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Customer Snapshot: Great American Financial Resources (Part 2)

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This post represents Part II of an Express Software Manager customer case study. You can read Part I here.

Part II: Investing Wisely in IT Asset Management

Transitioning from Novell ZENworks to a more functional software asset management (SAM) solution was the right decision, but not an easy one for Bryant Caldwell, Director of IT Asset Management and Finance for the Annuities Group of Great American Financial Resources.

To select the most effective solution for the complex and critical IT infrastructure under his oversight, Caldwell applied a number of rigorous selection criteria. The key issues he considered are outlined below.

1) Robust compliance analysis and auditing

While many organizations have the best of intentions, it can be difficult to stay compliant since vendors typically don’t do a good job providing clear direction on interpreting licensing agreements. For example, Microsoft changed their licensing policy for their 2012 products from a CPU license or server model to a “per core” model, where each license is valid for a defined number of processors or processor cores.

The implications? Server applications that run on multiple processors or cores on a single server might require multiple licenses. And if you are running Microsoft titles from other years concurrently with 2012 products, they will probably have different licensing terms. It’s therefore important to have an ITAM solution that can do a deep dive on each product showing exactly who is using it and how it’s being used.

Data analysis and presentation need to be intuitive and robust, particularly when it comes to vendor audits, which are very disruptive to day-to-day business. Caldwell gave Express Software Manager top marks for enabling him to quickly and easily pull up the data required for an audit and provide proof of their license position. As a result, the Annuities Group has sailed through audits with no license infractions.

2) Controlling licensing spend

Caldwell found that Express Software Manager has been indispensable in enabling the IT team to determine who is actually using a particular application simply by reviewing the product’s software metering data. His department is under constant pressure to control costs and ensure that no products are lying dormant when they might be candidates for re-harvesting. This insight is also valuable in making decisions about license renewals.

3) Accurate software recognition

It was key for Caldwell to find a solution that could accurately identify installed software titles and pinpoint their locations. He told us, “My team doesn’t have time to waste sifting through mounds of data. Express Software Manager has a superior ability to perform these tasks.” He also points out that the product’s ability to locally fingerprint non-mainstream or in-house applications is key in allowing him to incorporate them into the overall compliance picture.

4) Low cost of entry, easy and efficient management

Caldwell needed to reverse the administrative headaches of the previous ITAM solution as well as keep costs in check. “With Express Software Manager, we have modules for software inventory, application usage, and IT purchasing with a similar look and feel to the older versions of ZENworks—but at a very low cost of entry and 40% lower maintenance fees. Installation and configuration of Express Software Manager took less than a single workday, without requiring support services. Agent deployment to new workstations is quick and easy, and new machine inventories are available in fewer than 20 minutes.”

Caldwell believes the Express Software Manager best-of-breed approach offers significantly greater efficiencies than other solutions, particularly with respect to administrative overhead. The dashboard GUI is intuitive and logical, and Caldwell has found it to be very accurate. “It takes much less time to administer the product and figure out, ‘Are we compliant?’ With Express Software Manager, you click the button and get results.”

5) World-class customer support

Caldwell has found Express Software Manager support to be extremely responsive. “The software runs without issues, and when you do need to call, you get a live voice on the other end. Normally, you’d pay a premium for this level of support.”

The Bottom Line

By creating systematic selection processes based on pre-established criteria, Caldwell gave himself the ammunition to reduce administrative overhead, lower costs and improve efficiencies. He is very pleased with the results he’s achieved since making the switch; in his own words, “Express Software Manager is a very good product and I have the results to prove it!”