With stores around the world, a rapidly-growing online business, as well logistics hubs and manufacturing operations, the company has understandably complex IT operations. Oracle’s database and middleware solutions play a central role in these operations. In all, it uses around 30 different Oracle products, including Oracle Retail, which underpins the fulfilment of thousands of online orders each week.
Over recent years, the retail group has been undertaking a comprehensive digital transformation program to merge the IT operations of three previously siloed business divisions. Not only has this consolidation already delivered efficiency gains, it provides the retailer with a platform to enhance its future instore, head-office and back-office operations, as well as its online-only businesses.
As part of this ongoing program, the client is continuously assessing its software and services portfolio to ensure it is delivering maximum value to its overall business operations and this is where Livingstone Group plays a strategic role. In particular, Livingstone Group has benchmarked the retailer’s Oracle deployments, usage levels and licensing entitlement, a baselining process that has provided the retailer with unparalleled visibility into its Oracle estate, including areas of underutilization, overspend and further potential consolidation.
Livingstone has also helped validate that the client is compliant with Oracle’s complex and sometimes hard-to-interpret licensing requirements, ensuring that it was always in a state of ‘audit-readiness.’ This also provides the retailer with peace of mind that it is treating this key supplier fairly.
Another key component of the retailer’s strategy was the implementation of an IT asset management (ITAM) platform from Flexera. Unlike reporting tools based on one-off scripts, Flexera’s solution tracks software usage in real-time, boosting efficiency and proactively identifying utilisation trends. This granular level of reporting is also powerful during audits and contract negotiations. For Oracle in particular, it is an approved reporting tool for the publisher’s range of database solutions, which are widely deployed across the client’s operations.
Working closely with the client the Livingstone team has played a key role with the configuration and integration of the Flexera platform. While tracking software usage is a standard, out-of-the-box feature, the retailer recognized it could leverage the solution to gather far deeper insights, thereby maximizing its investment in the tool. The Livingstone Group team configured the solution to track metrics around Oracle database licenses and, more particularly, licensing spend, providing the retailer with a far clearer idea of the cost effectiveness of its Oracle estate. Today, as part of its managed service contract with the client, Livingstone Group manages and interrogates the information gathered by the Flexera tool to help ensure that usage always matches entitlement, and that licensing spend is fully optimised.
This major retail client made the decision to exit its Oracle universal licensing agreement (ULA). While convenient, it recognized that the terms of the ULA meant it was paying more than was necessary. With more accurate information at its fingertips, it was confident it could get better value for money by negotiating new terms, achieving costs savings through more effective optimisation and mitigation procedures. Furthermore, ULAs can be difficult to manage. The organisation wanted to seize control of its estate and spend, bringing everything back in-house, and under the management of its own team.
As is often the case, the client’s decision to quit its ULA triggered an audit request covering all aspects of its Oracle estate. Armed with an up-to-the-minute data on usage, an accurate overview of its entitlement, plus a clear strategy about its future Oracle requirements – the retailer was in a strong position to both defend this audit and negotiate favourable commercial terms for future licenses.
Chief Revenue Officer, Livingstone Group
Chief Revenue Officer, Livingstone Group