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Reading software usage conditions and policies is critical to maintaining compliance, but it takes time. Learn how much and how to save time with B-lay.

Time Cost of Reading Usage Documents

If you were to read all the documentation for all the software products your company uses, how long would it take you?

A recent newspaper article told of a cable company updating its usage conditions and privacy policy. The journalist mentioned a study performed by two researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh about the time it takes to read the kind of documentation the cable company was updating. Their research concluded it would take the average American Internet user 25 days to read all the privacy policies they encounter online in a year. If you were employed to read privacy policies for a company for 8-hour days, it would take you 76 workdays to complete the task.

If it would take that long just to read privacy policies, how long would it take to read and understand software usage conditions? At first, it seems that there would be a lot more websites with privacy policies visited by the average Internet user than software documentation to be read. However, reading all the terms & conditions, policies, business practice documents, program documentation, and other documentation for each and every software your company uses could actually be just as labor-intensive as reading all those privacy policies.

To make matters worse, many software products actually contain products from other software publishers (open source or proprietary), who have their own terms & conditions and other documentation. Additionally, many information sources that should be read are not in one document, but rather placed under a URL that contains a whole library full of software usage information.

Consuming all that information for your company’s software usage would take at least 40% of an employee’s time. And unlike most website privacy policies, the conditions of the software products you use also need to find their way into your company’s policies and procedures to ensure compliance and optimize costs. Combine reading all that usage data with ensuring your tools collect the right data and that the terms of use are implemented into corporate rules, and you easily have yourself a full-time job!

B-lay Can Give You a (Reading) Break

Reading, understanding, and correctly using software usage conditions are important aspects of license management. The real question isn’t how long it takes, but if that investment is time well spent for a license manager. One solution is to let B-lay read all that documentation and summarize it for you. That way, your license managers and IT staff can focus on more important matters – using the knowledge to avoid risk, cut costs, optimize allocations, and assure compliance.

This article was published on 31-10-2013