An ELP, or “Effective License Position,” is a report that details an organization’s license compliance position with one or more software vendors.

An ELP is produced when you compare the software licenses you have purchased with the amount of software deployed (i.e. installed on your network).

ELPs are the cornerstone of Software Asset Management. You cannot practice SAM without them.

They are also the most important piece of evidence in your defense during a software audit because they are the simplest way to prove your compliance.

An ELP is produced by completing the following two steps:

  1. Scanning the network to identify what software is being used (deployment data)
  2. Reviewing software purchase history to create a consolidated record of all software purchases (entitlements data)


The process of creating the ELP starts with taking the results of section A and matching it to the results of section B.

This may sound simple, but there are many complicating factors:

  1. Scanning the network for deployed software should be thorough and complete. Missing deployment data will affect the stats and the whole position. Garbage in = Garbage out.

  2. Some environments cannot be scanned (VLANS, disconnected networks, high security environments and more). Such data should therefore be detected manually and added into the reports in a correct manner. It is important to set time aside to update these records on a regular basis otherwise the ELP will quickly become out-of-date.

  3. Creating a software entitlements list that is clear and usable for the ELP is not an easy process. Does your organization keep good records of the software it has purchased? It is rarely stored in a central location for convenient access. You must be prepared to wade through many different metrics, product histories, quantities that do not add up, and more.

  4. You must also bear in mind that some entitlements are linked to specific hardware so cannot be re-harvested, while some licensing agreements may provide free upgrades, discounts or  limitations that you were not aware of. All of this information and subtleties need to be known, understood and considered when preparing the entitlement data. Therefore, the ELP  analysis, insights, conclusions and report recommendations must be performed and provided by someone who knows software licensing extremely well.


Bottom line, an ELP is an essential tool to provide you with a clear and straight forward picture of your company’s compliance state,

while also helping you to minimize software overspend and vendor audit exposure.

We therefore advise all our customers to complete a self-audit ELP at least once a year for each

of the major vendors (Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, VMWare, IBM, Adobe and such).

For more information and support, contact us at:

Dec 2020