Tag those assets!

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Content Copyright © 2014 Bloor. All Rights Reserved.
Also posted on: The Norfolk Punt

One of the minor governance issues I write about is the need for automated discovery and management of software assets—including Open Source Software. I often think that commercial vendors must have made this difficult by design—with inconsistent software ID’s in their products and complicated licensing schemes. After all, who benefits from frightened customers licensing stuff twice over in case they get audited? For that matter, who benefits from licensed but unused shelfware?

Whatever the truth of that possible conspiracy against customers (and perhaps incompetence is as likely as conspiracy), there are welcome signs that things are changing. Here is a very good article from IBM targeting CIOs, that makes most of the points about SWID (SoftWare IDentification Tags) that I’d want to. And, as software tagging is, in my opinion, fundamental to good software asset management, the fact that this comes from a major software vendor (although SWID must be driven by customers demanding SWID support from vendors, as the IBM article points out), give me cause for real optimism.

I really think that Software IDs are exciting—and necessary. I suggest that readers check out tagvault.org (which is the non-profit organisation behind all this) sooner rather than later.