An employee from the accounting office in a very large organization noticed a discrepancy with a software renewal bill. The software bill was for 1,300 software licenses; however, the department using the software only had 300 users. The accounting office also noted the organization had been overpaying the renewal for the software licenses for three years. It took a closer look at their business processes so that they could determine why they had purchased 1,300 licenses for 300 users.
Every year, this organization went through a hardware refresh of approximately one third of all PC/laptops. When analyzing how hardware and software assets were purchased, they noticed the employee that was assigned to purchasing computers and laptops kept track of all the purchases using a spreadsheet. This person would then issue a PO for the software licenses needed for software to be installed onto the new PC/laptops.
Next, the organization looked at how PC/ laptops were disposed. They determined the person who was in charge of disposing of PC/laptops during the hardware refreshes also used a spreadsheet to keep track of PC/laptops that were decommissioned. There was absolutely no communication between the two people or the two processes.
The conclusion of the investigation determined that the organization was actually throwing away usable software licenses during the hardware refresh. Software licenses assigned PC/laptops that were decommissioned were not reassigned to the new PC/laptops that replaced them. The root of the problem was simple; they did not have a process or software tools in place to properly track and manage their software licenses.