Thanks to Snow, we will be able to reduce our Adobe footprint and costs by 15 percent, and our spend with Microsoft by 12 percent, when we come to renew licenses.
Nathan Snyman, Microsoft Software Asset Manager, Investec
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Investec uncovers unused licenses, cuts costs, accelerates reporting and mitigates risk with Snow Software.

Company Profile

Challenges and Opportunities

Founded in 1974, Investec has grown from a small finance firm into an international bank and wealth management group, with more than 8,300 employees and total assets of £58 billion. The bank focuses on core markets in South Africa and the United Kingdom. It also maintains a presence in the Channel Islands, Ireland, Switzerland, India, the United States and the Far East.

Investec fosters an entrepreneurial spirit and a culture which drives innovative thinking among employees to ensure that clients receive the best possible service. Every day, teams from multiple departments and geographies collaborate by using an extensive ecosystem of digital applications, including specialist finance, document management and creative design solutions. Managing this growing software landscape, though, was proving difficult.

Chris Sines, Head of Software Asset Management at Investec, explains: “In the days when we installed applications on individual workstations, it was relatively easy to track our software assets. But with the growth of the cloud subscription model, we have lost our oversight and control over the applications that departments and employees are using. With limited visibility into our software usage, we could be paying for underutilized and even unused licenses, while simultaneously exposing the business to risk with unknown app installations.”

Investec’s previous SAM solution also offered limited capabilities. Preparing software audits involved manually comparing and checking data from multiple sources in a slow, painstaking process. As a result, timely, accurate information was rarely available to IT leaders to guide better decision making when negotiating with vendors.

Chris Sines adds: “We also lacked a native reporting function in our old solution. To get round this, we engaged external consultants to create dashboards and other visualizations. While this gave us some insights into our software assets, it was a complex and costly way to operate.”

The Snow Solution

Investec searched for a solution that would provide full visibility into its software as a service (SaaS) investments, along with sophisticated integration and reporting functionality. During the initial research and discovery phase, the bank consulted independent analysts to identify leading SAM vendors. Then, Investec ran a detailed proof of concept (PoC) to assess the capabilities of three potential options before deciding to deploy Snow Atlas.

Pardon Chauke, Snow Application Owner at Investec, explains: “All three vendors promised their solution would uncover our entire software landscape. But as we pushed them further, it soon became clear that only Snow Software could meet our requirements. Snow Atlas could discover our full SaaS usage, what functionality the service provides and give us insights into who last logged in and how long they used the solutions for.”

To implement Snow Atlas and ensure a smooth transition from the previous software management tool, Investec worked closely with Snow Software to create a comprehensive migration plan. Snow deployed and configured the solution. They also trained users and completed the full process in just four months.

With Snow Atlas in place, Investec has a clear picture of its entire software landscape, including its Microsoft 365, and Adobe Creative Cloud deployments. Full integration between the Snow Atlas configuration management database, Microsoft Active Directory and Microsoft 365 and VMware vCenter enables Investec to monitor its assets via a single, centralized portal with intuitive dashboards that provide data on usage and spending.

“Working with Snow was phenomenal. Moving from one enterprise software asset management platform to another was a complex project, and we certainly needed some assistance,” comments Chauke. “Snow provided real expertise throughout the deployment, answering all our questions and always making themselves available to help. Going live in four months was a great result.”

Impact and Results

The adoption of Snow Atlas has been an immediate success for Investec. With full visibility into its cloud and on-premises software assets, the bank now has the detailed insights it needs to optimize its future licensing spend. For example, Investec quickly discovered that employees often required multiple Microsoft, Adobe, and Dropbox licenses for a one-off project requirement and subsequently left them unused.

“Snow Atlas pinpoints those areas where we are paying for subscriptions that are not being used, either because employees have left Investec or because we are seeing low adoption,” adds Nathan Snyman, Microsoft Software Asset Manager. “Thanks to Snow, we will be able to reduce our Adobe footprint and costs by 15 percent, and our spend with Microsoft by 12 percent, when we come to renew licenses.”

Using Snow Atlas has also helped Investec to strengthen its security posture. Mpho Raphunga, the Software Asset Manager who works closely with their Information Security team, explains:

“We discovered that staff were using many freeware
applications, which potentially could create serious security issues. Using data from Snow Atlas to complement the view of our SaaS sprawl helped us to mitigate our threat exposure.”

Mpho Raphunga, Software Asset Manager, Investec

In addition, Investec has dramatically simplified and accelerated the process for preparing software audit reports. The bank can pull in-depth reports from Snow Atlas at any point, eliminating the need for time-consuming and complex
manual working, as well as eliminating the expense of external consultants.

“We can now provide business stakeholders with comprehensive, accurate and timely information on our software assets, including our SaaS investments,” adds Sines. “This in-depth data will help IT leaders to make smarter decisions about our future licensing strategy.”

Sines concludes:

“Snow Atlas gives us the ability to manage and optimize our software assets in granular detail, especially our SaaS investments. We are still in the early days of the partnership with Snow, but it has already made a huge impact in helping us to right-size our software environment, cut risk and reduce our costs. We’re looking forward to the next stage of the journey.”

Chris Sines, Head of Software Asset Management at Investec