Glenn Howells Architects

Snow gives me the confidence that we are properly licensed at all times.
Jonathan Carthy, Head of IT at Glenn Howells Architects
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Glenn Howells Architects is a UK architectural practice with offices in Birmingham and London that extensively uses CAD applications such as Revit and Vectorworks.


Specialist software applications such as Autodesk’s Building Design Suite that are required for architecture design equal extremely expensive and complex licensing requirements. The challenge for the SAM team at Glenn Howells Architects was to avoid overspend while optimizing software availability.


Snow License Manager, Snow Inventory and Software Recognition Service were provided by Softcat under a hosted model. The solution has empowered Glenn Howells Architects to optimize software licenses while minimizing the effort involved in a proactive Software Asset Management (SAM) strategy.



Jonathan Carthy, Head of IT at Glenn Howells Architects says: “Snow gives me the confidence that we are properly licensed at all times and has helped to improve our processes and IT service delivery alongside achieving cost optimization.”


Glenn Howells Architects is a design-led architectural practice with an award-winning reputation. It uses several specialist architectural and design tools. The niche nature of Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Building Information Modeling (BIM) applications is reflected in their cost: a single license for Autodesk Building Design Suite can cost £7,000 or more.

Jonathan Carthy, Head of IT at Glenn Howells Architects, explains: “Although we have a relatively small user base, the license cost involved is incredibly expensive. We cannot run our business without these applications which makes accurate license management massively important. Our goal is to make sure that we are not under or over-licensed.”


An audit by Autodesk in 2015 revealed a number of issues.“We didn’t have any license management tools then so it made the audit a painful and time consuming process,” Jonathan says. “Without clarity over how many licenses were in use and what versions were needed, we were found to be under-licensed.

“Many architectural practices have similar issues over license monitoring and compliance and several of our peers were turning to Snow Software. We wanted a SAM solution that would eliminate our audit risk and Snow ticked every box, including working with a trusted partner, Softcat.”


“What we needed was a more effective way of maintaining an accurate inventory and improving license compliance. Snow’s discovery, inventory and software recognition capabilities allow complicated licensing metrics to be managed and optimized efficiently,” comments Jonathan. “A Proof of Concept showed that Snow met our requirements closely so it was a straightforward decision to purchase Snow License Manager.”

“A combination of the hosted implementation of Snow License Manager and the assistance of a Softcat licensing specialist that made sure our entitlements were loaded correctly, vastly simplified the process of going live,” he adds. “We are progressively working through the remainder of our software estate with Microsoft, Vectorworks and Bluebeam, making sure the entitlement and agreements are fully up to date.”


The benefits from implementing Snow are obvious to Jonathan, who comments: “Snow License Manager has helped us to achieve license optimization, cost savings and mitigation of audit risk. Given the cost involved in purchasing the commercial software that we rely on, it was important to ensure that we were not overspending on licenses. Snow made a rapid impact and we quickly saw value from our investment.“We maintain a full asset register in Snow. This gives us confidence that we are now correctly licensed for all of our production applications.”


Jonathan says: “Snow is intuitive and easy to use. The additional license intelligence and insight it gives us has changed how we approach servicing user requirements for CAD and BIM software. Before, if we received a software request that was not within our budget, we would either have to make an exception or deprive a user of design tools, which may impact productivity.

“Automated visibility on license usage means we first check for any unused licenses. Alternatively, we can analyze usage to reclaim and reallocate an under-utilized license which eliminates any unnecessary cost to the business. We communicate with our users to explain the rationale, secure in the knowledge that we are basing decisions on accurate information. We can therefore more effectively manage demand for licenses.”


Glenn Howells Architects has enjoyed making the transition to the latest version of Snow License Manager. “ It offers significant improvements including an enhanced user experience, more powerful reporting and dashboards,” Jonathan says. “It takes away the effort involved in our proactive SAM strategy.”

Jonathan will use Snow to manage other software applications. “Our SAM challenges for this year will focus on making sure that the rest of our software estate is licensed properly. Snow will give me the visibility to better understand our procurement requirements and to negotiate with our suppliers accordingly.Jonathan concludes: “I recommend Snow to other companies looking for a complete license management solution. We are now well prepared to mount a robust audit defense whenever we are next audited.”