Insurer saves up to 90% on licences by using software tracking tool

In a bid to reduce licence costs, property insurer St Paul International Insurance has deployed Tivoli Licence Manager, a tool...

In a bid to reduce licence costs, property insurer St Paul International Insurance has deployed Tivoli Licence Manager, a tool from IBM that tracks the software used within an organisation.

St Paul is the first European company to implement the new IBM software. Installed by system integrator Elyzium, Tivoli Licence Manager has been distributed to 750 users in five offices.

The data produced by Licence Manager has been used to help St Paul identify savings when purchasing Microsoft Office licences.

Matt Barlow, IT director at St Paul, said Tivoli Licence Manager enabled the company to identify that it had bought too many copies of Microsoft Access. "We were able to reduce the number of licensed copies of Access from 300 to 50," he said.

Having identified the number of Access users in the company, Barlow decided that he could not justify purchasing Microsoft Office Professional Edition, which contains Access.

Instead, he opted for Microsoft Standard Edition, which does not contain Access, and bought individual licences for users who needed it. By replacing the Professional edition with the Standard edition of Office, Barlow estimated that he saved about £150 per user.

A common problem Barlow identified when using Tivoli Licence Manager was that when staff left the company and a replacement took over a PC, the new staff member would not necessarily need the same software.

The Tivoli software was used to check which software was loaded onto each machine. IT staff could then remove any redundant packages, thus reducing the number of unnecessary licences.

Barlow said there was a possibility of reducing the costs of Microsoft licensing even further in the future. "We know that 80% to 90% of our staff do not use Powerpoint, so it does not make sense to purchase it," he said.

Potentially, the company could license individual copies of software from Microsoft, such as Word or Excel, rather than the entire suite.

St Paul also found it could save additional money by purchasing a site licence for the shareware Winzip compression tool, rather than paying an individual fee for each user.

Barlow said another possible use for Tivoli Licence Manager would be in tracking the level of software patches used on machines within the company. This would enable the implementation of automatic patching.

"As we develop automatic patching we will be able to see what software build is running on each PC across the company," Barlow said.

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