CRH Americas Material

SNOW ESTABLISHES PROCESSES FOR DECENTRALIZED SOFTWARE ESTATE

COMPANY BACKGROUND

CRH Americas Materials is a wholly owned subsidiary of CRH plc, a Fortune 500 company and a constituent member of the FTSE 100 index, the EURO STOXX 50 index, the ISEQ 20 and the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) Europe. CRH’s American Depositary Shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). CRH Americas Materials has a presence across 44 US states, six Canadian provinces. Its 1,300 locations include offices, quarries and plants, which together employ more than 24,100 people.

SNOW’S CONTRIBUTION

CRH Americas Materials implemented the Snow Platform with a license for 11,000 machines to gain insight into its licensing position across a huge number of semi-autonomous operating companies. Snow agents were deployed across the decentralized estate and are sending back complete and dependable data so the company can embark on an ambitious program of Software Asset Management (SAM) transformation. The road to SAM maturity will see the company implement a chargeback process, block unauthorized software and use Snow’s clean and standardized data for the service desk.

CHALLENGES

  • Operating companies procuring IT locally and independently
  • Group-wide visibility of software and hardware estate
  • Standardization of software
  • Blacklisting of unauthorized applications
  • Capability to chargeback to operating companies

BUSINESS BENEFITS AND ROI

  • Visibility across decentralized estate
  • Group-wide audit readiness
  • Foundation to build out group-wide SAM protocols

SAM HERO

Adriana Yu, Software Asset Manager for CRH Americas Materials, says:

“The web interface is great – it’s very clean and easy to navigate. While we are at an early stage of adoption, Snow is already proving to be useful to us and I’m excited about the future potential for the Snow SAM Platform."

LAYING THE FOUNDATIONS

CRH Americas Materials implemented Snow License Manager to get to grips with a structurally, functionally and geographically dispersed software estate. The company’s many wholly owned subsidiary operating companies procure independently, and there was no process in place for reporting back on what software or what software versions were installed. Snow was brought in to shed light on the licensing position, and help impose a group-wide SAM process.

Snow agents were deployed to 10,000 machines across hundreds of locations to build a complete picture of the licensing landscape. “We have many operating companies so pulling in complete and reliable data to aggregate is no small task and something that we’ve never had before,” explains Yu.

CRH Americas Materials has a cap of 11,000 licenses for Snow License Manager, and Yu monitors that carefully. “I go into Snow License Manager regularly, essentially on a daily basis, to make sure that we stay within the threshold – today we are at little over 10,000 licenses.”

Yu is confident that CRH Americas Materials is compliant with its vendor contracts, and knows that if a software vendor came knocking on her door, she would be able to access the required reports from Snow for any audit. “And we would be able to obtain that information quickly,” she adds.

The next step is to build out a robust SAM function (something that would have been difficult before Snow). “Without dependable data, there can be really no such thing as Software Asset Management,” says Yu.

THE ROAD TO SAM MATURITY

The first priority is to look at where efficiencies can be achieved with the top nine applications (by volume) at CRH Americas Materials. These include the usual suspects, as well as the industry-specific software licenses, project management and mobile device management software where Yu expects the Snow connectors to be a “tremendous” help. Yu anticipates significant cost avoidance and savings through group-wide license optimization and standardization. “Standardization is at the top of our list,” says Yu. "We have some well-known desktop applications, so yes, standardization is huge. If I go into Snow License Manager now and search for it, I can see many different versions of that software in our estate.” Yu will use information from Snow to implement a chargeback procedure. Chargebacks will help the operating companies focus on cost. Insight into software usage will lead to more economical purchasing patterns, Yu explains. “I will send out Snow reports to the different companies, to different application owners, get them to look at the list showing which company owns this many licenses. Snow lists who is actually using them. I’ll be asking if we are optimized? Who is not using the expensive license you procured for them? If you see user A is no longer with the company, we’ll remove the license so we can save some money.”

No one can object they really need the software, or a more expensive version of the software, if we can show the user that the software has not been used over the past 60 or 90 days. Any company needs to keep on top of unauthorized downloads, all the more so for a business with over 24,100 employees active in 1,300 locations. “Right now the way it works here is that if a user requests a software, as long as they have their manager’s approval, they will get it,” says Yu.

CRH Americas Materials will therefore use the blacklisting functionalities in Snow. Next on the agenda will be the population of Snow data into the CMDB for the service desk. “Clean normalized data that is automated, is key. That will be huge for us,” Yu says.

CONCLUSION

Snow has marshalled data from many semi-autonomous and very different operating companies to finally give CRH Americas Materials a 360⁰ view of what software it has installed. This paves the way for significant savings from standardizing this software and optimizing the company’s pool of licenses. Yu’s ambitions extend beyond this. A digitally native manager, she knows that she can leverage Snow to help the Software Asset Management function become part of the strategic, long-term decision-making for CRH Americas Materials.

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