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BYOD Poses Challenges for Software Licensing

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BYOD Poses Challenges for Software Licensing

June 27, 2013
By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Many headaches have been created by the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend, although companies are finally starting to get a grip through formalized BYOD policies and mobile device management (MDM). A study found that while only 44 percent of businesses had a formal BYOD policy in 2012, up to 94 percent of businesses planned to implement one in 2013.


One challenge of BYOD that is not adequately being addressed, however, is software license management. When employees use their own devices for work purposes, typical site or per-processor licenses fail.

Part of the problem falls on software vendors, according to Flexera Software vice-president for Asia-Pacific, Tom Canning.

Vendors are offering new models, but they’re often missing the boat.

"They're acknowledging the technical challenges, but they don't really understand how the customers really want to buy," noted Canning in a ZDnet article recently.

Businesses need a usage-based model that allows employees to leverage the software they need, regardless of device, suggested Canning, but businesses also need cost predictability.

One solution proffered by some is a per-user licensing model that ties licensing to the user and not the device, keeping BYOD from causing licensing snafus.


Image via Shutterstock

But this still isn’t a usage-based model, and if the license is per user per use, cost containment becomes an issue.

"The bigger the company, the more geography and market segments they are involved in," said Canning. "All of them have unique needs, and all of a sudden you have to try to satisfy them all — it becomes very complex.”

He added: "The intention is there, but the reality is that it's really hard to create a model that covers all scenarios in a simple way.”

In the mean time, businesses must pick through the various options and find a balance that most closely hits their objectives.

In terms of BYOD, businesses need to address the licensing issue up front when deciding on licensing, and they need to tailor their BYOD policy to reflect that licensing arrangement.

They also generally should select a best-of-breed approach, as there’s no one size that fits all nowadays when it comes to software licensing.

While there are solutions, software licensing remains a challenge in the BYOD era.




Edited by Blaise McNamee

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