Manage Software Licenses with CDW

By Lauren Simonds | Posted July 28, 2004
SMBs often use a variety of software titles that require licenses for each employee using them and have a tough time keeping a handle on when those licenses expire. Companies often buy software titles from multiple vendors at varying intervals, so the licenses expire at different times, makes tracking a challenge. Renewing an expired license is a large, unnecessary expense you don't want to make.

CDW, a leading value-added reseller, offers a solution that takes the pain out of tracking licenses. The Software License Tracker (SLT) is a software tool that the company offers — for free — to all of its customers.

No Thrill of the Hunt
"Tracking software licenses isn't glamorous," says Chris Wagner, CDW's supervisor of corporate software sales. "It's complicated, time consuming, and it tends to end up on the back burner."

For example, imagine your company needs Symantec anti-virus software for 50 desktops for two years. During that time new hires have arrived, and you have to buy even more anti-virus software Now multiply that by adding licenses for four, five or six other software applications, and you can see it doesn't take long for things to get ugly. Even companies with as few as five software licenses per application can benefit from SLT.

Available as a quick link on the extranet site that CDW provides each of its customers, SLT acts as a central point where each company can view and manage all the licenses it bought from CDW.

"Currently, says Wagner, "the system is set up so that if one of our customers buys products from Microsoft, Computer Associates, McAfee, Symantec, Adobe or Veritas, a link automatically appears on their SLT." CDW sells other brands too, and will add a link for any software manufacturer its sells. Customers can also upload licenses for software they purchased from a company other than CDW.

Timely Reminders


CDW's Software License Tracker
CDW's Software License Tracker tool helps you manage software license expiration and renewal dates.
Setting up and learning how to use the SLT typically takes a 10-minute walkthrough with the customer's primary CDW account manager. Once they're up and running, they can schedule expiration dates, e-mail alerts, automated reporting and reminders for each license. Early reminders come in handy if, for example, you need time to secure funding for license renewal.

Of course the whole point of tracking expiration dates is to make sure you renew your licenses on time. Missing a renewal deadline can be expensive — instead of taking advantage of the less expensive renewal price, you're likely to get stuck renewing the license at the original purchase price. Typically, this translates to a 30 - 40 percent difference.

A Satisfied Customer
Paul Maddox is the operations IT manager for Amerisafe, — a DeRidder, La.-based company that provides workers compensation insurance for hazardous industries.

Amerisafe started buying its software from CDW nearly three years ago. Maddox's department uses SLT to keep track of a variety of different licenses, including Microsoft operating systems for its nearly 500 employees. Currently, Amerisafe runs Windows XP, Server 2000 and Server 2003, along with Symantec's Ghost, just to name a few.

Before switching over to CDW and using SLT, Maddox used a "hodge-podge" of methods to track licenses including a homemade Access database. "We spent a lot of man-hours tracking and researching licenses," he says. "The SLT lets us track them more efficiently and more effectively than we ever could before. Now we use the time we save to focus on our work instead of tracking software compliance."

Maddox says SLT's ease of use and the high level of CDW's customer service is outstanding. "If I have any questions at all, I call up Mike, our licensing rep. He has direct contacts with the software vendors, which makes it easy to get questions answered, problems resolved or to get the best pricing on volume licenses. It's like a one-stop shop."

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com

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