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Case Study

Softcat helps train operator find the right track with Amazon Web Services

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A leading UK train operating company with responsibility for mainline rail services, the client is embracing both new technologies and digital innovation to improve its services and enhance sustainability.

Train on the track


  • UK Mainline train operating company
  • Focused on providing sustainable services enabled through digital innovation

The Challenge

Amazon Web Services (AWS) plays a critical role in this client’s operations. It’s used an existing pay as you go (PAYG) agreement to access essential cloud services for some time. Managing the service was becoming cumbersome, however. Ongoing billing and payment issues and a lack of visibility into their wider cloud operations were causing auditing difficulties and undermining effective cost control.

As with similar organisations, it’s obliged to seek maximum value from its IT investments and pursue year-on-year cost savings. It wanted to investigate alternative AWS agreement types that could consolidate existing services, deliver better value, and reduce management complexity.

Its existing PAYG agreement meant it was paying list pricing for AWS usage based on consumption. It was aware that it could achieve a 22% cost saving through moving to a One Government Value Agreement (OGVA) but would need to significantly increase its AWS activities to gain maximum value.

Having worked extensively with Softcat in recent years, and aware of its strong public sector IT procurement track record, it got in touch. Softcat was confident that through increased use of the AWS platform for individual projects, combined with utilising AWS marketplace for commitment burndown, an OGVA could be leveraged to achieve the significant savings it sought.

Critical success factors

  • Identify high-value, alternative AWS agreement
  • Reduce cloud service management complexity
  • Burn down OGVA commitment and access discounted software through AWS Marketplace

The Solution

With an existing AWS agreement in place, it was concerned that it may face difficulties sourcing a new agreement that would deliver better value. Softcat’s account team provided reassurance that this was achievable and illustrated a route to securing a better deal. Softcat’s team recommended migrating its existing solution to an OGVA, a vehicle established by AWS and the UK Government to help encourage public sector organisations to accelerate cloud adoption while providing significant discounts.

Softcat also highlighted where further savings could be made through identifying existing on-premise resources, provided by independent software vendors (ISVs), that could be migrated to cloud versions. These could be procured through AWS and purchased via AWS Marketplace. In doing so, the client would be able to satisfy its OGVA commitment.

Under this OGVA agreement, the client planned to create a new AWS Control Tower as well as migrate across a number of existing AWS accounts into one AWS Organisation. Softcat supported establishing the account structure and managing the onboarding process. This helped consolidate multiple accounts into a single agreement to reduce management complexity and improve cost effectiveness. Softcat also implemented CloudHealth, a multi cloud management tool, to support with ongoing visibility and cost optimisation of the AWS environment.

Softcat’s extensive experience and deep knowledge of AWS best practice ensured it could help the client establish the most effective organisational structure. It meant the client could achieve the platform growth it needed to qualify for the discount and squeeze increased value from the new agreement. Softcat provided support throughout this process and will continue to deliver ongoing support throughout the lifecycle of the agreement. Softcat is also continually working to identify where the client can take advantage of AWS Marketplace, though Consulting Partner Private Offers (CPPO), to consolidate software procurement and benefit even more from this agreement.

Solution highlights

  • Recommend move to OGVA to reduce complexity, increase value for money and access significant discounts
  • Provide support for contract negotiations and onboarding process
  • Utilise AWS Marketplace to consolidate procurement and achieve usage commitment.


Aside from the benefits gained through reducing the management complexity and ongoing cost of its AWS services, Softcat provides CloudHealth to help the client gain a more comprehensive overview of its cloud resources and activity.

CloudHealth provides the capability to optimise services, eliminate underutilised resources to reduce cloud waste and vastly improves visibility of the AWS estate. It’s helping to reduce paperwork, providing more robust control over contracts, and ensuring that IT resources are secured in a manner that’s compliant with public sector procurement guidelines.

The client can now offset 50% of its AWS OGVA commitments on software spend through moving renewals and directing new projects through AWS Marketplace. Softcat is able to manage this through strong relationships with leading independent software vendors (ISVs) and the dedicated Marketplace team.

Softcat has helped to deliver a multidimensional service underpinned by ongoing support and more robust transactional information as part of a two-year agreement. Cost control has been significantly enhanced, through delivering a much clearer view of expenditure across the business, and improvements in the data it can access will help it gain even greater value in the future.

Benefits at a Glance

  • 22% discount achieved through use of the OGVA agreement
  • More robust transactional information and a clearer view of ongoing expenditure through CloudHealth
  • Ongoing commercial support and marketplace consolidation throughout agreement term

Why Softcat?

Softcat provides the expert guidance and deep platform knowledge needed to ensure every type of business can benefit from the advantages offered by AWS cloud services. Its AWS specialists can remove complexity, identify achievable operational benefits, and mitigate potential risks to deliver optimal business outcomes.

Working closely with clients to understand their specific business needs and deliver on them, lies at the heart of every engagement. And with ongoing support, a finger on the pulse of innovation and unparalleled relationships with leading software providers, it provides a seamless, transparent process to help clients achieve peak operational efficiency and value.