A 2020 study by Kivuto and University Business found that most colleges and universities in the US still manage software licenses in a decentralized way. Each department has its own system and tools for procuring, tracking, and delivering software to students.
This approach creates many problems for institutions, IT staff, and students. Centralizing the management and distribution of software and other digital resources should be a priority for schools that haven’t yet done so.
Here are the top benefits of centralizing digital-resource management at your institution.
Obtaining course software can be a labyrinthine process for students – especially at institutions that distribute software in an inconsistent way.
As established, it’s common for each department at a school (and sometimes even individual educators) to have their own means of making course software available. This forces many students to learn multiple procedures and platforms to get all the software they need, creating a confusing and frustrating user experience.
Centralizing campus-wide software distribution creates a one-stop shop where students can access all digital assets they need through a single platform, following a single process, and using a single set of sign-in credentials. This eliminates all confusion over what software each student is eligible for, where they go to get it, and how.
Centralizing digital-resource management simplifies life for school staff as well as students. The survey cited earlier found almost two thirds of IT leaders in education find this task challenging. This is no surprise, given how many institutions still take the decentralized approach.
Decentralized license management requires IT staff to master multiple siloed systems and processes. It relies on a patchwork of platforms and applications that may not integrate or share information adequately. For technical support staff, it makes it harder to provide straight answers to students seeking software. And since decentralized distribution creates a confusing user experience, it’s likely to result in more support tickets for those staff to handle.
Managing licenses centrally simplifies and reduces the IT work involved. When staff only have to follow one process and familiarize themselves with one platform, they can learn and perform the job more quickly and effectively.
Boosts Adoption Rates
As established, centralizing software delivery improves the user experience for students. This can benefit institutions too, as a simple user experience can lead to higher software adoption rates across campus.
Most schools struggle with shelfware – excess software licenses that go unused, on which institutions waste millions of dollars per year. This is partially due to the complexities of procurement and challenges of accurately assessing demand (more on that below). However, many licenses go unclaimed because students simply aren’t aware that they’re available or where to get them.
When all software is offered through the same central platform, there’s no risk of students being unaware of what’s available to them or where and how to get it. This clarity can go a long way toward boosting adoption rates and minimizing shelfware.
Institutions rely on clear and detailed data. This includes data on the adoption and usage of licensed software.
Visibility into software adoption rates can help institutions avoid overspending. When this visibility covers the entire campus rather than a single department, schools can consolidate purchases to secure better bulk pricing from vendors. And knowing who is accessing licensed software, and that they’ve accepted all associated terms and conditions, can reduce compliance-related risk.
But when software licenses are managed in a decentralized fashion, it can be difficult for institutions to access this data. Siloed systems for distributing software can provide only a fragment of the full picture needed to guide procurement, minimize risk, and maximize purchasing power.
A centralized solution for managing/distributing software gives academic IT, Procurement, and Software Licensing teams a single point of truth from which to access data on campus-wide license adoption. This makes it much easier for them to access and leverage this data, without having to piece it together from reports generated from multiple departmental systems.
Centralized Management and Distribution of Digital Resources
Centralize digital-resource management to simplify life for staff and students. Kivuto Cloud can help.