3 Tips to Renegotiate Software Contracts Strategically

July 7, 2022 |  BI Reports, Budget, Data
3 min

Save on upcoming software contracts by determining what’s actually used, and then deploying licenses strategically.

Between site-wide license contracts and a steady stream of incoming departmental requests, it’s common for colleges and universities to lack true understanding of software deployment and utilization.  

The best way to prepare for upcoming software negotiations, and respond to requests, is to monitor software usage throughout the year. Then, when it’s time to renegotiate or respond, IT teams can make data-informed decisions and make the most of departmental resources.

LabStats provides secure, software monitoring for higher education institutions and delivers reliable data in 3 ways:

  1. LabStats BI Reports
  2. Free Power BI Dashboard Templates
  3. LabStats API

LabStats BI Portal

Power BI Templates
Related: How to Find Software Dropped During the Pandemic

Once you’re ready to review software usage, keep these 3 tips in mind as you prepare to renegotiate software contracts.

Filter Data by User Tags

LabStats allows you to add user tags to narrow data through the lens of a specific group of people. You can add tags manually, import tags or connect your student management system to LabStats data via the Software Usage Power BI dashboard template.

Related: LabStats 101: How to Create and Import Tags

User tags will tell you who is using or not using an expensive software suite or specific application. 

Consider fine-tuning tags with staff, faculty and departmental information. It’s not uncommon for faculty machines to have expensive software licenses installed with zero usage.

User tags in LabStats BI Portal

You have the option to anonymize user identity in the LabStats BI Portal, so that user tags can be applied without compromising privacy.

If student or staff accounts have usernames that are personally identifiable, you can obfuscate that information in the LabStats BI Portal to further protect that data. For instance, Jane Doe’s username: “jane.doe” can be obfuscated to “user0001.”

In this way, you can explore how people in different classes, colleges, or demographics interact with your hardware and software on campus.

Virtualize Remaining Licenses

Removing software from machines doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice accessibility. It’s much easier to convince a department head or dean that reducing spend on software won’t impact availability for students and faculty.

Many universities virtualize software applications that report low usage or are highly resource intensive. This strategic virtualization leads to significant cost savings.

Improve Program Discoverability

Providing just the right amount of software to meet demand needs to be supported by tools that help students and faculty find the software when and where they need it. 

“My teacher’s direction was simply: ‘the desktops on campus will have Adobe Premiere,’ but it’s hit or miss. You have to just figure out which ones have it and which ones don’t.”

Larissa Hale, Student, Utah State University

That experience of wandering around campus, looking for the resources you need is what we’re trying to avoid. LabStats provides 3 ways to help students and staff discover available software in real time:

  1. LabMaps – A live availability map of computers on campus that can be customized with a list of specialty software and displayed on digital signage or your school’s website.
  2. LabFind – A mobile app that directs students and staff to places on campus that have specialty software available for use.
  3. Remote Access Dashboard – A live dashboard that provides an easy way for faculty and students to find computers that have high CPU software installed, that they can remote into, from lower-spec personal machines.
Related: Rethinking Computer Lab Software Tracking 

Software monitoring and reporting is an essential tool for IT professionals looking to optimize software contracts, reduce spend and better serve students and staff both on and off campus.

Through working with thousands of universities around the world, we’ve dialed into about 80% of the software applications that most schools have in common, and we track them by default. 

LabStats automatically monitors over 200 software applications, and also covers version changes for the most common applications.

To learn how you can start monitoring software usage, contact us to start a free trial.

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