Thursday, April 29, 2010

Manage your software efficiently for significant cost savings!

Ever wondered why you are unable to update your anti-virus software? Chances are that you are running a pirated version of the Windows OS! That itself opens your system and network up to cyber threats and other attacks! Yes, I know! Prices of software, at least the relevant ones, aren't that low! However, you don't have much choice, do you?

Now, if you were using original software in your computer, you won't really face this problem! It means, you are mananging your asset -- in this case, the software. To run your feature rich programs, you need robust software that is sometimes (or, nearly, all the times) expensive!

Okay! Imagine an enterprise using counterfeit or pirated software. Will it face problems? Surely, very serious ones, in the short and long terms. Now what if a public sector undertaking was using pirated software? Perhaps, that would directly impact the services, and in most cases, e-governamce services that it offers.

Keeping all of these in mind, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) has launched a SAM (software asset management) program for public sector undertakings (PSUs) based in the Indian state of Karnataka. This is the first SAM initiative for PSUs in partnership with Centre of e-Governance, Government of Karnataka.Dr. D.S. Ravindran, CEO, Centre of e-Governance, Government of Karnataka, said: “In the last year, the IT spend by the government was close to Rs. 300 crore. All PSUs are now also coming up with their own IT needs and it is important to adopt this standard of SAM with good IT governance practices in order to enable the state of Karnataka to be more productive and cost-efficient.”

The Centre of e-Governance, Government of Karnataka has two key mandates -- putting in place an entire core network infrastructure across the state for e-governance services, and, to expand the capacity and program of running the e-governance initiatives.

Dr. Ravindran added: "We have connected 30,000 offices across the state thru the wide area WAN. We have done over Rs. 22,000 crores worth of procurement over our e-governance platform."

As for capacity building, the Centre assists the State Government Departments to build e-governance initiatives. The PSUs in the state of Karnataka are among the very significant IT spenders. This makes it necessary to create an awareness on the best practices regarding software usage among the PSUs, as 'there is a persistent move to bring in more IT into governance.'

He said there is a need for the PSUs to adopt the good IT practices. In this regard, M.N. Vidyashankar, Principal Secretary, Department of e-Governance, Government of Karnataka, has been providing excellent leadership. A lot of PSUs within the state are participating in the initiative, while some others are on the path of doing so.

Dr. Ravindran said that the Centre is also working on a Karnataka government portal to offer all kinds of services. The need to bring IT into administration is to improve the internal efficiencies and deliver better citizen services.

Lizum Mishra, director, India, BSA, added that SAM has started as a pilot in Karnataka. Maharashtra has been the second state to get into this activity. Other states should follow thereafter, over a period of time. She said that SAM as a concept is still new to India. SAM is an ISO standard -- ISO/IEC 19770:1-2006, published by the BSI (Bureau of Indian Standards) in 2006.

Keshav S. Dhakad, Chair, India Committee 2010, BSA, highlighted that the BSA has programs running in over 80 countries. In 2009, Karnataka partnered with the BSA for the SAM leadership program. Maharashtra joined the program in 2009-10, becoming the second Indian state to do so.

Dhakad noted that SAM is about people, process and software. Effective management of software can lead to significant cost savings. Yet, many corporatons, of all sizes, simply do little or nothing to manage their software. Time for all that to change!

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