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A NEW SPECTER LOOMS: USER LICENSING BASED ON SAP AUTHORIZATIONS.

Understand your SAP licensing system and be prepared for the shift to authorization based licensing

In recent user group meetings, SAP announced it is planning to alter its user licensing policy to one based on what a user is authorized to do as opposed to the current model based on actual usage. Joachim Paulini looks at the repercussions of this change.

We are delighted to share that we have been named a 2018 Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice for Software Asset Management Tools. We’d like to thank our customers that have provided enthusiastic endorsement of our solutions, services and customer support.

 

This recognition follows on from Gartner's inaugural 2018 Magic Quadrant for Software Asset Management Tools[1] earlier this year, where Snow Software was positioned in the leaders quadrant.

 

For additional information on Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Software Asset Management Tools, read a complimentary copy of the full report here.

 

 

I posted this little blog some years ago but it’s still valid.

 

Balancing demands from management, staff, vendors, projects, IT and business changes, deciphering contracts and license agreements, internal and external audit demands, software requests, the need to stay compliant whilst ensuring that end users can still perform their job. just a few of the tasks a software asset manager does on a daily basis.

Keeping up with the ever-changing world of software licensing rules is a job in its own right. The introduction of virtualisation has led to an ever more complex licensing world that the end user (Software Asset Manager) has to understand and deliver. Take IBM as an example, there are currently in excess of 45 capacity licensing rules alone.(processor value unit counting rules,)

The problem is not just that these license models are complex. There are also lots of them. Despite fundamentally measuring the same thing, Oracle’s Processor Core Factors are completely different to IBM’s Processor Value Units. Each vendor deals with sub-capacity in its own way, not just in terms of counting rules but even in terms of which virtual systems can be costed on this basis.

Having to manage the misconception that the cloud is going to make life easier all time doesn’t help either.

The role of the Software Asset Manager is also getting more varied requiring skills that range from IT to procurement to HR, security, national and international law, ITIL specialist, contract management, training, Infra-structure design, cloud guru to name a few.

So next time you meet a Software Asset Manager, be nice to them, buy them a cup of coffee.

Snow Software Support for Microsoft Intelligent
Asset Manager to Help Customers Maximize the Value of Software Asset Management


The Microsoft Intelligent Asset Manager (IAM) allows Snow Software to
provide transparency in software consumption,
move beyond license compliance and increase customer value.

 

Stockholm, Sweden. July 16, 2018. Snow Software (Snow), the global leader in Software Asset Management (SAM) and Cloud Spend Management solutions today announced it is collaborating with Microsoft to help customers maximize the value of Software Asset Management (SAM), moving beyond license compliance and toward increased customer value. Microsoft Intelligent Asset Manager (IAM) enables Snow Software’s partners and customers to more easily and transparently collect and securely share Inventory data and leverage Microsoft’s centralized service to establish a licensing position. This helps make time-consuming, expensive and disruptive reviews a thing of the past and enables more time and focus on helping customers manage their IT infrastructure and derive meaningful insight from this process.

 

IAM, coupled with Snow Software technology, will make it easier to understand a customer’s IT inventory, store that data in a secure and customer-controlled manner and enable the seamless creation of an Effective License Position (ELP) – a trusted baseline for both parties. Through a special program with Snow Software, Microsoft customers can use the resulting ELP via the Snow Software solution to manage their Microsoft license position on an ongoing basis. Doing so in a managed and transparent process using pre-agreed metrics will save customer resources, allow friction-free self-optimization, create more value driven relationships for Microsoft customers and empower informed strategic technology and cloud decisions.


 “Snow Software understands the critical role inventory, normalization and visibility into software usage plays in maintaining a healthy software estate,” said Axel Kling, CEO. “We’re extremely proud to work with Microsoft to help our mutual partners create more value-driven relationships by improving the understanding of how Microsoft’s customers are using software and hardware.”

 

Patama Chantaruck, GM WW Software Asset Management & Compliance at Microsoft, says:  “We believe SAM, when done right, is a strategic advantage for our customers. We stay committed to helping all organizations maximize value, minimize risk and achieve more with their IT investments. To enable this, we work with partners to simplify the way SAM engagements are conducted and ensure customers receive meaningful value from them. We are delighted with Snow Software’s support for Intelligent Asset Manager, and we look forward to bringing the powerful value of SAM to accelerate the digital transformation for our customers.”

 

 

Stockholm, Sweden. July 5, 2018. Snow Software (Snow), the global leader in Software Asset Management (SAM) and Cloud Spend Management solutions today announced the appointment of Vishal Rao to its executive leadership team as President & Chief Operating Officer (COO). In this capacity, Rao will focus on all ‘go to market’ strategy, and customer-engaging functions. He will also continue to serve on Snow’s Board of Directors.

 

Rao, who joined Snow’s Board over two years ago, has extensive operational expertise in building and scaling up field and sales operations at enterprise software companies, across a career that spans over twenty years. He spent a better part of the last decade at Splunk (NASDAQ: SPLK) and Cloudera (NYSE: CLDR), both of which have seen impressive growth and success, and realized material revenue milestones, including successful IPOs during his tenure. Over the past three and a half years, he was responsible for all customer-facing functions at Cloudera as SVP of Field Operations, prior to which he was at Splunk for five years, most recently responsible for worldwide Sales.

 

Announcing Rao’s appointment, Axel Kling, CEO Snow Software said, “Having worked with Vishal for the past two years, I’m delighted to have someone with Vishal’s industry experience and business acumen spearheading the go-to-market strategy and all of Snow’s customer-engaging functions. Vishal has a proven track record and is the ideal person to take on this new role.”

 

Rao commented, “Having been on the Board for the last two years, I’ve had a front seat view of the transformation Snow has undergone, and I was eager to take on operational responsibility with the acknowledged leader in SAM and Cloud Spend Management solutions. Snow is at a pivotal point in its journey as it broadens its offerings and continues its global expansion. Poised for even greater success, I’m looking forward to contributing to building the foundational layer for the next phase of Snow’s growth.”

 

 

About Snow Software

Whether it’s through lack of control, lack of understanding or lack of compliance, Snow (www.snowsoftware.com) believes that most organizations today end up paying too high a price for their software.

Snow Software is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, with offices across the globe. It is the largest dedicated developer of SAM solutions designed to ensure that the investment in enterprise software is money well spent – ensuring organizations have the appropriate licenses for the software they use – not too many, not too few.

With more local offices and regional support centers than any other SAM solutions provider, more than 4,500 organizations around the world rely on Snow Software's on-premise and cloud-based SAM solutions to manage software licensing across more than 11 million devices, from mobile to desktop, data center to the cloud.

 

For the latest information about Snow, please visit:

Web: www.snowsoftware.com

Twitter: @snowsoftware

Community: community.snowsoftware.com

PR Contact:

Su Kent

Snow Software

su.kent@snowsoftware.com

+46 70 822 1149

 

UK: Max Deeley

Hotwire PR on behalf of Snow Software

max.deeley@hotwireglobal.com

+44 207 608 2500

 

USA: Melissa Mahoney

V2 Comms on behalf of Snow Software

mmahoney@v2comms.com

+1 617 426 2222

su.kent

Snow Ideas Board

Posted by su.kent Employee Jul 2, 2018

We are pleased to announce the launch of Snow Ideas Board on Snow Globe.

 

The Ideas Board is a space where you can share your ideas of new features you’d like the Snow product team to consider developing or enhancing.

 

From today, you can submit new ideas, see and comment on ideas that others have posted, check in on ideas that are under review by our product team and discover which ones will be implemented.

 

Please bookmark this page and start contributing to the discussion, add your comments and vote for ones you’d love to see developed.

Today, June 28, 2018, Snow is announcing end-of-life for our products Snow License Manager 7 and Snow Inventory 3. Software updates for these two products will cease on September 30, 2018 and support will end on March 31, 2019. We are advising all our customers to upgrade to Snow License Manager 8 and Snow Inventory 5 as soon as possible.

Please reach out to your local Snow Account Manager (if you don't know who that is, please contact Support) who can tell you more about the next steps, as well as the benefits of transitioning to the recent version of our Software Asset Management solution that includes features for Microsoft Office 365 subscription optimization, SaaS application discovery, and automated license re-harvesting.

 

FAQs

 

What are the benefits of upgrading to Snow License Manager 8 and Inventory 5?

The newer versions of our products are supported and updated regularly with new features, enhancements, and corrections. Not only do our most recent product releases include asset management features adapted for the modern, cloud-based organization, they also take advantage of developments in other parts of the technology space, such as the latest encryption techniques.

The newer versions of our products include capabilities for optimizing cloud spend, such as cloud application discovery and metering capabilities, providing insight into SaaS consumption, along with Microsoft Office 365 subscription optimization, and GDPR reporting.

 

What version of Snow License Manager and Snow Inventory am I running?
Snow License Manager:
To check the version of Snow License Manager you're running, log into your Snow License Manager web page, click on your login username in the top right and select About. This page will show you the full SLM version including revisions.
Snow Inventory:
To check the version of Snow Inventory you're running you will need to access the server where it's installed. From there run Add or Remove Programs/Uninstall a program and find Snow Inventory in the list. If you don't see a column for version number right click on the top bar and add the Version column. Another way you are able to check your Inventory version if you do not have access to the server is by looking at the Inventory Agent in add or remove programs on your local machine. If the agent installed is 3.x it is Inventory 3 and if 5.x it is Inventory 5.


What version of the software is covered by the upgrade?

The most recent product versions (as of June 21) are Snow License Manager 8.3.1 and Snow Inventory 5.4.0, which include SaaS capabilities enabling users to, for example, match subscription purchases against assignments and usage, pinpointing where costs can be eliminated.

In this release, support is available for the following SaaS providers: Box, Cisco WebEx, DropBox, Google G Suite, Salesforce Sales Cloud, ZenDesk, as well as the comprehensive solution for Microsoft Office 365.

 

Does end of life apply to Inventory agents too?

Yes, support will also cease for 3.x Inventory agents.

 

In some cases, I use unsupported versions of Snow Inventory agents to inventory legacy hardware that isn't supported by newer agents. Can I still use 3.x agents to achieve this?

The short answer is yes. One of the benefits of upgrading to Snow License Manager 8 and Snow Inventory 5 is the capability to provide end-of-life details for software installed on a network – a feature that is not included in earlier versions of our products. Our agents tend to support legacy operating systems as long as the vendor is continuing to support. While running unsupported versions of our agents is not ideal, the real risk is old hardware running operating systems that are not supported by their vendors, an insight that Snow License Manager 8 together with Inventory 5 can highlight.

 

Can I carry out an upgrade without support from Snow?

Snow recommends you first contact Snow to ensure that the upgrade is performed according to best practices. We advise you to implement  a project plan that includes a system readiness check, communication with users, planning for downtime, and timelines – all of which Snow can provide guidance and support for.

Please be aware that any faults, issues or technical problems occurring as a result of any customer performing the migration and upgrade will not be covered by Snow’s standard  support and maintenance agreement. Potential charges may therefore arise from any time incurred to assist/ resolve any issues and will incur a charge based on a T/M day rate in accordance with our standard support terms and conditions on our website (http://www.snowsoftware.com/int/cst).   

 

Is there any documentation to help?

An upgrade wizard is available in the Snow Inventory 5.4.0 release and full documentation of the steps of the upgrade path are available in the User Guide: Migration from Inventory 3 to Inventory 5

System Requirements Snow products

 

How long does it take to carry out an upgrade?

The technical part of the upgrade can take up to 5 working days, depending on the size of your environment. The upgrade project, which includes communication with users, training in the new user interface, and learning about new features and how to use them, however might take a couple of months to complete – depending on the size of your organization and the number of Snow users.

Today, June 28, 2018, Snow is announcing end-of-life for our products Snow License Manager 7 and Snow Inventory 3. Software updates for these two products will cease on September 30, 2018 and support will end on March 31, 2019. We are advising all our customers to upgrade to Snow License Manager 8 and Snow Inventory 5 as soon as possible.

Please reach out to your local Snow Account Manager (if you don't know who that is, please contact Support) who can tell you more about the next steps, as well as the benefits of transitioning to the recent version of our Software Asset Management solution that includes features for Microsoft Office 365 subscription optimization, SaaS application discovery, and automated license re-harvesting.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

What are the benefits of upgrading to Snow License Manager 8 and Inventory 5?

The newer versions of our products are supported and updated regularly with new features, enhancements, and corrections. Not only do our most recent product releases include asset management features adapted for the modern, cloud-based organization, they also take advantage of developments in other parts of the technology space, such as the latest  encryption techniques. 

The newer versions of our products include capabilities for optimizing cloud spend, such as cloud application discovery and metering capabilities, providing insight into SaaS consumption, along with Microsoft Office 365 subscription optimization, and GDPR reporting.


What version of Snow License Manager and Snow Inventory am I running?

Snow License Manager: To check the version of Snow License Manager you're running, log into your Snow License Manager web page, click on your login username in the top right and select About. This page will show you the full SLM version including revisions.
Snow Inventory: To check the version of Snow Inventory you're running you will need to access the server where it's installed. From there run Add or Remove Programs/Uninstall a program and find Snow Inventory in the list. If you don't see a column for version number right click on the top bar and add the Version column. Another way you are able to check your Inventory version if you do not have access to the server is by looking at the Inventory Agent in add or remove programs on your local machine. If the agent installed is 3.x it is Inventory 3 and if 5.x it is Inventory 5.


What version of the software is covered by the upgrade?

The most recent product versions (as of June 21) are Snow License Manager (SLM) 8.3.1 and Snow Inventory (INV) 5.4.0, which include SaaS capabilities that enable users to match subscription purchases against assignments to highlight where costs can be eliminated. In this release, support is available for the following SaaS providers: Box, Cisco WebEx, DropBox, Google G Suite, Salesforce Sales Cloud, ZenDesk, as well as the comprehensive solution for Microsoft Office 365.

 

Does end of life apply to Inventory agents too?

Yes, support will also cease for 3.x Inventory agents. 

 

In some cases, I use unsupported versions of Snow Inventory agents to inventory legacy hardware that isn't supported by newer agents. Can I still use 3.x agents to achieve this?

It is fine to use older agents when the latest agent versions don't support old hardware or operating systems. The upgrade to SLM8+INV5 can provide end-of-life details for software installed on your network, a capability that is not provided by INV3/SLM7. Our agents tend to support old operating systems as long as the vendor is continuing to support. While running unsupported agents is not recommended, the real risk is old hardware running operating systems that are not supported by their vendors. This is an insight that SLM8 together with INV5 can highlight.

 

Can I carry out an upgrade without support from Snow?

Snow recommends you first contact Snow to ensure that the upgrade is performed according to best practices. We advise you to implement a project plan that includes a system readiness check, communication with users, planning for downtime, and timelines – all of which Snow can provide guidance and support for.

 

Is there any documentation to help?

An upgrade wizard is available in the Snow Inventory 5.4.0 release and full documentation of the steps of the upgrade path are available in the User Guide: Migration from Inventory 3 to Inventory 5

System Requirements Snow products

 

How long does it take to carry out an upgrade?

The technical part of the upgrade can take up to 5 working days, depending on the size of your environment. The upgrade project, which includes communication with users, training in the new user interface, and learning about new features and how to use them, however might take a couple of months to complete – depending on the size of your organization and the number of Snow users.

su.kent

Snow Beta Testing

Posted by su.kent Employee Jun 12, 2018

We are pleased to announce a new beta testing space on Snow Globe. Here, all customer members will be able to see new product features ahead of launch. You are invited to provide ideas and feedback to shape and improve our future solutions.

 

Each beta test will have an exclusive collaboration space where you can comment and share your ideas with our Snow experts and development team, as well as see how your peers are contributing to Snow’s future product plans.

 

Bookmark this page and sign up to see which product features are currently being tested now.

 

Insight and analytics into more than 1,000 SaaS applications now possible

 

Stockholm, April 23, 2018Snow Software, the global leader in Software Asset Management (SAM) and Cloud Spend Management solutions, today announced the launch of Snow for Cloud and enhancements in Snow’s Oracle Management Option and Snow for ITSM.

 

Snow for Cloud

 

Snow for Cloud provides IT leaders with the next evolution of transparent, actionable views  of their Software as a Service (SaaS) environment so they can easily assess and manage cloud usage and spend. It provides them insight to discover, make an inventory of and track consumption of more than 1,000 SaaS applications.

 

This deep analytical insight enables IT leaders to quickly and accurately identify overspend from duplicate, unused or underutilized SaaS subscriptions. Snow for Cloud also automates manual access requests and provisioning processes that are often costly and inefficient.

 

"Many organizations have gone beyond cloud-first and are now cloud only. Cloud computing has become the new normal." said Peter Björkman, CTO at Snow Software. "Business units can now deploy SaaS solutions without the involvement of IT. This leaves IT without visibility or control of their SaaS environment and uncertainty as to what is being used, where and by whom. This is creating a Disruption Gap, a gulf between what IT understands about technology usage and what is actually occurring.”

 

Björkman adds, “Snow empowers IT leaders to identify wasted cloud spend, optimize SaaS applications and accurately manage cloud costs. This insight enables them to become enablers of business goals and the go-to for digital transformation initiatives, essential if they are to succeed in the digital era.”

 

Snow Oracle Management Option and Snow for IT Service Management (ITSM)

 

Snow also announces enhancements to Snow’s Oracle Management Option and Snow for ITSM. Oracle Management Option provides CIOs and IT leaders with a complete overview of Oracle databases deployed in their environments. With visibility into data risk, IT leaders have a greater understanding of what platform Oracle is deployed into, whether physical or virtualized, or in a SaaS or IaaS environment.

Snow for ITSM supports a number of ITSM platforms with up-to-date asset information, software and users, improving CMDB data accuracy. Snow’s automatic identification and normalization of software and consolidation from multiple data sources will improve the efficiency of Help Desk operations.

 

Peter Björkman concluded, “The Software Asset Management market is evolving, which we feel is indicated by Gartner's inaugural 2018 Magic Quadrant for Software Asset Management Tools[1] where Snow Software was positioned in the leaders quadrant. From our perspective, by addressing the complexities of cloud asset management, with support across more applications than anyone else, Snow Software continues to demonstrate why it is leading the SAM industry today.”

 

For more information on Snow for Cloud, visit: https://www.snowsoftware.com/int/products/snow-cloud-discovery

 

[1] Gartner. Magic Quadrant for Software Asset Management Tools. Authors: Roger Williams | April Adams | Matt Corsi, 16 April 2018.

 

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

 

 

When it comes to SaaS offerings like Microsoft Office 365, the focus for SAM managers is no longer the legal aspect of software compliance; because, assuming users don’t loan out their credentials, consumption is compliant out-of-the-box. So what function does the compliance calculation in Snow License Manager serve in a SaaS world? The answer is internal auditing and tracking. Organizations still need to prove that consumption of an application within their estate is covered by a subscription. In this post, I aim to explain how the concepts of coverage and compliance are calculated for SaaS applications.

 

Since Microsoft Office 365 functionality was introduced in Snow License Manager, a lack of automated intelligence in the system resulted in bizarre coverage and compliance figures for applications included in a subscription. In Snow License Manager 8.3, we have added new functionality that automatically correlates applications installed or used on a machine with its Office 365 subscription, enabling coverage and compliance to be calculated correctly – providing SAM managers with a way to easily filter out users who are properly covered and focus on the edge cases instead.

 

Figure 1 shows an enterprise’s consumption of Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus, which is offered as a standalone subscription with OneDrive, and as part of an E1 or E3 subscription.

 

The numbers in Figure 1 indicate that 167 users in the organization are consuming Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus. As this is a subscription-based application, no licenses have been purchased, and so the number of licenses shows as zero. With a requirement of one subscription per named user, the license requirement is 167. The coverage figure shows that the organization has purchased 135 subscriptions that include ProPlus – such as the ProPlus subscription, and E1 and E3 subscriptions. Compliance shows at -32, indicating that 32 users are either not linked or are consuming ProPlus using another organization’s credentials – a scenario which may arise when sub-contractors and consultants are connected to the enterprise network.

 

Figure 1: Compliance calculation and purchases for Office 365 ProPlus using subscription coverage

 

So, what’s the point? Well, in the previous version of Snow License Manager – coverage figures were zero and compliance would show as -167, because the intelligence wasn’t in place. In this version, we have added the intelligence that enables SLM to determine if the installed version of ProPlus on a computer is covered by just by the primary user’s subscription. So, how does SLM calculate the figures for coverage and compliance?

 

Calculating coverage

For each installation of ProPlus, SLM first determines the named user, which can be the primary user (and/or all users) of the computer where the application is installed. It then correlates the user with the information retrieved from the Microsoft Office Portal. If the user has been assigned with a subscription that includes ProPlus, coverage is incremented. Note that users with more than one subscription covering ProPlus will only count as one in the coverage calculation, and users need to be linked to enable the correlation. For more information about linking users, see my previous post: what is user linking for Office-365 and how to manually link users in SLM.

 

Calculating compliance

When coverage has been calculated, compliance is calculated as the license requirement minus coverage.

This new functionality provides the correct information regarding the coverage and compliance of Office 365 applications, enabling SAM managers to track how applications are being covered for internal governance and auditing of software. The concept of coverage is applicable to all Office 365 subscriptions and applications, including browser-based cloud applications like Office Online and its components – PowerBI and Dynamics 365.

Evaluation in Inaugural Magic Quadrant for Software Asset Management Tools is Based on Completeness of Vision and Ability to Execute


Stockholm, SWEDEN – April 17, 2018
 – Snow Software (Snow), the global leader in Software Asset Management (SAM) and Cloud Spend Management solutions, today announced it has been positioned by Gartner, Inc. in the Leaders quadrant of the Magic Quadrant for Software Asset Management Tools[1].

 

After Gartner conducted a company and product evaluation of Snow’s SAM solution, Snow Software was named a Leader in the Magic Quadrant, positioned furthest to the right for completeness in vision and highest for ability to execute.  

 

“To us, Snow’s leadership position affirms our strategy of creating innovative solutions and being relentlessly customer-focused,” said Axel Kling, CEO of Snow Software. “We continue to innovate at an aggressive pace and will shortly announce new versions of products that will further address the future needs of SAM buyers.”

 

“As the industry moves from traditional IT-driven technology purchases to business-driven ones we are continually interpreting organizations' SAM needs to maintain our market leading position,” said Peter Björkman, CTO of Snow Software. “We believe this accolade from Gartner continues to recognize Snow for our leadership and excellence. In our view, with early recognition of the market demand for cloud support, Snow is ensuring our customers can achieve their cloud and digital transformation initiatives.”

 

Many of the world’s most recognized brands rely on Snow to manage and optimize their technology spend and consumption, including Atos, Arla, Bank of Ireland, Bridgestone, Canon, Komatsu, Saab, Scandic and Thrifty.

 

As of April 16, 2018, on Gartner Peer Insights, Snow Software has an overall rating of 4.4 out of 5 in the Software Asset Management Tools market based on 98 ratings.

 

[1] Gartner, “Magic Quadrant for Software Asset Management Tools” by Roger Williams, April Adams, Matt Corsi, April 16, 2018.

 

 Gartner Disclaimers 

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

 

Gartner Peer Insights reviews constitute the subjective opinions of individual end-users based on their own experiences, and do not represent the views of Gartner or its affiliates.

SAM managers, especially in large organizations, need to co-ordinate with other functions, such as the IT services desk to make changes to the IT environment. In smaller companies the IT and SAM manager is often one and the same. Whatever scenario applies, getting things done requires handovers and interactions with different systems and portals, which can be time-consuming and of course costly to the business. Add in the constant threat of security breaches and evolving regulations like GDPR, making changes to the IT environment is not always a straightforward process.  

 

The Snow License Manager (SLM) team have been looking at how we can ease this pain point, by enabling the SAM manager to carry out some basic ‘IT tasks’ directly from the SLM interface. Naturally, it’s not that simple, we’re not talking about plugging SLM into the heart of your IT system. We’ve been looking at a long-term approach, how to connect portals and systems and enable secure service-chaining through workflow orchestration and automation.  

 

So, to start with, the team decided to address the two most common admin activities related to Microsoft Office 365: adding users to and removing them from a subscription plan. 

Before I get into the details of how we have implemented this functionality. I first want to address the security issue.  

Rather than plugging SLM directly into the IT environment we have chosen to use Snow Automation Platform, which already includes the functionality to add and remove users, but more importantly, has been constructed to uphold IT security policies. 

 

If you are already using Snow Automation Platform, you’ll be familiar with the concept of Automation Books – a prepackaged PowerShell script that carries out a specific IT function. The Automation Book – Office 365 Automation – has been created to add/remove users to an Office 365 subscription plan. By allowing Snow Automation Platform to carry out these functions, risk is lowered as SAM managers don’t need to be provided with access to the Office 365 portal. And the entry barrier is lowered by removing the need for the SAM manager to understand yet another system. 

 

So, once Snow Automation Platform is configured, a more-options icon will be visible on the context menu of a subscription plan – shown in Figure 1.  

Figure 1: Context menu subscription plan – Add/Remove users option. 

 

I’m not going to walk through the low-level steps of the process in this post, there’s a good description in section 11.1.3.1 – Add subscription plan – on page 96 of the User Guide: SLM Web User Interface - Update revision 8.3.  What I believe is more interesting is how we’ve put this functionality together and how you can use it to optimize your estate. 

 

Use case

Say, for example, you have a bunch of users on E3 subscriptions who are not using the installed version of the ProPlus applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.), and you want to move them to them to the cheaper E1 subscription. Use the new functionality in Snow License Manager to create requests to add these users to an E1 subscription, and at the same time, add requests to remove the users from their E3 subscriptions. Push the Request button and the system takes care of the rest. 

So how does it work?

Figure 2: Data flow 

 

Once you have made add/remove requests in SLM, these requests are stored in a local queue. The workflow engine of Snow Automation Platform polls the API endpoint of Snow License Manager every 30 minutes (configurable).  

On each API call, Snow Automation Platform retrieves new items from the add/remove requests queue and updates the status of requests it has already processed to completed. Snow Automation Platform handles all new requests by sending the appropriate add/remove instructions to the Microsoft Office portal, which in turn updates user subscriptions accordingly.   

 

The next time the Microsoft Office 365 SIM connector reports in, Snow License Manager confirms that completed requests have been carried out before removing them from the queue. 

Should anything go wrong when Snow Automation Platform tries to take the action requested, the error message will be shown in SLM. 

 

Communication is triggered from Automation Platform to Snow License Manager to support customers who are being hosted on a partner platform, where Snow Automation Platform is on-premise and Snow License Manager is hosted. 

I know some customers have been waiting for Snow License Manager to start moving in this direction. Our beta tests indicate that this is a highly useful feature in certain scenarios, and so I’d really like to get feedback from you, if you think you will use it, and are we thinking along the right lines?

Please leave a comment. 

Snow Support is Changing - with the new Support Portal you are able to receive support specifically tailored to your needs whenever you want it.

 

From the portal, you can raise new support cases, review cases from across your organization and access the Knowledge Base where you can find support articles, product documentation and helpful videos.

 

Behind the portal are new ways of working to make customer service and support more efficient and deliver quicker results. Jonas Dahlberg, Head of Customer Support, Technical Excellence, says: “We’ve made changes based on customer feedback and our own observations to build a better user experience.”

Snow Support Portal home page

Highlights

  • Easy Access to Knowledge
    The Knowledge Base is filled with articles that our support team has established through the Knowledge-Centered Services (KCS) methodology. Tom Boyle (Tom.Boyle2), Global Support Knowledge Manager: “The Knowledge Base will grow as we write articles that directly tackle the cases received in Support so that our customers get the answers they need as quickly as possible. And it’s the result of incredible teamwork: when you’re looking at an article you aren’t just getting the insight of one individual. Each article has been worked on and added to by Snow’s top technical experts with the information written in digestible bites.”
  • Simplicity in logging/closing tickets
    New tickets will simply start as an unassigned case. Jonas says: “Our customers just want support. It doesn’t make sense to have different ticket types or classifications.”
    When Support offers a solution to a case support requesters will see a status “resolution proposed” rather than “pending resolved”, and the support requester will be the one to select “Accept Solution” or “Reopen ticket” from the portal.
  • Improved search
    The search filter now allows for faster and more relevant searches.
  • Preventive analytics
    Support is capturing the root cause and complexity rating when closing a case, giving us more data on the issues you face leading to further preventive initiatives.

 

Keep an eye out on the portal for communication about upcoming functionality and take advantage of the Knowledge Base as it continues to evolve and grow.

 

If you face any issues or have further requests for the portal, please raise a case with Support.

 

Please watch the video below for a quick navigational guide that will highlight some key features of the portal.

Snow Globe is an open community for SAM professionals from across the globe, designed to build new relationships and stimulate conversation amongst the professional community. 

 

Occasionally we need your help to make sure we all continue to enjoy connecting with new people and asking questions of each other. That’s why we ask for your feedback, especially if you see something that doesn’t appear quite right on Snow Globe such as a profile, author or content that makes you question the authenticity. 

 

If you come across a post or answers to questions which are not SAM related or a profile that doesn’t fit with the expectations of a member of a SAM community then we’d like to know. 

 

Our Snow Globe Community team recommend using the “report abuse” function which can be found in the dropdown menu from the “actions” button, so if you see a post which breaks the rules e.g. promoting software or services or not talking about SAM, the community Manager will be alerted automatically.

 

This is the code of conduct which helps define what constitutes ‘abuse’. For example, promotional advertising is abuse of the rules of the community https://community.snowsoftware.com/docs/DOC-1112-snow-globe-code-of-conduct

 

Although this may seem to be a reactive method of monitoring content it ensures we take a community led approach and is therefore encouraged as a positive action for our community.