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Standard Life Group

Standard Life is using Novell ZENworks Asset Management to gain a real-time view of its IT inventory. Automating asset management has narrowed security gaps, improved auditing and licence management, and reduced the need for technicians to visit desktops.

About Standard Life Group

Standard Life Group is a large European finance company. In business for more than 180 years, it provides pensions, health insurance, banking and investment services to seven million customers. The company has more than 11,000 employees worldwide, and manages assets of around �124 billion.

Challenge

With considerable change on the horizon, Standard Life needed to show future stakeholders that its companies are run efficiently and profitably. For the Shared Service Centre (SSC), which provides IT support for the whole organisation, the key was to reduce waste while demonstrating rigorous control over company assets.

Without an accurate, real-time view of its entire estate of desktop computers and software, the SSC could not be sure that it had the correct number of software licences in place, and was potentially erring on the side of caution by maintaining more licences than needed.

Asset management information was often up to two weeks old, and the organisation relied on complex, hand-coded scripts to produce updated reports. This made it difficult for the SSC both to accurately charge the internal business units for the resources they were using, and to help them eliminate unused software licences.

In addition, the inability to precisely analyse software usage on all machines was a potential security issue. Standard Life needed to be able to demonstrate better control over its complex desktop infrastructure to future stakeholders.

Novell Solution

To tackle the time, expense and licence management challenges, Standard Life selected Novell ZENworks® Asset Management, deploying this comprehensive solution across its organization. ZENworks Asset Management provides detailed reports on desktop machines and software licences, enabling the SSC to charge the individual business units more accurately, based on their actual usage of resources.

Standard Life was particularly impressed with the speed of deployment of the Novell solution: within just a week, its ZENworks Asset Management database listed more than 20,000 devices.

"Novell provided a fantastically quick turnaround; it was an excellent collaboration, both across different areas of the SSC and with Novell," said Derek McGavigan, Desktop Architecture Manager for Standard Life's Shared Service Centre. "The technical expertise and commitment of the Novell consultants were crucial in delivering this solution on time."

The rapid deployment of ZENworks Asset Management enabled the SSC to meet an urgent deadline to analyse usage of local hard drives, giving an exact comparison between the current state of each machine and the original desktop image.

"ZENworks Asset Management enables us to produce reports at different levels of detail for different users, in real time," said McGavigan. "We can now give the business units precise information on what software they have and what it's costing them."

ZENworks Asset Management is also helping to resolve potential gaps in security, by enabling the SSC to maintain a view of every machine on its network.

"ZENworks Asset Management has a new method of finding machines - network discovery, which is independent of Novell eDirectory™," said McGavigan. "It means we don't have to physically visit a workstation to re-register it. We're saving time and closing the security gap–previously, there were unidentified machines on our network, and now there aren't."

Results

By reducing the number of physical maintenance visits to workstations, ZENworks Asset Management saves Standard Life time and money, while increasing the network's robustness and security. Even more important, however, are its very tangible benefits in terms of licence management.

"The real cost savings are in licence control and management," said McGavigan. "ZENworks Asset Management tells us what software is installed where, and gives us a true indication of the licensing required, so we no longer over-provision. What's more, the knowledge we now have puts us in an excellent position when renegotiating software licences with vendors."

Accurate reporting with ZENworks Asset Management also helps Standard Life business managers gain a better understanding of their IT usage, and identify opportunities for cost reduction. "With ZENworks Asset Management we can help users understand that there is a direct cost to installing multiple copies of software," said McGavigan. "We can now show business units how they are using their resources, to help them rethink working processes and maybe take different decisions in the future."

Better licence management lowers costs, ensures greater accountability, and demonstrates Standard Life's efficiency to future stakeholders. "ZENworks Asset Management enables us to maintain a more accurate view of resource usage, which improves our reputation with internal customers in the business units," said McGavigan. "More important, it demonstrates Standard Life's control and cost-efficiency to future stakeholders. Cost reduction is an important focus in the financial services industry, and ZENworks is helping us to meet that goal."

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