Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) establishes company-wide SAM system

Successful Implementation of USU Software Asset Management
Öbb Logo

As a transportation service provider, the ÖBB Group moves around 460 million passengers and over 111 million tons of goods to destinations annually – and does so in an environmentally friendly manner. This makes ÖBB one of Europe's best railway operators. With over 96% of services running on time and around 40,000 employees, ÖBB offers a comprehensive travel experience. Since 2014, the ÖBB Group has relied on Aspera’s technology and expertise to implement a company-wide, tool-supported license management system.

Software Asset Management:
The Track to Success

ÖBB has covered a great distance in creating an integrated software license management system. Despite the challenges of a heterogeneous, complex IT landscape and a difficult data acquisition process, ÖBB laid the organizational and technical foundations methodically, strategically and on time. License management is now widely accepted in the company and contributes significantly to overall success.

By enabling access to current and transparent data, it’s now possible to quickly retrieve data for any audit request and to negotiate with software producers on a level playing field. This not only leads to low internal audit expenditure, but also to significantly improved master agreements based on actual use. Software license compliance is also guaranteed. Furthermore, current software inventory and installation data offer the basis for the accounting of actual quantities for the technical departments.

Though there are still stations to be built and tracks to be laid, ÖBB is speeding ahead on its course to efficiency, transparency, and cost advantages on the rails of USU Software Asset Management.


The success of this project is the reward for designing a large-scale process of change. Alongside significant time and cost savings, we succeeded in raising awareness for software license management in the group.

Hirsa Navid, License Manager, Business Development, ÖBB BCC IT GmbH

At a glance

The Organization

Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB)


Railway transportation

Employees (2016)

Approx. 40,000

Turnover (2016)

> $5.6 bn


About Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB)

Around 460 million passengers make use of ÖBB's diverse services each year in order to reach their destination safely and in an environmentally friendly manner. The Austrian Federal Railway was founded in 1923, and has undergone a series of organisational and structural changes through the decades up until the present day. Today, the parent company ÖBB-Holding-AG has three operative subsidiaries assigned to it: ÖBB Personenverkehr AG, Rail Cargo Austria AG, and ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG.

Mission & Project Milestones

  • Create a comprehensive plan for centralized SAM including roles, processes, documentation, and training
  • Install a test environment with USU SAM for client software
  • Develop interfaces and standard connectors to all relevant IT systems to collect and consolidate data
  • Optimize data quality in client and server environments
  • Compliance for Microsoft products mid-2015 and Adobe in early 2016
  • Successive roll out of SAM for IBM, Oracle, and VMWare is already planned


  • Establish a centralized software license management system throughout the whole company
  • Define roles, responsibilities, and the structure of standardized processes for a successful SAM program
  • Implement a software asset management system for both client and server sectors
  • Secure significant cost benefits in IT procurement
  • Create and ensure compliance in a highly heterogeneous setting

Why USU?

  • The USU solution exceeds the functional demands of the ÖBB Group
  • Software flexibility combined with consultants’ expertise allow both the complex, heterogeneous organizational structure and individual needs to be mapped in a customer-oriented manner
  • Integration ability and interface guarantee high data quality
  • Proven price-performance ratio and excellent references – successful implementation of similar customer projects

Project Goals

  • Increase awareness of software license management value within the corporate group
  • Establish a cohesive license management system throughout the entire company with consistent, documented processes and decentralized responsibilities
  • Guarantee software license compliance with high-quality, up-to-date data about license contracts and software use
  • Optimize vendor contracts and purchases for cost savings and transparency
  • Make faster decisions based on current data and reports

Complex IT & Company Structure

The decentralized company structure presented ÖBB with special challenges in setting up and implementing a company-wide software license management system. This is because the various sites and IT departments of the individual companies use hundreds of software products, which are all subject to a variety of license agreements. Over time, identifying this data became highly resource-intensive and risked human error since the task was carried out manually. ÖBB’s most important goal was to construct a centrally-controlled, tool-supported license management system which could ensure compliance at all times, using a transparent database. Following a comprehensive market evaluation, ÖBB decided on USU’s solution and expertise.

The Data Quality Challenge

The first step was to develop a basic concept for introducting the USU solution. IT colleagues from a variety of departments were informed in order to win them over as "license coordinators" and "application owners." Developing the necessary procedural, technical and organizational framework was a pioneering accomplishment.

The next step was to create a transparent overview of the Microsoft licenses used, as well as their commercial status. After creating a test environment, collecting, bundling and merging the data presented a unique hurdle. All the Active Directory information had to be collected from different IT domains. This involved several challenges such as problems recognizing interfaces and signatures, problems reading Citrix and server data, or relational issues in assigning virtual and physical hosts. After establishing and cleaning up the database, it was successfully imported into the USU Software Asset Management solution. Using an iterative process, the knowledge gained was applied for Adobe products used throughout the company, and then again for Oracle data. Compliance could also be gradually ensured for these manufacturers.

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