Software audits help lower costs: BSA

AvantiKumar | Nov. 3, 2011
Industry body BSA and local IT leaders call for software asset management to help lower costs in Malaysia.

BSA says SAM will help lower costs in Malaysia

PHOTO -  (from left) Roland Chan, senior marketing director, of Business Software Alliance Asia Pacific; Andy Tan, chairman of PIKOM CIO Chapter.




Industry body Business Software Alliance (BSA) and local IT leaders said software asset management (SAM) audits would help to lower costs for Malaysian businesses.

Correct software asset management (SAM) is crucial to help organisations manage the rising costs of operating businesses in today's fragile economy, said BSA senior marketing director, Asia Pacific, Roland Chan, speaking in Malaysia on 18 October 2011.

"SAM not only lowers the cost of ownership for businesses but it is also a key component in most of the regulatory compliance requirements facing businesses today," said Chan, during a roundtable discussion themed 'Should Software Audits Be Made Mandatory?'

He said software audits are part of SAM, a business practice designed to reduce IT overhead costs, limit risks related to the ownership and use of software, and increase corporate-wide and IT efficiencies for a company.

Earlier in May this year, BSA and Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism (MTDCC) have called for software audits to be made mandatory for companies. BSA and MTDCC are also studying the feasibility of making software audits part of an organisation's financial audit process.

"Companies should view management of their software assets to be as vital as management of their financial ones," said Chan. "As organisations assume control by proactively managing their software assets, not only will they lower IT cost in the long run, they will gain from the higher levels of productivity and security."

 


Local industry leaders


Support for the practice of SAM included IT leaders such as national ICT industry association (PIKOM) CIO Chapter chairman, Andy Tan, THB Bank head of infrastructure; Lee Teck Chong, and World Vision International director of shared services centre, Nick Goh.

"Despite the benefits of SAM, the onus of this practice should not rest solely with the companies and their IT departments," said PIKOM CIO Chapter's Tan. "Software vendors should also look into working hand-in-hand with clients to provide assistance such as software licence tracking and software metering if software audits are to be made mandatory."

Government agency SME Corp. Malaysia chief executive officer Dato' Hafsah Hashim said the agency supported BSA's call for mandatory software audits as part of the yearly financial audit.

"[This move] will help to promote better corporate governance," she said. "However, audit costs could be a concern when it comes to SMEs [small and medium enterprises]." She called for software vendors to consider lowering the price of their software and more awareness to be raised on SAM should the mandatory software audit take effect.

"While SAM is vital for SME organisations as well, there should not be unnecessary burden placed on SMEs to comply with the proposed mandatory software audit by MTDCC, especially those with only a handful of employees," said SMI Association national president, Chua Tiam Wee. "Affordable and easy-to-use tools should also be made available for SMEs to do self-audit."

"Previously, SAM was perceived to be a complicated and expensive practice that was applicable only to the larger corporations," said ISA Technologies group chief executive officer, Alvin Yuen. "With close to 99 percent of the companies in Malaysia being SMEs, it is important that they are also benefiting with SAM to reduce their IT overhead cost and enhance their IT budget management."

ISA Technologies produces software to help companies conduct software management audits called justSAMit. "We understand the challenges for organisations when it comes to practising SAM. With justSAMit, we want to provide a very affordable and automated SAM solution to both large corporations and SMEs to help them with the software audit process."