I had multiple interesting conversations on this topic at our SoftSummit event last week in Boston. While talking about Software License Optimization and software license reclamation the discussion turned to the impact that centralized vs. decentralized IT structures have.
Software license reclamation is the process of identifying and reclaiming unused software licenses to go back into the pool of available licenses. Doing this regularly can yield significant software spend reductions. How? By reducing the need to purchase new software licenses when licenses are in the organization but not being used.
Take this very common scenario. An employee gets assigned a new project that requires them to procure a new application. They do so and utilize the application to complete the project. Months go by and they haven't used the application again after completing the project. The organization has an assigned software license that is unused. This license is a candidate for reclamation. Doing so would put that license back into the pool of available licenses so that the next person that requires a software license for that application gets it from the existing pool rather than having to procure a new license.
Back to the topic of IT structure. If your IT organization is very decentralized, your "pool" is much smaller. Software licenses may be owned by a given department in a given geography. In this situation, reclaiming software licenses is happening within a very small population, providing potentially limited benefit. Contrast that to a very centralized organization where IT holds many of the key software licenses. Reclamation in this environment gains from the leverage you get across a larger population of users. Now a user in one department may be able to consume a reclaimed license from a user in a different department and geography.
Obviously there are a lot of major factors governing IT philosophy and structure, but now you can add Software License Optimization to the list of processes that are impacted.