- Customer: Panasonic Information Systems Company Europe, a division of Panasonic Business Support Europe GmbH, delivering IT services for the Panasonic Europe Group
- Industry: IT service provider for Panasonic in Europe
- Location: EU, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Russia
- Employees: 12,000+ employees within Panasonic in Europe
- Products: Snow Spend Optimizer, Snow Adoption Tracker
- $100,000 potential Microsoft license savings
- 8,500 users to manage
- 450 unused licenses to recover
Challenges and Opportunities
The Panasonic business entities in Europe are part of the global Panasonic Corporation. These entities employ more than 12,000 people in the region.
Panasonic is one of the world’s largest players in the development of electronic technologies and solutions in consumer electronics, automotive and B2B worlds. Panasonic Information Systems Company Europe (PISCEU), a division of Panasonic Business Support Europe GmbH, manages the group’s IT infrastructure.
Panasonic is a Japanese company that follows the autonomous management approach. While this strategy has proven successful, it significantly increases challenges for IT and software asset management groups. For operational tasks such as software audits, the process of gathering and validating license data proved to be enormously complex and ballasted.
Due to the organizational structure, local business units maintained their software asset records on their own and depended on spreadsheets often submitted by already very busy executives. With comprehensive audits and external consultants engaged to help at considerable expense, the business units needed a more effective solution. Even though PISCEU was as certain as it could be about license compliance, a high-profile audit resulted in significant, unplanned additional fees.
Ulf Kuetemeyer, Senior Manager of Contracting & Procurement, takes up the story: “The fees resulting from the software audit was a wake-up call across businesses of Panasonic in Europe. Over time, we had collected a sprawling mix of server, client, on-premises and cloud subscription software, running on thousands of systems, and our rather manual software asset management processes were not keeping pace. We wanted to reduce the time, effort and cost of software audits, by ensuring compliance and streamlining the software asset management process. How could we encourage the highly independent businesses to release a little of their autonomy in return for a centralized IT service offering that would improve compliance, lower costs and reduce risk?”
The Snow Solution
The central IT Services team from PISCEU reviewed software asset management solutions, focusing particularly on the ability to manage both on-premises and cloud-subscription assets, and selected the Snow SAM solution.
Thousands of users in separate business units of Panasonic in Europe were using an array of solutions, such as Adobe and Microsoft, as well as specialty vendors.
Key decision points in favor of the Snow solution were the ability to monitor in-browser software usage, and the Snow Data Intelligence Service (DIS), a vast and continuously updated catalog that includes software from the largest recognition database, which enables discovery by the SAM service.
However, some employers and employees were concerned that web-browser monitoring would collect personal usage data. As a company based in Germany, PISCEU naturally involved its Workers Councils at an early stage in the project to discuss how the Snow solution collected, stored and shared data without intruding on users’ activities as it enabled full monitoring and management of cloud subscription software used within a web browser.
“We chose the Snow SAM solution because it covers all our functionality requests, from the DIS to the management of both installed and web browser software, without compromising data privacy,” says Ulf Kuetemeyer. “For the first time, if the operating companies agreed to take up the service, we could gain clear visibility of software across the entire estate.”
“Using the new transparency delivered by the Snow Software SAM solution, we have negotiated five new framework agreements with major vendors. We can procure licenses at significant discount, assigning them to the Panasonic companies from a single pool, while ensuring compliance.”
– Ulf Kuetemeyer, Senior Manager of Contracting & Procurement, Panasonic Information Systems Company Europe
Impact and Results
The company’s very large Microsoft Office user base offered the first significant opportunity for software optimization. The first step was to use Snow SAM tools to determine the number of licenses and, based on usage, the appropriate license type for each user.
“With Snow SAM we found we had around 450 people who did not make use of their Microsoft Office license, which alone could lead to a savings of up to a six-digit Euro figure,” remarks Ulf Kuetemeyer.
“The Snow SAM solution enables complete transparency of software usage, licensing, and deployment. We can optimize the mix of license types, quantity, and allocation based on that knowledge. For large contracts such as Microsoft and Adobe, central IT can buy licenses at volume, and if a local business reduces their user numbers, we take on the risk that we can use those spare licenses within the Panasonic group.”
“In effect,” Ulf continues, “we are offering SAM-as-a-service to the business units, showing how we can provide greater cost efficiency, reduce their risk of fees resulting from audits and optimize their software management. Using the new transparency that the Snow SAM solution delivers, we have negotiated five new framework agreements with major vendors to procure licenses at a significant discount. The ability for Panasonic companies to return licenses to the pool at any time offers them much greater flexibility, while we gain better visibility of enterprise usage to enable license optimization.”
In addition, the IT services team has the opportunity to centrally rationalize software across the enterprise for the very first time, thanks to the Snow solution. By consolidating to standardized solutions and tools, Panasonic in Europe will look to reduce complexity, cut operational costs, and streamline business processes.
Ulf Kuetemeyer concludes, “As we prove our value with the Snow SAM-as-a-service model, more Panasonic business units are coming on board, which in turn improves our economies of scale and simultaneously enhances our compliance position. Based on the benefits of our approach, we as PISCEU plan to extend the Snow SAM solution across the enterprise, helping to further reduce risk, cut costs and optimize operations.”