Merging the North West NHS trusts from across a large area left NWAS with a problem; they lacked a comprehensive view or adequate control over the software licensing systems for the whole NHS trust. Whilst a SAM tool (Software Asset Management) was in place, NWAS found that it was failing to meet their requirements for both asset discovery and metering of applications. Alongside this, the SAM tool was not proving to be user friendly which was compounded by a lack of support from the tool’s suppliers.
Aware of these problems, the NHS Trust consulted Trustmarque and the decision was made to use Snow Software’s Inventory SAM tool, hosted at Trustmarque’s data centre in York. Initially NWAS chose four vendors to be analysed and Trustmarque then produced the Effective Licence Position (ELP) for each vendor.
Looking back at the implementation of Snow, Kate Cushion, IT Security Manager at NWAS notes:
“Since deploying Snow Inventory SAM tool via the Hosted Managed Service the North West Ambulance Service is now aware of the software licensing position of four major vendors and we are working towards that same knowledge for all vendors that are in use within NWAS. Moving forward, using Snow is continuing to help NWAS to proactively manage our licensing due to ease of use and the metering data it provides”.
Regaining Control of the Software Assets
Now that the Snow SAM tool is up and running Kate observes that the Trust is in an excellent position to manage their software moving forward: “The Licence Management element of Snow is exceptional compared to that of many other SAM tools, many of which merely act as “sniffers” providing meaningless licence information that can be a nightmare to manage. Trustmarque’s Snow specialist consultant, however, has provided training, knowledge transfer and a policy and procedure review to enable NWAS to continue using Snow, ensuring ongoing software compliancy.”
Key Returns on Investment
- Comprehensive software licence discovery using Snow Software Inventory
- Ongoing SAM Tool using Trustmarque’s Snow Hosted Managed Service
- A better understanding of software use by NWAS, including the opportunity to ‘re-harvest’ any unused licences and avoid un-necessary future purchases
- The ability to make informed decisions when reviewing software licensing budgets
- Confidence in NWAS Software Licence Compliance and an easier approach to any future vendor audits
- Training for staff enabling them to make the most of the new Snow SAM tool
- The ability for NWAS to only pay for the software they need and use what they pay for
“During the SAM tool review Trustmarque worked with all key areas within IM&T (Information Management &Technology) to ensure full historical software licensing information was available to facilitate the accuracy of the organisation’s software licence position. The hosted service has enabled us to monitor our entire estate across Cheshire & Mersey, Lancashire, Cumbria and Greater Manchester Areas. The deployment of Snow has provided NWAS with an accurate software licensing position for all software installed.”