Tag Archives: software licensing

FAST Ltd link up with Civica offers prospect of public sector software licence savings

By David Bicknell

Managing software assets effectively is one way of reining in the public sector’s IT costs, which is why a newly created partnership between software asset management (SAM) and IT compliance specialist FAST Ltd and Civica Services looks like an interesting tie-up.

The new partnership will give FAST customers access to Civica’s specialist advice and guidance across a broad scope of software licensing and fulfilment services, offering users the ability to mitigate future compliance risk, save time and money and meet their business objectives.

The Civica Services relationship will enable FAST Ltd to offer a range of services to its customers, helping them improve efficiency through more effective software lifecycle management.

Since 2003, FAST Ltd has provided a best practice and structured programme around licence compliance for businesses spanning all sectors and sizes.  One of its customers, services company Amey cut its hardware and software bill by £150,000 by managing, monitoring and auditing its IT estate.

In recent years FAST Ltd’s portfolio of services has expanded to include SAM, which led to customers requesting additional services such as ICT Strategy Planning Services and Software Fulfilment Services. 

Matthew Barnes, Managing Director for FAST Ltd  said, “The partnership of our two organisations is an exciting development for our customers and helps us to reach our goal of providing a ‘one stop shop’ for Software Asset Management  and IT Compliance. ”

One of Civica’s public sector customers is Gravesham Borough Council which faced a challenge to ensure the best use of its software assets given the government drive for efficiency.

The authority brought in Civica Services to review its Microsoft infrastructure for compliance. It also wanted advice on using the Public Sector Agreement—PSA09—for more cost-effective software licensing devised by the government and Microsoft. Under this licensing model, Gravesham has saved £46,700, equivalent to 80 per cent of its annual software spend. It is making a 74 per cent return on investment (ROI) from the Microsoft Software Asset Management review—more than its original target.

The council now has a three-year roadmap for IT development which includes a refresh of all desktop software and a virtualised infrastructure to enhance management and cut operational overheads. 

Some of the key issues around SAM and software licensing were discussed at FAST Ltd’s annual conference at Twickenham a few weeks ago.

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SME company gains 395 new customers despite a challenging marketplace

Campaign4Change spent some time this week talking with Scott Haddow, chief executive of York-based value added reseller Trustmarque Solutions, which through its Enterprise Solutions Group (TESG) is helping its customers reduce their IT expenditure costs.

Trustmarque’s approach has been so successful, that in the last year it gained 395 new public and private sector clients.

Over the past eighteen months, Trustmarque has successfully transitioned from Large Account Reseller (LAR) to Value Added Reseller (VAR) status, moving away from a high volume, low margin business where there is no direct relationship with the customer.

Its success has had a significant impact on the bottom line.  In the first nine months of its 2010/2011 financial year, Trustmarque increased its Gross Profit by 28 percent, with TESG doubling its associated turnover from consulting, managed services and software solutions.   That continued growth also means Trustmarque currently has 20 open vacancies in Sales, IT, Finance and Operations which it needs to fill by the start of its next financial year in September.

The public sector may be wary of cloud computing, for now, but the private sector happily sees the potential in adopting it, which is perhaps why Trustmarque bought cloud infrastructure and hosted services provider Nimbus Technology Systems  to provide it with more breadth and depth of expertise in cloud services delivery as well as an expanded portfolio of managed cloud services. 

What we also learned from speaking with Haddow is that many of the company’s NHS Trust customers are very forward thinking in their approach to IT. In a sector that may not have been known for competition, it is clear that some want to be at the leading edge and are prepared to use whatever technology solutions they can to gain a competitive advantage. Just like the private sector, there are  trusts that are happier being front-runners and who’ll actively seek to use technology to keep their edge.

We also learned how Trustmarque sits down with new customers for lengthy meetings to thrash out where they can make savings, through consolidation of IT assets, and especially by reducing their software licensing costs. For example, Durham Constabulary is saving £190,000 in licensing costs over three years; Derbyshire Fire and Rescue will save £88,000 in licensing costs over six years; Transport for Greater Manchester will also save £60,000 a year on licensing costs; and Plymouth City Council will see savings of £494,000 over a 3 year period and a 26% reduction in its previous licensing arrangement.

It’s clear that even though the Coalition has aspirations to open up more business for SMEs, success-stories like Trustmarque don’t need to rely on those plans to gain a healthy slice of government business: they’re doing it for themselves.