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March 2018 -  Gilles GOULAY


Optimize software licence, a priority for organizations

Digital transformation requires the CIO to prioritize the allocation of the company’s resources to innovate, to maximize the value creation and to optimize the risk management.

On these two points, it is a category of assets – always neglected in large companies – particularly interesting to optimize: software.

The amount of software that companies use is constantly increasing. Today, they represent between 30 and 40% of the IT budget. While companies are still very much in favor of perpetual licenses (over 90% of commercialized software), their management includes a number of challenges for the CIO.

An event has recently made this optimization even more relevant, the legalization by the European Union of the resale of software licenses.

Until now, a company, having duly acquired perpetual software licenses from a publisher but no longer using it, was not contractually entitled to resell it.

This constraint, specific to software assets, resulted in significant losses for businesses. In a judgment of the European Court of Justice of July, 3rd, 2012 (C-128/11), the European Union radically changed this situation.

A disruption for Software Asset Management

Publishers are no longer able to: 

  • condition the resale of a software license to their prior agreement
  • prohibit the principle of the resale of rights of use (license)
  • prevent resale

The clauses prohibiting the resale of the use rights present in most license agreements are null and void, retroactively.

Software owners can resell the licenses they no longer use.

A business can legally acquire licenses in the second-hand market, either in compliance or in new rollout.

About the Author:


is the COO of Softcorner. Gilles got a Computer Science Master’s degree at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie – Paris 6. He started his career in the R&D department of Philips Data Systems. Then he worked successively for three major software vendors: Datapoint, Filenet and EMC² where he moved gradually from pre-sales consultant to international sales management positions.

This career provided him a wide sales management experience, including direct sales with big accounts and international channel management, as well as a good knowledge of the software vendor practices. In 2013, observing the maturity of the software market, he decided to take advantage from his background and joined Softcorner as an associate.