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Kaitlin Brunsden

Application Virtualization: Talking with LANDesk Software

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What follows is my podcast with Steve Workman, Vice President of LANDesk Software. We discuss Application Virtualization and its impact on asset management. Steve will offer his insight on implementing a process for software license management and the problems organizations may face if they don't.

Listen to my 7:23 podcast below:

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KB: Hello ebizQ listeners, this is Kaitlin Brunsden, Associate Editor at ebizQ. Today, I am speaking with Steve Workman, Vice President of LANDesk Software. Steve thank you for joining me today.

SW: Thanks for having me Kaitlin.

KB: Can you please provide us with a brief overview of your company?

SW: Sure. So Kaitlin as you mentioned, my name is Steve Workman and I'm Vice President of Product Management here at LANDesk and I've been with LANDesk about nine years. LANDesk Software as a company has been in business about 20 years and we provide solutions around systems management, end point security management, and IT service management with a focus on providing a rapid ROI for IT operations in mid and large enterprise organizations.

KB: Today's topic is Application Virtualization and Its Impact on Asset Management. So Steve, as more companies are moving towards virtualization, what are some of the virtualization issues you see the market running into?

SW: Well first of all, we do see that application virtualization is being highly adopted. Traditionally, it's been viewed as a way to provide to application capability with other applications but we're seeing it being used as the preferred way of packaging applications along with MSI alternative. We know some of the challenges from talking with customers that all applications can't be virtualized so that kind of necessitates the need for having both a MSI packaging solution as well as application virtualization. Now application virtualization also provides some flexibility with application delivery to end customers. But with that flexibility comes some complications.

So as we go out and talk to customers, we find that those customers that are using virtualization to package up their applications are running into some challenges around accountability and software management in whole. So when we go out and talk to customers, we see that as they move to application virtualization, we see that it's complicating the liability, accountability of software management. In fact, some other customer trends that we see, is customers need help in proving ownership of software licenses and most of these customers rely on the vendor themselves for that data. So we find that they don't have a real good process or managing virtualized applications when it comes to accountability and software asset management.

KB: How many organizations do you see have a process for software license management?

SW: Again, as we go out and talk to customers, it's surprising but very few have a formalized process for software asset management in their environment. We kind of map this against the maturity model and we see that a lot of customers are kind of at the early stages of this maturity model. Most customers struggle to understand what's in their environment but they tend to focus on that first step of discovery and inventory of what's actually in their environment then they look for ways to kind of move up that maturity model to become less reactive and move proactive in their environment.

KB: What's preventing IT organizations from implementing a process?

SW: Well there's a couple of challenges around implementing an effective process for software asset management. And the first one is really around kind of a cultural change; it's a shift in the way they think about their IT operations in general. They need to move from kind of the reactive thought process that they just want to survive an audit but rather prepare for one and be proactive about understanding what's in their environment. Part of that is accessing where they're at on the maturity model and then looking for the next right step to kind of grow and become more proactive and more in control of their organization and their software asset management initiatives.

So one of the things that they need to focus on is identifying the right solution that can grow with them up this maturity model. They're going to have some times where they need a point product for immediate needs to understand exactly what's in their environment but then they need a suite of products to be able to work seamlessly together to be able to understand what they should have in their environment, what applications are effectively being used, and which applications can be targeted for reclamation and be able to pull the cost back out of their organization.

KB: Can you provide some customer antidotes on what LANDesk is seeing as far as a gaining a return on instituting a license management system?

SW: Sure. We have a lot of customers that are moving up that maturity model as I discussed. And in fact, we have one customer that we recently spoke with out of the Chicago area that was telling us that they have to respond to an audit about once a month. And so, in order to prepare for that, in the past what they did was they were overbuying software as much as 40% to hedge against an audit but now they can see that that's impacting their IT budget. In fact, 20% of enterprises IT budget is spent on software license and maintenance. So it's important for them to understand what they're exposure is and what kind of cost savings that they could identify to pull out of their organization.

We had another customer that gave us some feedback that they had packaged up a suite of software applications and accidently distributed that to all of their end points in their organization. They were then audited by that vendor and had to actually true-up for each one of those applications. But then when they used our solution and when back in and better understood what the usage was for each of those applications, they found that several of those applications were not being used by each end point or individual and thus was a good target to be able to pull that software and reclaim that license. And in fact, that activity alone paid for the LANDesk solution in about 45 days.

KB: How can LANDesk help and what is different about LANDesk solutions from other products available?

SW: LANDesk can help in three distinct ways. The value proposition that we provide is first, we can help reduce cost. We can identify unused licenses and then help pull those licenses back and help realize those cost savings. The second thing we can do is help reduce risk and that comes from really the audit process. Being able to enable the customers to proactively prepare for an audit rather than just survive an audit. And then third, help our customers increase their productivity by taking advantage of the benefits of application virtualization and other technologies to provide application availability, and getting the right application to the end users so that it can be productive.

Other ways that LANDesk can help is we can counsel with the customer to help access where they're at on that maturity level and then put a plan in place to help them move up one step at a time, and ultimately help them turn the corner from being reactive to proactive and have more control in their environment. And then finally, understand that it's a cultural shift change to be able to adopt process and realize the benefit of moving from the lower levels of discovery and inventory up through understanding what the entitlements are, what the usage is, and what applications could be targeted for reclamation to realize the true cost savings.

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Jayaprakash Kannoth

Jayaprakash Kannoth is Software Engineer at TechTarget. His areas of interest include business process management, enterprise architecture, business intelligence , cloud/infrastructure computing and technology in business.
The opinions expressed herein are my own and do not represent my employer’s views in any way.

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