Provance Case Study with First Wind

With hundreds of customers across many industries and from around the world, the Provance Case Studies section will provide you with real world examples of Provance solutions at work. 

First Wind® Powers IT Asset Management with Provance®

Leader in green energy finds $165,000 in savings through hardware refresh planning, identifies software license surplus available for reallocation.

I have never worked with a third party organization that is so professional and customer centric.

Jess Wittwer, ITAM Process Improvement Champion & Project Manager

Curtin University

Curtin University is a public university located in Perth, Australia. The main campus and eight remote campuses across Western Australia and Southeast Asia are host to 40,000 students and 3,500 academics and staff. Historically supported by IT groups specific to each location, the nine separate campuses are now managed by a single, consolidated IT organization. With centralization came its associated challenges, such as collectively managing the University’s 11,000 laptops and desktops. Given Curtin’s lease ownership preference, and many different lease return dates, the IT organization was fighting on-going issues meeting the lease return commitments.  Curtin University selected the joint Microsoft—Provance solution comprised of Microsoft® System Center, the Provance® IT Asset Management Pack, Provance Data Management Pack and Provance Bar Code to reduce its inflated annual leasing costs.

The High Risk of out-of-warranty costs for lease extensions

Following consolidation of the nine campus IT groups, Curtin’s newly centralized IT organization found  the University’s the lifecycle management all of its hardware assets problematic. At the “Basic” level of IT Asset Management maturity according to the Microsoft Core Infrastructure model, Curtin did not have sufficient processes or supporting tools in place to effectively manage leases. “The lack of process around the life cycle of leased assets really caused a massive problem,” said Jess Wittwer, Project Manager for Curtin. Hardware assets would approach end of lease and IT staff would have difficulty locating them in the faculties they were originally assigned to — resulting in business areas having to buy out or extend the lease on the assets. In all, it resulted in a lot of unnecessary manual labor, additional administration over-head and risk around out-of-warranty computers that have to be returned to the leasing company at the end of lease in good working order, with business areas having to repair broken machines before return.

On the heels of such unnecessary waste and lack of transparency came an executive directive to resolve the University’s challenge. An internal audit conducted by Deloitte Australia identified areas of opportunity, one of which highlighted the importance of implementing a strong IT asset management (ITAM) function. Deloitte recommended two phases of implementation. The first phase was an internal assessment to determine the current state of the University’s ITAM program and procurement processes. The second phase consisted of four pillars: improving process, reducing duplication, developing a “one touch-point” policy where possible, and better use of technology.

Improving process was seen as the most critical task of the four pillars, since IT asset management is a process based discipline.

A Business Perspective on IT Asset Management

A key IT objective for First Wind is to provide both business support and improved IT operations. First Wind uses the Provance IT Asset Management Pack for visibility into spending and to foster greater fiscal accountability. Hardware and software are assigned to individual users, and asset costs are allocated to internal cost centers, departments and projects. Reporting and notification allows First Wind to more effectively manage contracts, and the company is able to optimize its use of warranties and insurance coverage.

Operationally, the integration between IT Service Management and IT Asset Management on a single, common platform provides information supporting more efficient and cost effective incident resolution and change management. Front line IT staff can now take better operational decisions with access to details like past issues, who made requests to purchase new computers, ties back to policy, and forecast replacement costs. Similarly, operational detail allows better tracking of cost center budgets, more accurate annual spending forecasts, and better cost management of support renewals.

“Now we’re much more responsive,” said Tewksbury. “For something like a last minute request for a new hire coming in a week, we used to have to go through a time consuming purchasing procurement process, buy a new laptop, image it, and so forth. Now, for something that’s urgent, we can see what we already have in house and temporarily borrow inventory from another cost center without any delay or messing up allocations.”

A Huge Pay Off from Hardware Refresh Planning

In the first year of implementation, First Wind carefully inventoried and recorded all hardware assets valued at $500 or more within the Provance IT Asset Management solution: A total of 3,800 hardware assets comprised of 500 desktops and laptops, 400 physical and virtual servers, and 3,100 physical assets, including SANs, routers, and security devices. It didn’t take long for the effort to yield a significant pay off.

“This year we used Provance to manage our refresh cycles,” said Tewksbury. “We were able to accurately report on hardware reliability based on incidents, and identified 100 computers whose life could be extended another year by renewing support contracts at a cost of $150 each. Compared to a replacement cost of $1,800 that alone gave us $165,000 in savings.” 

Recovering Value from Surplus Software Licenses

In addition to the substantial savings realized through hardware refresh planning, First Wind has also benefited from the adoption of software asset management, or SAM. First Wind uses the Provance IT Asset Management Pack to proactively manage software to optimize their license agreements. By combining details about exactly what software is in use from Microsoft System Center 2012 – Configuration Manager, with license and contract detail maintained in the Provance IT Asset Management Pack, First Wind is able to identify under use of licenses and support, and potential compliance risks from software that is under licensed.

“SAM was quite helpful in our recent license true up with Microsoft,” said Tewksbury. “For example, we were able to identify a 7 to 8 percent surplus of Project and Visio licenses. At $400 per license, that gets us more value from our Microsoft agreement by letting us invest in other software that will actually be used.” 

A Commitment to Continuous Improvement

Building on the strengths of their early successes with the Provance IT Asset Management Pack, First Wind is continuing to evolve and mature their IT Service Management and IT Asset Management solution.

“Like most companies, we were initially at a Basic level of maturity based on the Microsoft Core Infrastructure Optimization model,” said Tewksbury. “Now, we’re at the Rationalized level, able to make much more strategic decisions and take quick responsive action based on real time checks between the Provance life cycle and contract information with Configuration Manager data.”

To evolve further towards highly automated, Dynamic IT, First Wind has recently implemented the Provance Data Management Pack, and has plans to adopt the Microsoft System Center 2012 – Service Manager self service portal.

“Data upload with XML coding using the Service Manager CSV connector can be quite labor intensive,” says Tewksbury. “DMP [the Data Management Pack] will let us automate better and perform bulk updates instead of doing imports one by one using the GUI.”

“Overall, Provance and System Center have made life much easier for us. The flexibility provided by the combined solutions will let us continue to transform into a more and more proactive IT organization rather than a reactive one,” said Tewksbury.

Overview

  • Country or Region: United States

  • Industry: Energy

Customer Profile

First Wind is an independent renewable energy company headquartered in Boston, MA. Their focus is on the development, financing, construction, ownership and operation of utility-scale power projects in 25 locations across the Northeastern and Western regions of the United States and Hawaii.

Business Situation

With a basic spreadsheet-based ITAM program and SharePoint-based ticketing system in place, First Wind lacked the tools, technology and processes required to support existing and future power projects.

Solution

First Wind selected and implemented new IT infrastructure from Microsoft® and Provance® for IT Service Management and IT Asset Management.

Benefits

  • Integrated IT Asset Management and IT Service Management

  • $165,000 in savings from hardware refresh planning

  • Software Asset Management capabilities to optimize license agreements

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