Rotex had a highly diverse IT environment that was costly and time-consuming to maintain, and licenses that didn’t take advantage of volume discounts. With the help of PCMS IT Advisor Group, Rotex adopted a Microsoft® Open Value Subscription. By so doing, it cut licensing costs by 30 percent, updated and standardized its software, and invested the savings in expanding its IT to make it a strategic asset to the business.
“Variety is the spice of life,” according to the old saying. If so, Rotex could have used a little less spice in its information technology infrastructure.
The “spice” in the company’s IT infrastructure was an array of operating systems. Computer servers ran on everything from Windows NT® Server 4.0 to Windows Server® 2003. The 120 desktop computers ran on Windows® versions dating back to Windows 95, including Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and the Windows Vista® operating system.
The company had ended up with that combination of operating systems because computers—on both the server and client sides—were purchased one at a time, when they were needed. The software licenses were original equipment manufacturer (OEM) licenses purchased with the computers.
For the IT department, maintenance was the biggest problem arising from this situation, according to Anil Kotian, Manager, Information Technology, Rotex. Two workers were dedicated to system maintenance. “Technicians couldn’t easily deploy security updates throughout the organization because different machines were configured differently and needed their own versions of new software,” he says. “The help desk couldn’t be of much help without knowing which version of an operating system users were running, and then they had to know how to solve the problem for each version.”
These issues came to a head when Rotex decided to migrate a home-grown enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution running on an Oracle database and Windows NT Server 4.0 to Microsoft Dynamics® GP 10.0 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 running on Windows Server 2008. In addition to upgrading the servers, Rotex would be upgrading its PCs to support Microsoft® Office Professional 2007 software, which it planned to use with the Microsoft Dynamics software. To implement these changes, Rotex turned to PCMS IT Advisor Group, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner.
||Microsoft Open Value Subscription licensing has enabled us to expand and upgrade our infrastructure even at a time when costs are under extra scrutiny.
Manager, Information Technology, Rotex
PCMS began the ERP upgrade and, as it became familiar with the diversity of the Rotex environment, invited the company to let it perform a Microsoft licensing assessment as well as a network infrastructure assessment. The assessments looked at purchasing records and compared them to computers in use. PCMS confirmed that all of the Rotex computers were in compliance with licensing requirements, but that the company was failing to take advantage of volume discounts and licensing programs such as Microsoft Software Assurance for Volume Licensing. Software Assurance provides a range of benefits covering every aspect of the computer product life cycle, from planning and deployment to use, maintenance, and upgrades.
The recommendation from PCMS was that Rotex adopt a Microsoft Open Value Subscription. Open Value Subscription is the Microsoft Volume Licensing program that provides the lowest up-front costs because customers pay only for annual-use rights, rather than for full licenses. With an Open Value Subscription, customers can add or reduce the number of computers covered by their subscription each year. The program was designed for small to midsize companies such as Rotex that have fewer than 750 PCs, want a competitive pricing model, and need to use the latest technology. The Open Value Subscription includes Microsoft Software Assurance.
Rotex took the advice and adopted the Open Value Subscription for all its servers and desktops.
The immediate benefit of adopting the Open Value Subscription was a 30 percent reduction in software licensing costs. “We weren’t buying our licenses in the most effective way; now we are,” says Kotian. “And for us, the savings are significant.”
Moreover, Rotex is putting that savings to work, using those reclaimed funds to expand, standardize, and update its IT infrastructure. Beyond the deployment of Windows Server 2008 and Microsoft Office Professional 2007 as part of the ERP migration, Rotex has also turned to PCMS to help it adopt Microsoft System Center products for the management of its infrastructure; specifically, Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 and System Center Configuration Manager 2007.
Microsoft System Center gives Rotex a single management console from which to both monitor and administer updates. The impact is profound, according to Glenn Pogue, Network Engineer at Rotex.
“We now have a single portal that gives us access to all the management tools we need to run our network,” says Pogue. “When we have desktop problems, we are less likely to have to go to the desktop computer. We can address far more of our issues from our central location.”
That greater manageability, in turn, has made the IT staff measurably more productive. While it formerly took a staff of two to manage the environment, Rotex now manages its environment with a staff of 1.5 full-time equivalents—a savings of 25 percent. Moreover, the number of computers to be managed has increased over the past year by 10 percent.
Rotex plans to go further, using its Software Assurance benefits to upgrade to the Windows 7 client operating system, Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, and other new product versions when they become available. The company plans to complete its ERP upgrade and migration, and to add an intranet portal based on Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server 2007 to aid collaboration between U.S. and international offices.
It’s not lost on Kotian that these enhancements have been made during a time of economic recession. “Microsoft Open Value Subscription licensing has enabled us to expand and upgrade our infrastructure even at a time when costs are under extra scrutiny,” he says. “When the recession is over, our IT staff will be ready to support the business. We’ll be even more of a strategic asset.”