Family Mosaic

Family Mosaic is one of the largest housing associations in the South of England, providing people in London, Essex and the Southeast with good quality, affordable homes to rent and buy. The organisation operates over 26,000 homes serving more than 45,000 people.

The Challenge

Like most housing associations, Family Mosaic is heavily invested in Microsoft software for the day-to-day running of its business. A good reason for this is that housing associations used to qualify for discounts of up to 80% on their software through Microsoft’s Select Academic licensing. As a result Family Mosaic runs 27 different lines of Microsoft software, from Exchange to SQL Server to the complete suite of Office products. However, in 2012 Microsoft announced that housing associations would no longer qualify for Select Academic licences so would lose their significant discounts at their next renewal. This meant that Family Mosaic was facing significant increases in its software costs when its three-year agreement expired early 2015.

Fortunately for Family Mosaic, it had time on its side. “With over two years to go until our agreement was due for renewal, we had time to engage with the business to put a strategy together,” commented Nick Crane, Head of IT Operations at Family Mosaic. “We knew that our software bill was going to increase significantly, so we needed to minimise the cost increases wherever possible. This meant aligning our software purchases to our requirements more closely than ever before while employing the most efficient licensing agreements for this software. But with over 2,500 users, 200+ sites and 27 different product lines, we knew this was easier said than done.”

As with most medium-to-large businesses today, Family Mosaic runs a predominantly virtualised IT infrastructure. By the time Microsoft had announced its licensing changes, Family Mosaic had already virtualised 95% of its IT estate which included all 1,500+ desktops running as Citrix thin clients. While virtualisation had resulted in significant operational and capital cost savings for Family Mosaic, it had also resulted in a much more complicated licensing scenario.

“Microsoft SQL Server, Visio and Project are particularly difficult to license under virtualised environments due to the licences being device-centric rather than user-centric,” stated Crane. “We have found that the compliance goalposts for these applications tend to move on a regular basis, particularly when they are deployed on virtualised estates. We needed to make a decision on how best to manage our compliance position with this in mind. We therefore sought out a licensing specialist that could answer all of our questions and put us on the best possible footing ahead of our next licensing renewal.”

Microsoft SQL Server, Visio and Project are particularly difficult to license under virtualised environments due to the licences being device-centric rather than user-centric. We have found that the compliance goalposts for these applications tend to move on a regular basis, particularly when they are deployed on virtualised estates. We needed to make a decision on how best to manage our compliance position with this in mind. We therefore sought out a licensing specialist that could answer all of our questions and put us on the best possible footing ahead of our next licensing renewal.
Nick Crane, Head of IT OperationsFamily Mosaic

The Solution

As a long-standing and trusted partner of Family Mosaic, Phoenix Software was invited to tender for a licensing renewal and software optimisation project along with two other companies. Once all three tender responses had been reviewed and validated by an independent panel, Family Mosaic selected Phoenix for the renewal of its Microsoft Enterprise Agreement. For software optimisation it also signed up to ‘Focus’, Phoenix Software’s Licence-Management-as-a-Service (LMaaS) solution for ongoing maintenance of its compliance position. Family Mosaic also deployed AppSense for application management to deal with the Visio/Project question.

The first step in the Focus Service was to conduct a thorough baseline of Family Mosaic’s software requirements in order to determine where any software savings could be made. At the end of the process, Phoenix presented Family Mosaic with an up-to-date Effective Licensing Position (ELP) which highlighted any mismatches between the organisation’s licensing entitlements and its usage. This enabled Family Mosaic to retire any excess licences (i.e. overspend), while any shortfalls could be paid for from the savings.

The end result was a fully-optimised licensing position which minimised Family Mosaic’s exposure to the pending Microsoft price rises.

As a managed service, Phoenix Software’s Focus service also provides Family Mosaic with ongoing maintenance and management of its software compliance during the full term of the Enterprise Agreement. This includes on-demand access to its compliance position and all necessary documentation, plus a complete company-wide ELP conducted by Phoenix Software’s experts twice a year. This ensures that Family Mosaic will never pay for more software than it needs to and also has the added peace of mind that it is fully compliant. In the event that Microsoft ever requires Family Mosaic to prove its compliance with a software audit, it is now in a position to respond within just a few days with minimal disruption to its day-to-day operations.

Following the initial analysis of Family Mosaic’s software requirements, Phoenix and Family Mosaic worked directly with Microsoft to renew the company’s three-year Enterprise Agreement. Family Mosaic was particularly keen to have a greater degree of flexibility in its software usage during the course of its new three-year agreement, so a flexible subscription model was negotiated whereby certain entitlements could be scaled up or down according to usage. Paying by subscription also helped the business to shift more of its software spend onto an OPEX model, which is something the organisation as a whole is keen to do.

Working with Phoenix has been a true partnership right from the start. We understand that achieving software optimisation requires hard work from both the customer and the external licensing consultants. There is no magic bullet. We were not expecting someone simply to come in and take over, but someone we could work with to achieve the best results possible. We found this to be the case with Phoenix and its Focus solution.
Nick Crane, Head of IT OperationsFamily Mosaic

The Benefits

Family Mosaic has experienced both upfront and long-term benefits as a result of engaging in Phoenix Software’s Focus Licence Management-as-a-Service (LMaaS) solution.

Optimised licensing today
As a result of the initial audit and reconciliation process, Family Mosaic was able to optimise its licensing requirements to better match its needs. With additional analysis of the licensing cost implications of its predominantly virtualised infrastructure, it was also determined that de-virtualising Family Mosaic’s SQL Servers would yield additional cost savings.

Optimised licensing tomorrow
With bi-annual reviews of Family Mosaic’s licensing usage and compliance, Family Mosaic knows that it has the right licences to match its needs and is making the best use of the Microsoft software that it has purchased. When it came to renewing its Enterprise Agreement and facing a like-for-like substantial increase in software costs through the loss of its discount, Phoenix was able to reduce Family Mosaic’s forecasted software bill by 20%.

Audit ready
A key differentiator of the Focus Service is that it is a complete managed service with ongoing support, so Family Mosaic no longer needs to worry about maintaining its licensing position itself – Phoenix takes care of it entirely. As an independent trusted advisor in software licensing for over 25 years, Phoenix has completed over 1,000 Software Asset Management (SAM) engagements for organisations of all sizes across all sectors, so Family Mosaic knows it is in good hands if Microsoft chooses to conduct an audit.

Fixed price service
The Focus Service is charged on a fixed price during the course of the Enterprise Agreement, so Family Mosaic knows that it will receive two ELPs every year in addition to ongoing licence support without any hidden costs.

Flexibility
With flexibility negotiated into the new Enterprise Agreement, Family Mosaic is not wholly locked into the software it uses during the three year term. This will enable Family Mosaic to change its software entitlements and even reduce its software spend should it be required to do so during the term.

“Working with Phoenix has been a true partnership right from the start. We understand that achieving software optimisation requires hard work from both the customer and the external licensing consultants. There is no magic bullet. We were not expecting someone simply to come in and take over, but someone we could work with to achieve the best results possible. We found this to be the case with Phoenix and its Focus solution,” concludes Nick Crane.

True Partnerships. Remarkable Outcomes.

To find out how we can work together to assist your organisation modernise and enable your workforce, students and citizens, contact the Phoenix Team on 01904 562200 email hello@phoenixs.co.uk or fill in the form below: