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Posted: 9/23/2010
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Pamida Retailer’s IT Team Gains Understanding, Earns Credibility with SAM Assist for True-Up

Corporate restructuring and IT staff turnover left Pamida with a new IT team working to understand the retailer’s technology infrastructure and piece together lost licensing records. After completing a Software Asset Management (SAM) Assist for True-Up engagement, the new IT team gained a solid understanding of the company’s software assets, developed licensing processes and procedures, and earned additional credibility.

Business Needs
When Marc Bartel joined Pamida as Manager of IT Infrastructure in 2008, the retailer recently had separated from its former parent company. The corporate restructuring left Pamida with a technology infrastructure that had been pieced together by an IT team untrained for the task. “When we were deconsolidating, there was not an IT infrastructure team in place to adequately manage the process,” says Bartel.

After Bartel came on board, Pamida began a massive software and hardware cleanup, installing Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 to run software inventory scans. Bartel and his team spent numerous hours combing through inventory logs and reports in an effort to understand the technology environment. “Immediately, we found a number of discrepancies in our scans,” says Bartel. “We quickly realized that System Center Configuration Manager 2007 collected an immense amount of data; however, the data collected was tough to understand, and we could not easily draw conclusions.”

* We were able to repurpose some software that wasn’t being used fully. In addition, the documentation provided by UMS has shaved 80 hours from the annual budget process. *

Marc Bartel
Manager of IT Infrastructure, Pamida

A recent layoff complicated matters, costing the IT department a number of managers and stakeholders. “We lost a number of individuals who had a lot of institutional knowledge about software licensing—where it was held, who purchased it, and when it was purchased,” says Bartel.

Performing a manual inventory and reconciliation of software and licenses was out of the question. “Between our desktops, laptops, servers, point-of-sale devices, and registers, we had about 2,000 devices,” says Bartel. In addition, more than 200 store locations were spread across 17 Midwestern states. Sending an IT team member to each location would have been too time-consuming and costly.

In 2008, Pamida entered into an Enterprise Agreement (EA) as part of the Microsoft Volume Licensing program. The company was approaching its first True-Up, which is an annual license reconciliation review required by the Enterprise Agreement terms and conditions. Bartel previously participated in a Software Asset Management (SAM) engagement at another company, and he felt that Pamida would benefit from a SAM engagement as well.

As the annual True-Up drew near, Bartel approached the company’s large account reseller (LAR) with a request that Pamida be considered for a Microsoft SAM engagement. The LAR contacted Microsoft, and Universal Management Solutions (UMS), a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, was brought in to perform a SAM Assist for True-Up engagement.

UMS installed an automated inventory tool for discovering installed software, UMS Discovery, onto a server at Pamida. UMS SAM Consultant Steve Lohr loaded the inventory tool by accessing the server through Microsoft Office Live Meeting. “We remotely connect to the server, view and take control of the desktop using Remote Desktop—we basically walk them through the process. The tool doesn’t have to be deployed on individual workstations in order to inventory the software installed on them,” explains Lohr.

Over the next few weeks, the UMS Discovery inventory tool gathered information on all Microsoft software that had been deployed across the Pamida network. Once Pamida completed the inventory, UMS created for Pamida a licensing report that compared the inventory tool’s data with information from the Microsoft Licensing Statement (a comprehensive summary statement showing all Microsoft license entitlements). Lohr noted discrepancies and areas of overlicensing and underlicensing.

Lohr, Bartel, and the retailer’s newly created IT Infrastructure team reviewed the licensing report in a series of phone conferences. Bartel used the retailer’s scans from System Center Configuration Manager and a previously purchased inventory tool to validate the data from UMS. After a number of reviews, UMS presented its final licensing report to Pamida.

As a new IT manager, Bartel found that the SAM Assist for True-Up provided him with a number of beneficial results, including greater understanding of the Pamida software environment, improved processes and procedures, and enhanced credibility.

Increased Knowledge for Better Decisions
Bartel knows about all the Microsoft software in use at Pamida, helping him to make informed decisions and streamline licensing in some areas. “We were able to repurpose some software that wasn’t being used fully. In addition, the documentation provided by UMS has shaved 80 hours from the annual budget process,” Bartel says. The retailer now has a road map for future deployments it is planning, including Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft SharePoint technology, and Microsoft Communicator.

Improved Processes and Procedures
Bartel’s team is using the knowledge learned during the SAM Assist for True-Up to support continued compliance. “We are developing a process analysis,” says Bartel. “We have put best practices in place.” Pamida now requires that before new solutions are added to the network, projects must be reviewed by a panel for licensing, security, and other compliance issues.

Further, Pamida is in the process of conducting inventory and license analysis for other software on the system. Says Bartel, “We’ve encountered similar problems with software from other vendors. We are now using the process tools to fix these licensing overages and shortfalls.”

Earned Credibility with Business Leaders
Bartel now has confidence that Pamida is in compliance with licensing requirements and that his team has the knowledge and tools to stay compliant in the future. “If management were to come in here today, I could pull out the documentation and show them exactly what we have and where,” says Bartel. “It’s quick, it’s painless, and that gives me confidence and credibility.”

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Solution Overview

Organization Size: 5000 employees

Organization Profile

Retailer Pamida brings value and convenience to small communities. Headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, Pamida operates more than 200 stores and 146 in-store pharmacies across 17 states.

Software and Services
  • Microsoft Office Live Meeting
  • Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2

Vertical Industries
Retail and Consumer Goods

United States

Business Need
Corporate Software Licensing

IT Issue
  • Asset Management
  • Desktop, Device and Server Management


Universal Management Solutions