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Consultancy service for achieving license compliance

FAST Corporate Services : 16 February, 2009  (New Product)
New range of services and membership options at FAST Ltd designed to assist UK businesses in the complex area of license management
FAST Ltd has defined a range of new services to complement its existing portfolio that will help organisations across all sectors control IT costs, mitigate risk and deploy and maintain best practice IT compliance.

In today's fast-paced and challenging world, most organisations are highly dependent on technology and the smooth running of IT is therefore critically important to ongoing success. In difficult times, what companies need from their IT estate is predictability and reassurance, not unexpected, unbudgeted costs. The current struggling state of the global economy and the continuing quest for business growth means that organisations are turning to their Chief Information Officers and IT departments and asking, 'Okay, what can you do to help us get through this downturn? How can you improve our market competitiveness and operational efficiency?'

FAST Ltd now offers new tools such as FAST Compliance Manager, its unique licence management product and FAST Gap Analysis, a licence entitlement review and IT policy procedure health check methodology, as standard to its Members. It also provides analysis and consulting from highly experienced SAM Professionals who are Microsoft MCP trained. Additionally, FAST provides knowledge transfer, insight and training and a wide range of networking events, up-to-date information on legislation from its team of FAST legal experts and progression towards FAST's Standard for Software Compliance (FSSC-1:2007).

Andy Pearce, newly appointed Managing Director for FAST Ltd, is spearheading these initiatives to ensure that the FAST programme and FAST's wide range of Consultancy services are a much more compelling proposition to its Members and the market. Andy comments: "For the last 24 years we have helped over 8,000 UK companies control their IT costs, mitigate risk and deploy best practice using our knowledge, understanding and expertise. Members have gained by using our tools, methodology, standards and training as well as our impartial and independent advice. This is why our Membership retention is as high as 86 percent and rising in today's volatile economic climate, where software audits by vendors are predicted to increase. Our newly revised Consultancy services and our enhanced tools will reassure companies that they have their compliance and costs under control, and that their IT departments will be operating more effectively, delivering added value to the business."

Good Corporate Governance and compliance is not just nice to have, it's a business imperative. There are 21 pieces of legislation that affect an organisation's IT environment. However, more often than not, most companies are either ignorant or in denial of these legal requirements. But the compliance landscape is set to change. Independent UK research conducted by IDC in October 2008 cited that 52 percent of all companies have been subject to a vendor audit or review in the past 12 months, whilst 23 percent have been subject to three or more audits or review during this timeframe. Interestingly, 30 percent of IT departments do not measure the differences between licence entitlement and deployment and 67 percent of organisations do not use a formal retirement process, potentially meaning unnecessary software consumption.

John Lovelock, Chief Executive of The Federation Against Software Theft Investors in Software (FAST IiS), stated: "FAST Ltd is the only organisation that has an exclusive agreement with the Federation Against Software Theft Ltd to aid and advise UK organisations on the issue of Software Licence Management (SLM) and to promote the legal use of software. FAST Ltd's Membership and Consulting services are designed to deliver the necessary support to end user organisations."

Lovelock continued: "FAST Ltd is an important part of our community, helping to educate end-users about their obligations, and advise on best practice issues around SLM. Together, we work in harmony to ensure that we diminish the fear around compliance (SLM) and SAM that many organisations feel, and help these companies to appreciate the considerable financial and operational benefits associated with good SAM and SLM practices."

FAST Ltd has two broad service components, a Membership service offering software, education, training and networking services, as well as a range of consulting, professional and managed services that are offered to the general market. Organisations don't need to be a Member of the FAST programme to benefit.

FAST Ltd Membership helps organisations:

• Reconcile their IT estate and minimise overspend
• Identify, understand and mitigate the risk of licensing shortfalls
• Implement best practice IT policies and procedures
• Enhance internal knowledge through training programmes
• Gain access to unlimited telephone support around licence compliance, relevant legislation and related issues
• Access the FAST knowledge base on issues, fixes, legislation, best practice and success stories
• Share experiences with other members through regular forums
• Implement FSSC-1:2007, a private standard developed in collaboration with the British Standards Institution (BSI) (Note: the assessment criteria for FSSC-1:2007 meets a significant number of the key requirements of ISO/IEC19770-1).

FAST Ltd Consultancy, Professional and Managed Services include:

• A Licence Review or Health Check to quickly show proof of entitlement, identifying areas of both over and under spend
• A Licence Catalogue to identify and reconcile the software installed in your environment against the software licenses purchased
• On your behalf, FAST will compare your IT Policies and Procedures with industry best practice and identify both shortfall and risk
• FAST can help you choose the right Audit Tool for your environment, ensuring that your requirements are met and that you don't overpay.
• FAST provides a fully managed Hardware and Software Audit Service including compilation of a new asset register or the updating of an out-of-date register
• Its FileCruncher Recognition Services provides a range of data management services to normalise audit tool output into easy to understand reports
• A managed Reconciliation Service providing compliance reports on a monthly basis.
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