources to gain a better understanding. This is important because software licenses can be expensive and you don’t want to buy too many—but you don’t want to purchase too few, either, because that way lies trouble.

Ivanti Neurons for Spend Intelligence is not targeted at experienced licensing experts wanting to create an ELP, but at IT generalists who have an interest in the license position of their IT estate and who want to have a feel for what their license position is, and where their money is going.

With very little configuration, Ivanti Neurons for Spend Intelligence helps you to identify where you may have too many or too few licenses. It also shows you where users are consuming a license for software they are not using, aiding license reclamation and so improving your license position without buying more licenses. You can also see where end-of-life or prohibited software is being used on your estate, when contracts are approaching their renewal dates so that you can prepare for and negotiate a new deal, what upgrade opportunities exist on your estate, and so on.

Possibly more important than any absolute answers that Ivanti Neurons for Spend Intelligence provides are the insights it provides. The charts and grids help you understand your software estate: its opportunities and vulnerabilities, its weaknesses and its excesses, where to spend, and where to save. A successful Software Asset Manager needs to understand their IT estate in this way, and Ivanti Neurons for Spend Intelligence can help with this.

Your IT estate is dynamic, and you need tools in place that are equally dynamic. If it takes a month to get an answer, then that answer is a month out of date. Better to have found a quicker, good enough answer and then have more time to spend immersed in a good book.