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Case Study

Hosted SAM solutions helps NHS Trust improve software licensing

Humber NHS Foundation Trust (HNFT) provides community services (including therapies), community and inpatient mental health services, learning disability services, healthy lifestyle support and addictions services to around 600,000 people in Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire. It's also a Teaching trust that works closely with academic partners to help nurture the next generation of healthcare professionals. As a leading provider of integrated health services, it's committed to continuously seeking both healthcare delivery and operational improvements to help ensure the highest levels of service and value for money.

600,000 people provided with community healthcare

3,500 staff & 3,000 devices across 70 sites

Close relationship with academic partners

The Challenge

The move away from a centralised, national NHS software licensing agreement meant HNFT needed a Software Asset Management (SAM) solution that could be managed in-house. It needed the capacity to ensure the financial risk of software licensing non-compliance was minimised, while simultaneously enabling the internal IT team to benefit from extensive automation when administering the SAM process.

With a device estate of around 3,000 internal and external units to monitor, there was a significant risk that the SAM process would become time-consuming, costly and non-compliant if done incorrectly. Connectivity issues in the local area also demanded that any solution could be externally hosted. Add into the mix the fact that the Trust runs a diverse range of software, including dedicated NHS programs, it was not a straightforward task.

HNFT's familiarity with Softcat's capabilities, following work completed on previous IT projects, made the Trust keen to re-engage with its expertise. "We had favourable experience of Softcat as a licensing partner and felt they could provide the solution we needed," said Richard Brumpton, HNFT IT Services Manager. "All the evidence pointed to that being true following the tender process, so we were keen to have Softcat on board."

Critical Success Factors

  • Robust SAM solution required
  • Externally hosted platform to overcome connectivity issues
  • Minimise financial risk of licensing non-compliance

The Solution

Softcat was approached as part of a tender process and quickly got to grips with HNFT's requirements. The initial task was to complete an extensive audit to help identify the scope of the licensing requirement, which would both enable Softcat to grasp the full complexity of the task and ensure the Trust benefited from a much clearer view of its software estate.

Having identified SNOW License Manager (a dedicated SAM platform) as a suitable solution, Softcat provided demonstrations of the technology so the IT team knew exactly how it worked and the benefits it could bring. As Connor Brown, Softcat Healthcare Account Manager, said, "We're always keen to give practical examples of any solution to help the customer make an informed choice. We were convinced that SNOW License Manager, together with our managed SAM service, was just what the Trust needed."

SNOW License Manager is specifically designed to minimise the risk, cost and complexity associated with establishing a robust software asset management environment. Through providing a unified view of software and hardware assets, it ensures organisations can maintain fully compliant licensing practices and drive down cost by identifying underused assets that could be redeployed elsewhere.

"Softcat's proposed solution seemed ideal for our requirements," said Mr Brumpton. "Unlike our previous platform, SNOW License Manager was far easier to use and meant we could provide a much-improved service."

Solution highlights

  • Extensive audit to understand project scope
  • Leading-edge SNOW License Manager software and managed SAM service
  • Simplified platform with enhanced management capabilities

The Benefits

The solution has enabled the HNFT IT team to accomplish more than it could with the previous platform, and Softcat has provided far more than just a Microsoft Licensing solution. The solution actively manages a device estate with more than 3,500 users across 70 locations, enabling the IT team to simply and accurately track its physical and virtual assets and ensure compliance across the board. The information it provides when devices log on to the system, for instance, has enabled HNFT to re-deploy underused assets elsewhere within the organisation.

Softcat's extensive audit also helped HNFT identify opportunities to upgrade or decommission software to reduce costs, while ensuring that every device had the most up-to-date licence and minimising the financial risks associated with non-compliance. The IT service desk now knows what assets are being used and the cost implications of that use, as well as the added benefit of a clear licensing overview.

Given the connectivity issues associated with the Trust's location, the inclusion of Softcat's managed SAM service was a much-needed element and provided significant benefits. Based on a hosted platform, it not only helped ensure seamless access to the critical information the Trust needs to effectively manage its software estate, it also freed up the IT team to focus internal resources on its core activities.

"It was an ideal solution from both an operational and service perspective, as well as being great value for money," said Mr Brumpton. "The implementation was relatively pain-free and we now have a centralised solution that's much more efficient and easier to manage."

Benefits at a glance

  • Comprehensive overview of physical and virtual assets
  • Reduced financial risk of non-compliance
  • Cost savings from device redeployment and increased resilience from hosted solution

Why Softcat? 

Softcat's extensive record of successfully fulfilling healthcare contracts via public sector frameworks and strong relationships with technology providers contributed greatly to HNFT's confidence that it could provide the solution it needed. HNFT's direct experience of working with Softcat as a licensing partner was also a significant factor driving the decision. It knew that Softcat would invest the time and attention needed to truly understand the specific project requirements and deliver an ideal solution.