The IT department at the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham has deployed a software asset tracking application to ensure licence compliance and reduce costs.
The department is responsible for major systems underpinning areas such as council tax, payroll, housing benefits and rent on managed properties. It has 120 locations and more than 3,500 machines, approximately one third of which operate as thin clients. It also has about 100 mobile users equipped with laptops and PDAs.
The council had a three-year agreement with Microsoft, which allowed it to receive bulk discounts on Microsoft and other suppliers' software. When the contract was due to expire in September 2003, the IT department took a fresh look at its options.
"Microsoft's Enterprise Agreement was attractive at that stage because it would have allowed us to deploy the same software as many times as we liked while remaining compliant with the licence terms," said council IT contracts manager Paul Dooley.
"It meant that we did not need to track which applications we had purchased, installed and deployed, but it was prohibitively expensive."
Instead Dooley decided to adopt a software product from Monactive that would track the use of its IT assets to ensure the council complied with licence regulations. He also calculated that such a system would save money by clawing back and re-using IT assets.
The council deployed Monactive Activesam on a single server at its head office, using agents to apply it to its additional sites.
Activesam monitored all IT assets and gave IT details of purchases, licence entitlements and actual IT usage.
It identified how many versions of the same program the council was running. For example, Activesam found eight versions of Microsoft Office, from 97, through 2000 to XP in both standard and professional versions.
"For the first time we can see who is using what and can identify where such a mixed IT environment might cause problems," said Dooley.
"This helps us prioritise the software and hardware we need to replace, so we maintain operating efficiency without superfluous expenditure."
Activesam allowed Hammersmith & Fulham to pool its IT assets and redistribute them. It also helped the council to demonstrate licence compliance, said Dooley.
He calculated that the software system had delivered a 10% reduction in total cost of ownership and a 10-fold return on investment in the first year of its use.
The council now plans to apply Activesam across all its terminal servers to gain further savings.