Insight into all Microsoft SPLA licenses thanks to Snow’s analytical tools
Cyso is a managed hosting provider that boosts company performance by keeping websites, critical platforms and servers online at all times. Cyso also verifies if web applications operate as they should, taking the burden away from the client. The business has its own network and Cloud platforms on VMWare and OpenStack. Cyso was founded in 1997 and now has more than 40 employees.
- To gain insight into all SPLA licenses used by Cyso’s clients
- To comply with Microsoft licensing terms
- To prevent unexpected costs
SNOW SOFTWARE’S CONTRIBUTION
Snow ensures that Cyso is able to comply with the terms and conditions of Microsoft’s SPLA licenses, fending off the risk of costly true-ups or fines incurred as the result of an audit. This prevents any unexpected and unbudgeted costs.
BENEFITS AND ROI
- Insight into all the Microsoft licenses used by customers
- Cost avoidance by forestalling fines after a vendor audit, or true-ups due to incomplete reporting.
“Snow Software is the only solution provider capable of giving us detailed insight into our SPLA licenses. Hosting software services and applications is our core business, so a sound insight into these is indispensable for us,” says Sven Visser, Managing Partner at Cyso.
INSIGHT INTO LICENSE USAGE
Since it was founded in 1997, Cyso has become a trusted hosting provider with a wide range of customers such as Yourhosting, Pay.nl and clothing chain store The Sting. Cyso purchases licenses which it then implements for customers who use the software, hosted by Cyso in line with the Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA) model.
The SPLAs requires Cyso to report which licenses and how many are being used by its customers – something that changes from month to month. A previous Microsoft audit did not turn out so well for Cyso; an unexpected true-up prompted the company to start looking for a solution that could give it insight into its software landscape.
“The most important value added for us by Snow is accurate insight into which versions of what software is installed with our customers”
Sven Visser, Managing Partner
“We used to think we had decent insight into the licenses used by our customers. But a Microsoft audit showed us there was room for improvement,” says Sven Visser, Managing Partner at Cyso.
“That is why we started looking for a provider who could help us identify all the software on our systems – and software licenses in particular. Around that time, Snow Software had just joined the DHPA [Dutch Hosting Provider Association], our trade body. We already regarded Snow Software as the market leader so it was only natural that we sat down to discuss a solution.”
Visser continues: “As a hosting company, we do not have a single, homogenous IT environment. Cyso’s IT landscape has many different layers, and consists of at least 100 client environments. We also run software that serves several clients at once. Snow Software is one of the few suppliers that can make sense of all these licenses and give us detailed insight.”
Cyso used to monitor all its licenses manually. This was not efficient – all the necessary licenses were not always discovered in time. At the end of 2016, Cyso decided to automate this process and at the start of 2017, it embarked on its journey with Snow.
AVOIDING NASTY AUDIT SURPRISES
After a month-long Proof of Concept (PoC) – which revealed which paid-for software Cyso had in its network – the company decided to put its arrangement with Snow on a more formal footing. “We had never had such clear and detailed insight,” according to Visser. “After the PoC, we proceeded to implement Snow’s Software Asset Management platform as fast as we could.”
“As always happens with new software, you have to familiarize yourself with the solution. For instance, in the beginning, we got a lot of user questions about how to interpret certain pieces of information. But we are hitting our stride now and everything is running much more smoothly. If we hit a snag, we can always turn to the Snow support team, who make sure any questions are answered quickly and comprehensively,” says Visser.
“We report on a monthly basis how many Microsoft licenses our customers are using. These reports determine what we have to pay. You don’t want to overpay, but you don’t want to pay too little either. If we do that, we risk a true-up or a fine. Since we’ve been using Snow we have found out that there are customers who are using more software than we first thought. Thanks to Snow, we are creating more customer awareness about the correct use of the licenses, and report this back to Microsoft in a timely fashion,” says Visser.
“We are very happy about our co-operation with Snow,” Visser explains. “Questions are answered promptly – and the solution does what it promises, which is no small matter! The most important value added for us by Snow is accurate insight into which versions of what software is installed with our customers. This means we won’t be caught out by future audits and ultimately save money.”
Cyso has vastly improved its license management, but the company wants to move on to the next step. Visser explains. “Going forward, Cyso would like to deploy Snow more broadly, and not just for Microsoft licenses. What’s more, we also want to lean on Snow to start helping our customers with their software asset management, so they too can avoid nasty surprises during an audit.”