Being able to use a single SAM solution to manage all our software, from desktop applications like Microsoft and Adobe, to optimizing datacenter server licensing for Oracle and VMWare, is incredibly powerful and means we can provide consistent management reporting proving compliance and the monthly cost savings achieved.
Mark Duffy Software and Communications Category Manager, Man Investments
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Man Investments is one of the world’s largest independent alternative asset managers.


With a fast moving and diverse IT infrastructure, Man needed to be able to automate software license compliance reporting in conjunction with optimizing license usage and sourcing.


Using Snow License Manager with outsourced SAM specialists from Softcat, Man has optimized its license position for almost 1,500 software vendors from the desktop to datacenter.


Over a 24 month period, Man achieved total cost savings in excess of £2.3 million with 50% of cost avoidance from the optimization of software usage and management of the required levels of support required to meet business needs. 

Man was originally founded in 1783 as a London barrel maker. Over centuries the company has evolved to become Man Investments, a FTSE 250 alternative investment provider specializing in hedge funds, with assets of over $US 55 billion and global offices.

Man has a complex IT estate comprising over 2500 physical and virtual Windows and Linux servers, 2,500 physical and virtual laptops and over 1,500 distinct software applications. The broad range of software installed – from Microsoft and Adobe, to Oracle and specialized financial applications including Omgeo, Polaris and Linedata – has inevitably exposed Man to a high number of software publisher audits. Over the past 36 months, the frequency of audit requests received increased significantly and the company needed to automate compliance processes, ensuring it always had the correct licensing position and could avert the risk of a failed audit. At the same time, it wanted to precisely understand usage requirements in order to reduce cost of ownership on software and support when renegotiating license renewals.

Prior to implementing Snow, Man relied on spreadsheets and informal information provided by the IT department to manage Software Asset Management (SAM). Compliance checks were ad hoc and either made following a true up, during renewal time or when an audit was requested. Developing a compliance position for applications was time consuming and difficult, because Man lacked accurate data and could not rationalize licensing through re-harvesting or reduce support costs.

Faced with increasingly frequent audit requests and the potential for non-compliance, Man wanted to systematize its license position for Microsoft and Adobe and then extend this to other software assets including the datacenter. “We identified a considerable non-compliance risk and it was time consuming to prove our licensing position because information was not held in a single location. There was a danger of over purchasing to compensate for poor data and we obviously want to avoid any wastage, ” said Mark Duffy, Software and Communications Manager at Man Investments.

After an evaluation process, Man purchased 6,000 licenses for Snow License Manager and awarded Snow’s partner Softcat a contract for a partially outsourced SAM service with onsite delivery. “All the providers we approached recommended Snow License Manager and we quickly identified that it was a very flexible platform,” said Mark Duffy. “We opted for a hybrid model, combining on premise Snow with dedicated Softcat consultants seconded to Man,” he adds.

Since implementing Snow License Manager 24 months ago, Man has seen multi million pound cost savings. Rather than approaching SAM as a point in time exercise, it has become a ‘business as usual’ process which spans the time a user requests new software, daily compliance checks, preparing budgetary figures for procurement negotiations with vendors, re-harvesting surplus licenses and helping the service desk retire an asset.

In terms of return on investment, Man has measured the financial benefits of Snow in two ways, with a total saving of £2.3million achieved in 24 months. Cost savings of over £1.2m have been recorded using SAM data to finely tune negotiations for renewal and support agreements in line with usage records. A further £1.1m cost avoidance was achieved through reharvesting existing licenses and avoiding unnecessary support contracts.

“We’ve established usage policies that uninstall software if it’s not being used, so we have greatly reduced the need to buy new licenses and simply re-harvest what we already own where we can”, says Mark Duffy. “This policy runs across all 1,500 software products in use and means we have avoided buying new software licenses for a long time.”

In addition to desktop licensing, Man has achieved cost savings within the datacenter. “We renewed our three-year VMWare agreement last year and used Snow to ensure we purchased the optimal set of licenses. Without this data it would have taken a lot of manual effort to get a basic understanding of usage and we may have over-bought to ensure compliance.”

Further enhancing its datacenter cost management strategy, Man is currently testing Snow’s Oracle Management Option to help ensure they know the number of processor licenses in use along with the many database components/modules. “Man’s Oracle estate is fluid and time consuming to manage, with a large number of changes across 400 servers. Automating this using Snow is definitely the best solution and will enable us to run scenarios to understand the effect of underlying hardware upgrades on licensing,” concludes Mark Duffy.

In the future, Man intends to implement IT chargeback using SAM data and is currently identifying the most effective way to achieve this. Here, Snow will provide usage information to define which departments are using software at a desktop level and report on applications running on different servers. Since renewal information is stored in Snow, it will be possible to re-charge costs for a server based on cost centers.