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News

Software compliance for the finance industry

FAST Corporate Services : 14 August, 2009  (New Product)
Commercial arm of the Federation Against Software Theft is providing compliance services to the financial services sector
FAST Ltd, a UK authority on Software Asset Management and IT Compliance, providing software, education, consulting and managed services is demonstrating how it can help companies in the finance and banking market - that are subject to stringent regulation and legislation - optimise their investment in software licences..

According to recent research undertaken by FAST Ltd, whilst 60 percent of companies become under-licensed, 40 percent of companies become over-licensed with their software. Therefore, with software accounting for approximately 30 percent of a typical IT budget, it's imperative in today's climate for companies to understand their software licences and recognise that implementing effective and regulatory compliant Software Asset Management (SAM) policies will minimise cost and maximise efficiency.

Newcastle Building Society, the largest building society based in the North-East which provides a range of financial services from mortgages and insurance to investments and funds, is one company in the finance sector which has benefited from implementing a Software Asset Management (SAM) programme, and is one of only six financial services firms to achieve the Platinum Award of the FAST Standard for Software Compliance (FSSC-1:2007).

Pat Watson, Information Security Manager at Newcastle Building Society said that due to its role in the financial services industry, Newcastle Building Society is subject to strict regulations, and therefore turned to FAST Ltd to help manage its IT assets and legal obligations.

"One of the fastest areas of growth in our business is the provision of services, such as the development and management of Internet accounts, for other financial service providers. As such, it is important for us to be able to demonstrate the highest standards of IT compliance and efficiency to third-party companies looking to establish partnerships with Newcastle Building Society.

Members of the team at Newcastle Building Society attended FAST's Software Management Training Day and also undertook FAST's Software Management and Software Auditing Courses prior to reviewing and updating the company's IT policies and procedures.

Pat added that the Newcastle Building Society has gained much greater control over its IT and software systems: "Becoming software-compliant has been one of the most demanding projects I have been involved with and required a lot of hard work and dedication from myself and the other members of staff. However, with FAST's support the process was made as easy as possible and we are now reaping the benefits.

"Before purchasing new software, we are now able to refer to the new system and check whether spare licences are already available. As a business we rely heavily on technology, so this has also helped us become far more efficient and make savings on our IT costs."

The Student Loans Company (SLC), which provides financial services via loans and grants to one million UK and EU students who undertake higher education in UK colleges and universities, has also benefited from implementing the FAST Software Compliance programme.

Theresa Kilpatrick, SLC's Software Licensing Coordinator said that the IT team realised it needed external advice to select the best tools for conducting a full software audit and licence reconciliation exercise.

"We wanted to make a strategic technology investment that would support our goal of becoming software compliant and enable our small team to maintain this position easily, but with so many tools available in the market we were not sure where to start looking. We also wanted to launch our policies and procedures in the most effective way possible to ensure that we got full buy-in from all our staff. It made perfect sense to bring in FAST to give us some best practice advice and hands-on help to meet both these objectives.

"When we started out on our software compliance journey, we knew that the learning curve would be pretty steep. FAST Ltd provided a very useful sounding board and was able to give us impartial advice on a number of the tools that we were considering."

SLC has since been awarded the FAST Standard for Software Compliance (FSSC-1:2007) Gold Award and is working towards achieving the Platinum Award in 2010.

FAST Ltd managing director Andy Pearce said that Software Asset Management (SAM) is an important component in ensuring good IT governance and the benefits of efficient management of software assets are not widely enough acknowledged.

"Despite the current economic climate, companies are still struggling to get buy-in from their Board on implementing effective Software Asset Management. Many executives still do not appreciate the risk to organisations' finances and reputation from failing to take action to achieve software compliance, preferring to 'leave it to IT' to sort out."

"Not only does a Software Asset Management programme mitigate legal risk and deliver piece of mind for companies, it also delivers significant cost savings, by maximising the investment companies have already made and to save money in the future on licensing contracts with all vendors."

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