Case Study

Arup uses Snow to recoup Microsoft and Adobe licences

Cliff Saran

Independent architectural design firms Arup has used the software as a service (SaaS) Snow Licence Manager to make significant savings on its enterprise agreements with Microsoft and Adobe.

Snow License Manager is being used as a global licence repository to provide Arup’s software asset management (SAM) team with an accurate record of software installations and associated usage information, which is correlated with the organisation’s licensing entitlements.

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The company says it saved more than £1m in 11 months just from its enterprise agreements.

Globally, Arup’s IT is responsible for 14,000 devices, mainly Windows-based desktops, laptops and servers, used by more than 11,000 people globally.

It operates hundreds of offices around the world and local IT managers are responsible for their own software asset management process and have Snow accounts to manage licences proactively

Using data within Snow, Arup’s IT teams have been able to monitor software installations and hardware specifications, and are able to identify compliance issues or check whether an upgrade is needed.

Arup previously maintained global enterprise licensing agreements with Microsoft and Adobe. Each year the company would pay for any additional users, after receiving its annual report from each supplier. Prior to implementing a SAM platform, there was no way to easily track the actual usage of installed software.

Using Snow License Manager, Arup has implemented an ongoing process of internal software audits against primary software suppliers to ascertain actual software usage levels for future purchases. Snow allows Arup’s SAM team to see if users are running Excel in the Microsoft Office 365 suite or find out if they need InDesign from Arup’s Creative Cloud suite.

David Foxen, global SAM manager for Arup, said: "We do global deals with Microsoft and Adobe for Office 365 and Creative Cloud. Conducting regular software audits in Snow allowed us to reduce the number of inactive licences. We could also ensure Arup was maximising its current licence position. With our new Microsoft and Adobe enterprise agreements, we only renewed user licences that were relevant."

Snow replaces an Excel spreadsheet that Arup previously used to manage its software licences. "Previously it was tricky to be sure we were seeing the most up-to-date picture because you can never be totally confident when working from a spreadsheet," Foxen added.

The Snow License Manager service allows Arup to see which software products were actually being used, allowing the company to avoid buying the complete Microsoft and Adobe suites.

Foxen said: "With Adobe we could see who was an occasional user and create a pool of Adobe licences."

When we explain the cost difference they immediately appreciate it’s an unnecessary expense – we’ve eliminated any ‘them and us’ mentality

At Arup, requests to install new software are handled through ServiceNow IT service management SaaS tool. Arup’s software packaging team take the service request and install the software from the company’s pool of Adobe licences. Foxen says Snow is then used to charge the licence back to the business group requesting the software.

"Users often don’t realise the cost of software or might request the pro version or a full suite when actually, looking at the usage information within Snow, their requirements would be met with a less costly alternative. When we explain the cost difference they immediately appreciate it’s an unnecessary expense – we’ve eliminated any ‘them and us’ mentality."

Arup has also created a starters and leavers process, to make sure licences are replenished when people leave the company. Foxen said: "We get an automated message from ServiceNow that a person has left, and receive a notification of machine name [of their laptop or desktop] and we then return the licence to our licence pool." As part of the process for handling starters and leavers, if a machine is reused, it gets completely wiped and all licences are removed.

For non-standard software, users need to get sign off over several lines of approval before the licence is acquired. Once the software acquisition has been approved by finance and a cost centre, Foxen’s team receives a ServiceNow message for the new software. "We can then check our licence pool and if we do not have a licence, we can come back with price for acquiring the software. It is a stringent process, but we can turn around requests quickly."

A further benefit of having a SAM process is that it helps Arup when suppliers ask for a software audit. Foxen said both Adobe and Microsoft are aware of Arup’s SAM programme. If there are any questions on usage, he says he can send over the licence usage reporting data collected in Snow.


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