Employees at global sports, entertainment, and media company IMG use the latest technology to keep the business competitive. Working with Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner Bytes, IMG managers found a cost-effective way to meet this need through Microsoft Financing. IMG secured finance for a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, which gives it a simple, centralized purchasing model, greater technical support, and access to the latest products and services.
IMG is a global sports, media, and entertainment company with a diverse business portfolio. It represents global brands, film stars, and sports celebrities. In addition, it produces popular television shows and manages sporting and entertainment events. The company employs more than 2,500 people in its three divisions across the United States, Asia Pacific, and Europe, Middle East, and Africa.
IMG teams need a variety of IT tools to meet tight deadlines and hit targets for successful campaigns, projects, and events. A typical day for an account manager or public relations employee involves producing marketing material, and e-mailing large documents such as PDF and audio files to design and editorial teams, media consultants, and external agencies. Creative divisions, such as the interactive content developer team, produce high-quality, high-profile, interactive digital content for Web sites. Access to the latest tools and feature sets helps them to produce engaging user experiences that attract more viewers.
||Our employees—particularly our developers—want to work with the latest, most advanced software. Under our previous licensing model, we found it hard to meet this demand.
IT Director, EMEA, IMG
Ian Carter, IT Director, EMEA, at IMG, is responsible for making sure IMG employees have the technology they need to do their jobs well. Before 2006, however, he faced a number of challenges in doing this. One of these obstacles was the company’s disparate IT acquisition model. IMG had separate licensing agreements for the United States and Europe, Middle East, and Africa. This not only affected the rate at which the company could deploy new technology, but also made it harder to ensure licensing compliance.
To provide IMG teams with the latest technology and get the most out of its existing IT investment, the company revised its purchasing strategy. Carter says: “Our employees—particularly our developers—want to work with the latest, most advanced software. Under our previous licensing model, we found it hard to meet this demand.”
In January 2006, Carter drew up a list of requirements for a new licensing scenario. “We wanted a predictable pricing model that delivered value for money,” he says. “In addition, we wanted adding and upgrading software to be a simple and manageable exercise.”
In February 2006, Carter consulted Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner Bytes Technology about the licensing challenges facing IMG. Named 2007 Licensing Solutions Partner of the Year by Microsoft for Software Asset Management, the Bytes team recommended two Microsoft Volume Licensing agreements suitable for organizations with more than 250 desktops:
- Select License—targeted at organizations with mixed software requirements. It is a transactional or “pay-as-you-go” program based on a forecast model where usage is measured against an initial forecast.
- Enterprise Agreement (EA)—targeted at organizations that want to acquire their technology and services through one purchase based on the number of desktops they own.
Impressed by both options, Carter based his final decision on the centralized purchasing model offered under the EA. “It met our goal of simplifying license management,” he says. “Making one annual purchase based on the number of desktops is much more straightforward than our previous acquisition method.”
However, Carter initially thought that the EA might be outside the budget expectations of the company. But Bytes put him in touch with Microsoft Financing, which can offer tailored payment plans to help companies acquire the latest releases of Microsoft desktop and server software. “When we approached Microsoft Financing, we were impressed by the flexible payment options it offered,” says Carter. “We were able to come to an arrangement that made excellent financial sense for IMG Group.”
Now, IMG can meet the demands of its employees for the latest software and services through the Software Assurance included in the EA. IMG professionals can upgrade to new technology such as the 2007 Microsoft Office system or Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, at no extra cost. With the new arrangement in place, Carter and his team upgraded all employees to the Windows® XP Professional operating system and Microsoft Office 2003 by March 2006. Upgrades to 2007 Office are now ongoing and Exchange Server 2007 is scheduled to follow early in 2008.
The IMG IT team can now deliver a consistent desktop environment across the company and deploy the latest tools when requested. License management is simpler and costs are predictable, giving IT and finance employees time to focus on more strategic tasks.
“Financing our EA was quick and easy,” says Carter. “If we hadn’t been offered this flexible financing model, we probably would have chosen a smaller volume license.”
- Senior managers at IMG can track licenses and purchasing online through software asset management tools. This makes it easier for them to monitor costs and create an accurate picture of company IT.
- IMG has a dedicated technical account manager under the EA and more support resources through Software Assurance.
- Under its Software Assurance provision, IMG is also entitled to 90 days a year of training and support, organized by Bytes.
- Through the Home Use Program—part of Software Assurance—employees can use Microsoft Office on their home desktops at no additional cost, improving productivity and adding to the IMG benefits package. “More than 15 percent of our workforce has already taken advantage of the Home Use Program, and we’re expecting this to rise,” says Carter.
- The finance team now deals with predictable IT costs that it can easily incorporate into the annual budget plan. And with only one annual order, employees in procurement spend less time purchasing software and counting licenses.
- Using the latest software, employees are delivering real results. The IMG development team has created several high-profile interactive Web sites—including that of Manchester United Football Club—since it started working with the Microsoft Visual Studio® 2005 Professional Edition development system.