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Software License Harvesting Saves a Total of $91M

(February 2024)

Company Profile

  • Industry: Aerospace
  • Size: 100,000 – 150,000 employees
  • Revenue: 50B – 100B USD
  • Region: Global
  • Market: Mid-Market
total savings

Effective Software License harvesting Case Study | EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

For over 10 years, Anglepoint has supported this North American-based aerospace manufacturer’s software remediation efforts, driving risk mitigation and software license optimization.

As part of this initiative, Anglepoint has both proactively led and supported the efforts to optimize software costs by identifying unused, over-provisioned, and unnecessary software being consumed by end-user computing devices, servers, Cloud, or Software as a Service (SaaS). Simply identifying the need is not enough to drive toward optimal outcomes, so Anglepoint has led this organization’s software asset management team to make possibilities become reality. Throughout the 10-year duration of this partnership, Anglepoint has helped the client harvest software (aka reharvesting) on hundreds of thousands of devices with over 200 software applications. 350k software installations have been reharvested rather than purchasing unnecessary net new software, or maintaining compliance or financial risk of over-provisioned software. This has led to greater SAM maturity, combining the correct blend of people, processes, and technology to not only remediate past actions but also to put stop-gap measures in place to prohibit unoptimized software from being installed in the first place. The client has saved over $90M during these 10 years.

The Challenge

Tackling the processes of request, approve, and deploy for any environment comparable in size to this organization is a colossal undertaking. It requires an in-depth understanding of the complexities of software licensing agreements, including the Product Use Rights and other relevant terms, how software can be consumed, and how the software can be managed from an ongoing monitoring basis. It also requires a deep understanding of how end users or application owners will receive the software, and what can be done to ensure that when it is deployed, it’s done in accordance with the respective terms and conditions set out between the client and publisher.

With limited expertise and resources, the client needed Anglepoint’s SAM experts to help them implement best practices and realize the potential savings and cost avoidance opportunities achievable through effective license harvesting.

Using more software than needed, or not purchasing enough where necessary, leads to outcomes that can be prohibitively expensive for large organizations. With an annual software budget in the hundreds of millions, it is imperative that this organization has a handle on and manages software costs carefully. Software license harvesting is a key component of that cost management initiative.

The client needed a software license harvesting strategy and guidance to make this a reality, so they engaged Anglepoint’s experts to support and implement the processes.

The Solution

Because it is an untenable goal to manage millions of software installations without a strategy, Anglepoint supported and categorized reharvesting opportunities into four primary areas in which the organization’s goals are focused:

Enterprise software that can be available to all with proper approvals. This software may have large quantities of available licenses or shelf-ware, that can be distributed to those users in need while being taken from those who no longer need them. In addition, the software’s budget is often managed at the enterprise level, with appropriate chargeback and performed on a regular basis.

Software that is at compliance, financial, or legal risk. This is software that violates licensing terms due to the misuse of how it is consumed, or that it is being consumed without available license inventory.

Software that is of high material value to the organization because it is purchased in large quantities or is particularly expensive. Any software that is material to the organization due to the sheer amount that is purchased, is exceptionally strategic to the organization, or that has such a high cost that it must be monitored more closely.

Software that is easily redistributable. This is software that may fit into one of the above categories, but also software that can be easily provisioned and taken away due to proper packaging/scripting due to mature software requests to deploy processes, or due to proactive product management.

Anglepoint has both led and supported identifying the scope and frequency of individual software publishers and applications that fit into the above categories. Once identified, a plan was put into place for software reharvesting kick-offs, status reports, and stakeholder engagement. There were two primary ways that reharvesting would occur – either silently or with user engagement. For certain scenarios, a silent harvest is conducted, meaning end users are not notified that the software is removed. For many other scenarios, an opt-in approach is taken such that end users must agree to have the software removed.


In addition to determining current license positions to identify software license harvesting opportunities (reconciling what is owned versus what software is in use), the approach of not purchasing more than what is needed has led Anglepoint to identify and remediate future potential risks, versus only looking at actual risk. This proactive approach has mitigated many potential concerns, alleviating headaches where misuse could have happened.

Over 10 years, the following was achieved:

  • In-scope harvested applications (unique product name, edition/version): 200
  • Highest number of applications harvested in a single year: 153k (2020)
  • Total cost savings: $91.1M
  • Number of harvested installations: 343k
  • Number of in-scope publishers with harvested applications: 21

Prudently consuming the software that this organization has already purchased by reharvesting and re-using existing licenses has led to many other non-quantitative outcomes. Software asset management is a key stakeholder during contract negotiations where software is involved, being consulted on how the software can be managed on an ongoing basis versus simply “getting the best deal” at the time. Longer-term effects of Software Asset Management, including supporting product owner identification and management, proactively eliminating compliance risks by conducting regular reharvesting projects, and supporting extended support or End of Life/decommissioning activities all have arisen from building and sustaining a software reharvesting initiative. Due to the activities of the past decade, this organization is well set to continue to build and improve on the implemented reharvesting practices by leveraging additional technology and increasing the scope of applications that are reharvesting candidates.

The client continues to be supported by a SAM Managed Service with Anglepoint.

With an annual software budget in the hundreds of millions, it is imperative that this organization has a handle on and manages software costs carefully. Software reharvesting is a key component of that cost management initiative.

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