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Aspera GmbH (GmbH) is a software license management solution provider founded in Aachen, Germany in 2000. Aspera is the first company to approach Software Asset Management (SAM) processes from the entitlement side. Aspera is the first company to provide entitlement-centric software license management technology, process knowledge, and consulting to large enterprises.[1]

Entitlement-centric software license management[2] differs from asset-centric software license management in that the processes are not built around the hardware, the location of the software, but rather around the rights provided by the license—a virtual asset.

Contrary to hardware, software is an exception to traditional IT asset management methods, because it only exists in digital form. In principle, software can be copied and installed an endless amount of times—it only has a virtual value. And the use of software is not automatically tied to the product use rights (PUR), so it’s possible (and often a reality) to use software without the required product use rights. To protect software publishers' copyright laws stipulate that entitlement to use the software must be acquired in the form a license or product use right (software license).

Because of the large amounts of software used in organizations and the increasing amount of varying license models the need for software license management to ensure legal entitlement has become very important. Many organizations invest in software asset management to reduce software expenses as well.


Aspera was founded by Christof Beaupoil, Bernhard Boehler, and Keith Sauvant. Boehler worked at Software Spectrum with large organizations, and realized that there was a disconnect between software installations and software licenses. Companies trying to reconcile the two did not have the means to effectively and reliably map the product use rights to the related software installation to prove entitlement to use the software. Together Boehler, Beaupoil, and Sauvant developed Aspera SmartTrack to address this need.


SmartTrack is designed to build a repository of all the licenses a company purchases and to map out the respective product use rights. This is done with a catalog containing the software manufacturers' stock keeping unit (SKU) for each product. The SKU is particularly important because it is the ony unique identifier of the software product and its product use rights.

Since the founding of the company in 2000 Aspera has been providing a SKU catalog and SmartTrack is designed with built-in catalog logic. The SKU catalog enables the highest recognition rate of license and entitlement information in procurement and contract data. On the procurement side these data are captured and verified against the catalog and automatically processed to extract relevant data for the license and entitlement inventory.

Other SAM providers began compiling their own SKU catalogs only recently in the last few years (2007 and later). Their products are not originally designed to manage software licenses and assets with this type of technology.

The catalog is the core of entitlement-centric SAM and provides the benefit of extensively automating all processes related to license and installation data.

On the technical side Aspera SmartTrack maps the signatures of the software installations to the licensable product name. The tool then maps the product use rights to the software installation through the licenable product name. In this way, companies can reconcile the licenses they own/purchase against the software installed in their networks and manage license compliance and mitigate risks.[3]

Because of its entitlement-centric approach, issues that arise from the increased complexity in license models for virtualization and server license management are easily mapped and handled in the software license management tool.[4]


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