I work at bet365 which is world’s largest online sports betting company and one of the largest private companies in the UK. I’ve held a number of different IT roles throughout my career and one (of a few) of my current responsibilities is looking after our software and licensing compliance.
Innovation, technology, maximising benefit, delivering value and getting the most out of our products is part of our everyday life. Snow Inventory and Snow License Manager products are no exception to this.
Having been a member of Snow Globe for quite a while now, I’ve noticed there are quite a few people who are new to this world and SAM so I thought to help out by highlighting a few basics that you need to have in place. These will enable you to start producing quality, accurate licensing data and reports:
1) The right product (Snow of course) – I’ve purchased this in a previous company and it’s the right tool for the job by far.
2) You’ve got to have your MACD (Move, Add, Change, Delete) processes under control first – all assets (physical/ virtual/ PC/ server etc.) must have a controlled process for bringing them into use within your environment and when the time has come to retire /re-use them. Without this, you’ll end up constantly chasing your tail as you won’t be able to obtain a baseline to start from.
3) By far the most accurate method of obtaining inventory data is with the agents. Yes, there are connectors for various products but if there is an agent for your target, then this should be the default choice. If you are using a connector to bring data in from another product then ensure you are aware of/ if there are limitations/ bugs/ problems with it. Yes, 3rd party products may claim to recognise software and you can bring this data into Snow License Manager but are they really as good as the Inventory Agent (in my experience no…)? Of course, there are connectors you will and should use to help build the full environment picture.
4) You need to ensure you’ve got buy-in and support from your managers and peers – without this you won’t be able to achieve the above let alone start to build, implement and mature the required SAM processes that came after.
5) Good procurement data: you need access to contracts and centralisation of procurement history. You need to fully understand and track your licence models so you can reconcile your compliance position accurately. Ensure you configure Snow to track and monitor usage correctly whether it be a user or device metric
As for what else you can use the product for is down to how much you want to get out of it. From out of the box there is a huge amount of information and data available via reports as well as the database that other teams or the business can use.
We probably use the product 50% of the time for the standard out-of-the-box licensing compliance and 50% for everything else we have implemented - the agent can easily be updated to bring back extra custom registry information or get a PowerShell script to output some data in the format that the Snow agent can recognise.
Away from work I can usually be found at the blunt end of a power drill trying to get through the seemingly endless list of DIY job’s but if the weather is nice (can’t remember what nice weather is) then a few hours out on my bike two wheels with an engine of course is the best way to relax.