Embracing WorkSpace: How SCHNEIDER IT MANAGEMENT uses Microsoft WorkSpace to optimize its SAM engagements
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SCHNEIDER IT MANAGEMENT – adding value through precision
SCHNEIDER IT MANAGEMENT, a Microsoft Gold partner and longtime Licensing Solution Provider (LSP) brings more than 20 years of licensing experience to bear in support of its customers, several of which are enterprise and government customers.
Based in Luxembourg and Germany, SCHNEIDER IT MANAGEMENT works closely with its customers to ensure that their licensing aligns to their business priorities, optimizing the value of its customers’ IT infrastructures while ensuring compliance and security.
Critical to this mission is SCHNEIDER IT MANAGEMENT’s thriving Software Asset Management (SAM) practice, which its consultants leverage to provide insight into its customers’ license requirements.
Combining its SAM practice with a customer centric work methodology, SCHNEIDER IT MANAGEMENT is adept at navigating the abundance of available licensing options to find the option best fitted to its customers’ financial and technological targets. Providing detailed simulations of different scenarios or alternative licensing models ensures that the customer has complete knowledge of his licensing options.
Before WorkSpace – variable processes
SCHNEIDER IT MANAGEMENT’s long-term SAM consultants have performed more than 50 Microsoft SAM engagements and have experienced a steady improvement in the tools at their disposal, culminating in the modern iteration of Microsoft WorkSpace, which first launched 2 years ago.
“Our customer-centric approach of SAM Baselines consists of individual kick-off presentations to illustrate the entire project process and gives us the possibility to meet the specific customer requirements. With the combination of our unique questionnaire and WorkSpace as a standardized tool for data collection and processing, we get a deep insight into the customer’s environment. This ultimately enables us to create reports summing up the findings and is a profound basis for subsequent simulations to define the most optimized licensing solutions for the customer.” Guido Messerich, Licensing & SAM Consultant, SCHNEIDER IT MANAGEMENT.
Prior to WorkSpace, partners looking to perform Microsoft SAM Baseline engagements were largely left to their own tools. Implementing processes and best practices as they saw fit, they were limited only by the Effective License Position (ELP) template provided by Microsoft that was required to deliver the results of the exercise.
While this process allowed partners to function within their comfort zones, it often lacked a standard of precision necessary to base recommendations in hard facts and created potential in the SAM marketplace for SAM partners to perform quick and variable Baselines – resulting in inconsistent value for the customer. Customers often disengaged from and divested themselves of the process – their absence ultimately reducing the value they could derive from the assessment itself.
WorkSpace – applying a standard
WorkSpace, a tool developed and updated by Microsoft, provides stringency and precision to SAM engagements, helping ensure consistency among partners delivering the engagement while also optimizing the value provided to the end customer.
“The WorkSpace process keeps the customer involved throughout the SAM engagement, enabling them to derive real value from the project. When SAM engagements are performed quickly – when SAM consultants come in and simply ‘work their magic’, you may optimize a couple of licensing options, but there is no learning for the customer. When we leverage the WorkSpace tool and process, we talk to the customers, educate them, explain why certain licenses are required or redundant. The feedback we have received has been purely positive.” – Michael Karam, Licensing & SAM Consultant, SCHNEIDER IT MANAGEMENT.
WorkSpace ensures that SAM engagements are thorough and comprehensive – applying a standard for excellence across Microsoft’s network of SAM partners, a standard that SCHNEIDER IT MANAGEMENT has embraced. This stringency is particularly important when dealing with issues of licensing compliance or, in some cases, security of a customer’s IT environment.
“Working through the WorkSpace process in our SAM engagements, we have worked with customers who have realized that there are still users active in their Active Directory who had not been with the customer’s company for years. We have worked with customers using the wrong license who are not compliant. These are serious mistakes due to lack of insight. WorkSpace ensures that SAM engagements properly diagnose these issues to help ensure that our customers are compliant.” – Guido Messerich, Licensing & SAM Consultant, SCHNEIDER IT MANAGEMENT.
Overcoming a flaw in perception
Early versions of the WorkSpace tool were less complete than the current version. During this early period, some partners developed a negative perception of the tool. Since that time, the agile team behind the WorkSpace tool has listened to partners, incorporating their feedback in order to continuously increase the value of the WorkSpace tool to ultimately improve the partner experience.
“I spoke with another SAM consultant in Germany and he was initially skeptical when I was gushing about the value of the WorkSpace tool. The problem is, these partners just haven’t experienced the modern version of the tool which has improved tremendously since its initial release. The value it can add now for both the consultants performing the engagement and the customers themselves makes it a no brainer. [With WorkSpace] I can get more done in less time with better or equal quality than if I were to perform the engagement with my own tools. And whenever I stumble upon a thing that should be optimized or must be fixed, all I have to do is to reach out to Microsoft and tell APEx-Support ‘please fix this’ and the improvement is incorporated into the process itself.” – Michael Karam, Licensing & SAM Consultant, SCHNEIDER IT MANAGEMENT.
Michael’s experience and approach is emblematic of the effective partnership between SCHNEIDER IT MANAGEMENT and Microsoft, an approach that can function as a blueprint for other partners looking to collaborate effectively and get the most out of the tools that Microsoft provides.
“The approach of WorkSpace allows our consultants to work in a structured and efficient environment – this leads to cost savings and a better allocation of resources as well as employees’ and customers’ satisfaction.” Christian M. Schneider, Managing Director, SCHNEIDER IT MANAGEMENT.
The value of SAM to spur cloud transformation
SAM engagements, when backstopped by the accuracy and toolset provided by WorkSpace, offer opportunities to develop precise understandings of customers’ licensing requirements. The WorkSpace process also drives consistent contact between the consultants performing the SAM engagements and the customers impacted. Coupling these two benefits, WorkSpace-backed SAM engagements can be powerful starting points when engaging customers on moving to the cloud.
SAM engagements provide customers insights into how they can better optimize their licensing – and this information can also be illustrative in helping customers understand the benefits of cloud services. By looking at a customer’s infrastructure in detail, a consultant can identify specific instances where transitioning to the cloud can provide cost savings and benefits to the customer.