Harper Macleod is one of the UK’s fastest growing regional law firms.
An existing SAM solution provided inaccurate data and the firm wanted the reassurance of accurate inventory reporting.
Cost savings through re-harvesting of licenses, facilitated by accurate entitlement capture and software inventory.
BENEFITS AND ROI
Peace of mind. Harper Macleod is now compliant with vendor licensing agreements and mitigates the risk of any reputational damage. On an ongoing basis, the firm has an accurate, multi-user Software Asset Management system capable of providing a single asset repository for hardware and software assets.
Harper Macleod is one of Scotland’s leading commercial law firms with a headcount of 300 across four sites. As a professional services firm, reputation is everything and ensuring compliance with software licensing agreements and maintaining the highest levels of governance is a strategic priority. Harper Macleod has an IT Department of 10, who all play a role in the management of software assets, so it was essential to identify a multi-user Software Asset Management (SAM) solution that offered a comprehensive range of capabilities, from inventory management through to advanced software usage metering.
Harper Macleod produces a vast number of written documents and relies on an infrastructure of Windows servers with additional Linux machines for its specialist email encryption solution. Due to its commitment to flexible working, a number of software assurance licenses are in place, which give staff roaming rights and the ability to use MS Office over a thin client with tablets and mobile devices. Harper Macleod also has license agreements for LexisNexis Solcase (case management), Lawsoft (Thomson Reuters Elite), HP Worksite (document management) and BigHand (digital transcription), amongst others. Marketing specialists have access to Adobe Creative Cloud and Acrobat.
Compliance, security and improving IT service levels were the primary business drivers behind the implementation of a SAM solution from Snow Software. Although the company had previously deployed an alternative tool to inventory software and hardware assets, they identified that Snow provided additional benefits, and removed the need for manual verification and cross-checking against other information sources, which had created time inefficiencies.
According to Richard Harvey, IT Director at Harper Macleod, one of the best features of Snow Licence Manager is the reporting capability: “When you buy a tool like Snow, you expect it to work and audit things, but we were impressed with its simple interface and the way the solution gave us the data we needed and ran bespoke reports so quickly.”
He continues: “Microsoft offered us a SAM review and because it’s so important to our firm’s reputation to be fully compliant, we took the opportunity. A couple of minor issues were subsequently found, but this was to do with the intricacies of Microsoft’s licensing rules, so they were resolved swiftly. It was impressive to see Microsoft rely upon Snow’s inventory report and base its calculations on this – it gave us confidence in the choice we’d made.”
Although Microsoft was the primary vendor, Harper Macleod wished to be compliant for all other applications included in the inventory checks. Since the audit process included hardware and software assets, this was a useful exercise in identifying whether any PCs needed to be upgraded or retired.
FROM COMPLIANCE TO LICENSE OPTIMISATION
Harper Macleod also began to realise the license optimisation benefits of using Snow Software’s tools during the auditing process. “It was useful to understand the metering functionality, because it allowed us to create reports showing software usage by staff,” says Richard Harvey.
“Having reports which identify software usage at an individual user level enables us to be cost efficient and re-use unused licenses, whereas in the past we would have simply purchased new entitlements.”
Using Snow’s metering feature, Harper Macleod was able to immediately identify significant savings. Unused licenses were re-harvested and made available to other employees who required them, without the firm incurring the cost of new licenses. For a law firm, reputation is everything and this is their primary justification for investing in Snow Software. As Richard Harvey explains, “We take governance very seriously and software usage needs to be managed closely.” He continues, “So the focus of our investment is preventative and aimed at managing risk and reputation effectively. We are trusted business advisors and must ensure compliance in all areas, not least in software licensing.”
Looking ahead, Harper Macleod is keen to make greater use of the metering functionality within Snow Software and after identifying software that is under-utilised, automatically un-install it for re-harvesting to other users. “I would like to get to the position where users are able to see what applications are available and access what they need via a self-service type solution which is integrated with Snow. Working in this way would mean IT can drive efficiency and focus more on strategy, thus serving the business better,” says Richard Harvey.
“When you buy a tool like Snow, you expect it to work and audit things, but we were impressed with its simple interface and the way the solution gave us the data we needed and ran bespoke reports so quickly.”