Getting started: license management in complex environments
Just imagine you are in charge for license management in a company with 12,000 employees, managing 10,000 clients and 2,000 servers – and if that wouldn’t be too much, there is Microsoft knocking at your door and waving with an audit letter. What do you do? Well, here’s what Vinci Energies did:
VINCI Energies in Germany is divided into six different brands. This complex, large group structure presents a challenge in terms of Software Asset Management. How are the existing licenses analyzed, how is compliance ensured and a future-proof license situation provided for without losing sight of the bigger picture?
The project in facts & figures
- Number of integrated devices: 10,000 clients & 2,000 servers
- 6 linked business divisions (brands)
- A fended-off Microsoft audit
- Project launch: July 2017
- Solution: USU Software Asset Management
We have maintained a successful partnership with USU for many years. We remain convinced of the flexibility, quality and many possibilities of their strategic Software Asset Management solutions.Mathias Sellnow, Senior Manager SAM at Axians
What impact does such a structure have on license management?
VINCI Energies is an international group whose focus, as a service provider, lies on energy supply, electro and automation solutions, information and communication technology (ICT), industry insulation, noise and fire protection and facilities management. This wide range of service solutions is represented by various, specialized brands.
In the past, license procurement and analysis were completely controlled by the parent company; the individual brands did not assume any responsibility for this. Within the scope of an annual stock take, only the existing number of clients from the individual departments were reported in a central location. However, the problem with this is: Nobody could verify exactly whether this figure was correct – so the performance audit proved to be very difficult.
Management demands clarity!
The management pledged the following results from a central, standardized Software Asset Management system:
- Realistic and long-term budget planning for licenses and software
- The introduction of a working ticket system for software acquisition
- Optimized license acquisition processes with improved approval procedure
- Introduction of software metering: Which programs are actually used?
- Effective cost allocation for cloud products
- Generating value by analyzing data collected
Luckily, VINCI Energies already had the right partner in-house. Axians is the VINCI Energies brand for information and communication technology that supports companies, local authorities and public bodies, network operators and service providers in modernizing their digital infrastructure and solutions. This also includes Software Asset Management services.
In the Software Asset Management sector, Axians has already worked successfully with USU as a partner for many years – but until now only with external customers. Among others, these include successful large-scale projects in the health sector and for hospitals. Based on the countless positive experiences from the joint projects, USU solutions were the obvious choice for Axians and VINCI Energies.
Finding a solution - one business sector at a time
Ultimately, it was time to tackle the processes and structures in their own company. Axians’ major advantage as a fulfillment service provider, is that they are already familiar with the organization and structure of their own company. So, it didn’t take long to develop the project plan and methods for introducing a company-wide license management system. The strategy? One business segment at a time. After all, in the end, a total of 10,000 clients and 2,000 servers must be centrally managed across all brands. In July 2017, the project commenced with the smallest, and from a software perspective, the most manageable business segment. Little by little, each business segment was connected, screened, analyzed, and all data was brought up to a uniform compliance standard. VINCI Energies in Germany is currently in the last stage of the project.
In such a large and diverse group like VINCI Energies, there are many different demands. But working together, the individual units move in unison like clockwork. So, integrating the additional segments proved to be an exciting challenge. But most importantly, Axians’ SAM project managers have always been able to get the respective management leads excited about the benefits of Software Asset Management, and show them the benefits of a central database for the project. Infected with the SAM fever and spurred on by the early economic benefits, each business unit has been able to quickly and easily prepare for the central license management system and been mapped using USU Software Asset Management.
Trial by fire: Microsoft Audit proves the benefits of the project
In fact, VINCI Energies in Germany was caught off guard during the project with an audit letter from Microsoft. With the strategic SAM work they had already completed, they were able to respond quickly, saving significant time, as such an audit would have tied up important resources for several months. Additionally, with the aid of USU, they were able to optimize the installed software licenses: For example, on-premises software was installed at some locations, although the corresponding cloud products were licensed and available. Such over-licensing was thus uncovered and quickly remedied. Hence, Axians was able to achieve the expected cost savings in their company – to the delight of the senior management team.
What happens next?
The project is currently transitioning toward Managed SAM, and strategic SAM is being implemented at the last brand. Once that work is completed, the long-term plans include mapping the entire VINCI Energies Group, together with all manufacturers and operating counties, into the central license management system. Another major challenge, but one that promises substantial financial as well as time savings.