How we helped an international tech company to develop a future-proof SAM approach

Company: International technology company

Case: Oracle licensing / audit / VMware

Cost avoidance: Tens of millions of dollars

Cost savings: Millions of dollars (30% cost reduction)

With more and more large organizations, Oracle has made the agreement that they have to report on a regular basis about the deployment and use of their Oracle licenses. For the international technology company we worked with, this report was planned for early 2018 and preparations already started a year earlier. Although the company had already experienced audits and claims by Oracle in the past, there was no structural approach yet to manage software compliance and make software use transparent. In collaboration with Atos, their outsourcing and implementation partner, it was decided to tackle the situation thoroughly this time – with the help of B-lay as a specialist in the field of Oracle licenses. In addition to being compliant one-off at the time of reporting, the goal was to reduce Oracle software spending by 30 percent and to set up a long-term approach for software asset management.

Our solution

Where do we stand? This is the first question at the start of each licensing process. To determine the compliance position of the tech company, B-lay therefore carried out a baseline measurement. A number of clear problems emerged from the baseline analysis. In particular, the way in which VMware was used in combination with Oracle Database did not meet the complex conditions that Oracle sets. In total there was a potential compliance risk of tens of millions.

Based on this baseline measurement, Atos, B-lay and the customer jointly determined a strategy to achieve a compliant situation and reduce costs. Moreover, at management level of the organization, the choice was immediately made to include this plan in a large Oracle implementation process that Atos was already working on at the customer at that time. Since 2014 Atos has been working on centralizing all of the customer’s sites worldwide, merging different IT landscapes and migrating all software to the Amazon cloud. By combining the compliance and implementation processes, compliance problems were tackled in the short term and the foundation was laid for a compliant future.

With the help of B-lay’s expertise, all software was now directly deployed according to the conditions and policies of Oracle. This meant a rigorous change with the existing working method of the organization. Instead of retrospectively checking whether Oracle’s rules are complied with, licenses are now managed ‘at the front door’. This was also a new way of working for Atos architects and engineers. By nature, they mainly look at the technical aspects of the work and not so much at the legal side. A lot of time was therefore spent on educating and creating awareness in this group. In addition, an internal audit process has been set up to ensure that the compliance position of the organization is regularly checked. Crucial, because Oracle has the right to continuously make changes to its terms and conditions.

For the final report early 2018, Flexera was used as Oracle Verified Tool. Because Flexera did not scan all servers, it was supplemented with a manual scan by B-lay to get a complete overview. In order to precisely determine the actual licensing consumption of the company, an additional analysis of Flexera’s output was also necessary. Based on the collected usage data, a strategy was developed with actions to limit software usage and to bring it in line with Oracle’s licensing rules.

Business impact and results

After a year of intensive collaboration with Atos and B-lay, the customer was able to send his reports to Oracle with confidence in May 2018. All compliance issues, which initially represented a value of tens of millions of dollars, were resolved and Oracle received the results satisfactorily. In addition, the goal was to reduce Oracle software spending by 30 percent, with a saving of millions of dollars as a result. The decision to also look at the long term has also worked out well: implementation of software is now in line with the conditions set by Oracle. With this future-proof SAM approach, the company is now a forerunner compared to many other international corporations.

John van Bemmelen, practice manager at Atos: “The success of this project has been determined in the initial phase. By starting a year before the reporting deadline, we had the time to map out the situation, come up with a plan and implement it. The fact that B-lay was involved from the beginning helped enormously: Richard Spithoven and his team’s knowledge of Oracle licensing is indispensable to determine where an organization really stands. Moreover, they know better than anyone what Oracle is paying attention to and how Oracle negotiates. A final success factor was the customer’s conviction of the importance of SAM – up to the highest management level. Without such management support, it is much more difficult to make a project like this a lasting success.”

Richard Spithoven, director at B-lay: “At many multinationals, especially those who have largely or completely outsourced their IT activities, software compliance is not on their radar. The outsourcing party is responsible for the technical implementation of software, but the responsibility for meeting contractual agreements lies with the customer. The result is that compliance falls between two stools, with all the financial consequences that entails. This project shows how it canbe done. Thanks to intensive cooperation between Atos and the customer there now is a SAM approach that both parties will enjoy for years to come.”