AmRest operates restaurants such as Burger King, Pizza Hut and Starbucks in Central Europe, Eastern Europe and as far afield as China. It uses numerous retail and business software applications – from point-of-sale to engineering and business software – to support more than 25,000 staff.
Without strong controls in place, license management was extremely painstaking. Obtaining the right information regarding licenses and entitlement involved analyzing a mass of data. With multiple audits from major vendors to manage, accurate discovery for an IT estate across a global operation was a prerequisite for ensuring the company was correctly licensed.
The Snow Platform, comprising Snow License Manager, Snow Inventory and Software Recognition Service, is installed on-premise Snow enables the company to identify license risks and provides a platform for effective Software Asset Management.
- Accurate inventory and discovery giving full visibility and insight into actual license usage
- Identification of more than €150,000 of unlicensed and unauthorized software
- Optimization of licenses and significant cost reduction
- Introduction of business unit charge backs for license costs
- Creation of a white list of approved applications
Pawel Szczepaniak, Software License Manager at AmRest, explains the benefits of devoting resource to strong license management. “In less than 12 months thanks to Snow, I have been able to transform how the company views license management. As a result, the need for a new role was created to focus specifically manage and optimize licenses across AmRest’s global operations.”
Managing expensive software applications
AmRest is the largest independent restaurant operator in Central and Eastern Europe. Since 1993, it has built a portfolio of well-known brands such as KFC, Pizza Hut, Burger King and Starbucks based on franchise and joint venture partnerships. In 2012, it acquired two brands operating in China, giving the company a truly global presence.
Headquartered in Poland, Amrest operates an office in every country where it trades. Office staff each have at least one device and every restaurant has its own IT equipment. Globally, the company has 25,000 employees.
Pawel Szczepaniak, Software License Manager at AmRest, says, “Our datacenter has 300 servers supporting our IT infrastructure and virtualization is highly important. With a worldwide operation, it is challenging to monitor and manage what gets installed onto local machines. Each time AmRest acquires a company or opens a restaurant, we have to incorporate additional computers onto our network.”
Coping with a diverse and expanding IT infrastructure
AmRest has to manage diverse license requirements from an ever-expanding IT infrastructure. “Historically, multiple people have been able to authorize the purchase of software and without any tools in place to manage this process, we didn’t have a good overview of our licensing position,” Pawel explains. “In one country, all users have local admin rights so there are effectively no restrictions on what can be installed.
“This lack of transparency became a major issue. Also, it was important to make sense of our past usage and entitlement so that we would be well placed to sign a new Microsoft Enterprise Agreement later this year.
“Up until now we have relied on Microsoft SCCM but it could only manage basic inventory tasks. We needed a solution that could work remotely and give us the ability to quickly obtain the license inventory before the new computers are integrated into our Active Directory.”
Choosing the best licensing platform
AmRest turned to SoftwareONE, the global software licensing experts, for advice. Pawel Kurylowicz Business Development Manager, SoftwareONE says: “We always suggest the solution that is best suited to manage the specific client environment. AmRest has complex global licensing and our analysis showed that the Software Asset Management solution best aligned to meet its needs was Snow. It has the ability to provide AmRest with geographic coverage combined with powerful discovery, inventory and normalization capabilities.”
Pawel adds: “We did a Proof of Concept with the help of consultants from Snow. This confirmed our view that it would provide an efficient solution for our challenging requirements. We felt Snow would also give us a stable platform for future IT growth as well as facilitate strong license management.”
Appreciation for the Software Recognition Service
AmRest is using the on-premise version of Snow and Pawel is pleased with the functionality: “The reporting in Snow License Manager 8 is powerful. We are going to start sending reports to our senior management every month as they provide the top level visibility that they want to see.”
He adds: “However, my favorite part of Snow is the Software Recognition Service. SCCM provides details on the 50,000 application types used on our estate but it was just a sea of information. Software Recognition Service aggregates, cleanses and normalizes all software identified on our machines which takes the effort out of recognizing and understanding what applications have been installed.”
Reduced risk of license compliance failure
Pawel has seen a number of business benefits from installing Snow. “I am confident that by using Snow, we will be correctly licensed for our major software vendors such as Microsoft, Oracle and SAP. AmRest now has far greater control over its IT infrastructure. By installing Snow on each machine, we can even inventory computers that have yet to be integrated into our corporate environment.
“Using Snow, we have identified more than €100,000 of unlicensed and unauthorized software. By removing these applications, we benefit from increased security and reduced risk of compliance failures. We discovered a further €50,000 of software for which we have now purchased the correct licenses.”
To ensure stronger controls, the company has created a white list of approved applications and a blacklist of software it is in the process of eradicating from its environment. Pawel is confident he can manage these processes from afar. “Even though we are 6,500km from China, Snow enables us to control the local license environment according to robust corporate policies.”
Continually expanding the scope of Snow
There are a number of areas where AmRest is planning to embed Snow deeper into its software estate, as Pawel explains: “Once we have completed the process of preparing for our new Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, we will look at licensing around Oracle’s Micros point-of-sale system.
“A key aspect of Snow is the ability to help optimize licenses, specifically transferring spare or under-utilized licenses to where they are most needed. For example, our Chinese operation has just bought 200 Microsoft Office Standard licenses but, at the time, had we had the visibility that Snow provides, we could have potentially transferred licenses from our head office and saved the additional cost. Going forwards, Snow will also help with our future procurement requirements as we will be able to purchase only those licenses needed.”
He adds: “We are planning to make extensive use of Snow’s chargeback feature. This will enable us to accurately calculate and report on which businesses are using which software and how many licenses are required. Using this information, we will be able to recharge the individual business or country. This will ultimately help us minimize what we spend on software licenses globally.
“We are currently in the middle of an SAP audit. Once this is complete, we will use Snow Optimizer for SAP® Software to ensure we retain an optimized state through the year up until the next renewal. The ability to incrementally incorporate software vendors is a key strength of the Snow platform. Our experience of working with Snow has been positive and the support that we receive is professional and responsive.”