Software is a critical, strategic asset

Oct 29 2012, 03:28 IST
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SummaryBuy the hardware, software is free— a perception that is too often the case in India. Consider this scenario.

It needs to be respected just like a tangible hardware is respected

Buy the hardware, software is free— a perception that is too often the case in India. Consider this scenario. When Rajeev, a senior technology consultant with an MNC, was moving to India, he had the option to head the same company’s technology vertical in the country or to take on the role of a CIO in a mid-size Indian manufacturing company with a focus on exports. He chose the latter as he felt that it would give him greater freedom and flexibility to use his global experience to transform the Indian company into a leading exporter in its space. In the very first month, it was clear to Rajeev that his foremost task would be to bring internal systems and processes at par with global standards to offer greater confidence to the company’s customers.

Two months into the system, Rajeev got the first challenge in the form of an email from a software publisher insisting on a software licensing review (SLR). Rajeev knew by instinct what the review meant; but was not certain why his firm had been targeted. He had been told that the firm followed the ISO aligned software assets management (SAM) practices and was considered a compliant solution providers by various suppliers and customers. He immediately called for a meeting with his technology team to understand the situation. It was surprising to see how vague the IT managers in the team were on what comprises SAM and its benefits. They were tracking software licenses manually either on paper or on spread sheets, without proper deployment tools.

One of the IT managers also informed him that the India market works on a ‘different model’ and they are not obliged to keep a track of the software by law. The IT manager also went on to share the ‘cost savings’ they have been able to achieve by using pirated software. Taken aback, Rajeev tried to make his team understand the need and importance of legal software and what comprised SAM, focusing on how without it the firm’s operating effectiveness would suffer. He also discussed the review notice from the publisher with his team to help them understand the gravity of using unlicensed software. They had to understand that the firm must be seen as compliant with global standards and any serious compliance issues may permanently damage the credibility of the

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