What does it mean?

Now that you have your initial estimated license position, and you've looked at the data that this provides, it is time to interpret this data and decide on a strategy.

Often, an initial estimated license position can seem disappointing. Don't be disheartened. Usually, this is just because your data is not in the right shape, or some of it is missing: we have strategies to help with this, some of which are described in the following sections.

Before we look into improving your estimated license position, let's first look at what the results mean. In particular, let's consider the columns at the right of the data grid and what they are telling us.


The Liability column reports the number of units of a product that have been identified from your inventory data.

Does this look reasonable? This question is easier to answer if you filter the results by business unit: no one can be expected to have a feel for the software liabilities of a large organization, but maybe you can expect the head of each department to have a feel for what software their team is using.

You can filter the Data Summary page for a specific business unit by clicking All Business Units above the data grid and then selecting the required business unit.

Watch a related video (4:17)

If the head of a business unit says that they don't think that they have all of the software you say they have, then you need to investigate this further. Is your data collection wrong? Are there duplicates in your data? Or does the business unit actually have all of that software? And if it does have all of that software without realizing it, then does it actually need it all?

It is worth spending some time on ensuring the accuracy of this data, as much of the remaining analysis depends on you having an accurate record of your liability.


The Shortfall column reports how many licenses you are missing for a product. We need to investigate this – however, don't immediately go out and buy the licenses you appear to be missing. Some of these missing licenses might exist but need adding correctly. We will look at some strategies for handling this in the following sections.


The Surplus column reports how many valid licenses you have that have not been used to cover liability. Again, before you stop paying for these licenses, make sure that they are not covering liabilities that you have forgotten to record in the system.

If you have a surplus indicated after you have filtered your data summary by business unit, or if you have a surplus for a partial reconciliation run by business unit, look to see if this surplus can be used for a different business unit.


The Compliance column reports the percentage of liability that has been covered by valid licenses.

Total License Quantity

The Total License Qty column reports the number of units of valid licenses for the product that you have entered in the system. Again, as for liability, does this look reasonable? Heads of business units should have a feel for what software they have paid for, and should be able to tell you if they have spent money on a product that your reconciliation shows they have no licenses for.

What's Next?

We know what the columns on the Data Summary represent, but what does that tell us? Let's take a look at some examples: Understanding the numbers

More information

Data Summary – link to the Data Summary topic