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Licensing battle strengthened by merger of independent agencies

The Federation Against Software Theft : 02 September, 2008  (Company News)
FAST and IiS join forces to strengthen their presence in combating software licensing fraud
The Federation Against Software Theft (Federation or FAST) and Investors in Software (IiS), two of the most respected, independent names in the UK software industry, have joined forces to strengthen and clarify the advice given to the end user community relating to best practice for Software Asset Management (SAM) and achieving cost efficient licence compliance.

In bringing the two organisations together the market will benefit from a single organisation able to balance the often-polar positions of reducing licensing costs and mitigating compliance risks within the context of Software License Management (SLM).

The entity, under the auspices of the Federation, will keep both the well-known brands of FAST and IiS to respectively focus on their core propositions. The FAST brand will continue to focus on its leading role as a lobbying and software IP protection body, whilst IiS will continue to promote best practice and consistent standards to advance the professionalism in software asset management (SAM).

John Lovelock, Chief Executive of The Federation commented: "This is the culmination of the work we have been doing in recent months to position ourselves not only as a lobbyist and protector of software IP rights, but as an organisation determined to help end users through education and best practice."

Shaun Frohlich, Chairman of IiS added: "This brings together two organisations that will deliver a holistic view of SAM and SLM here in the UK and evangelise consistency internationally. There is no doubt in our minds that this is a natural, next evolutionary step creating an organisation that spans the continuum from SLM to SAM."

"The logic of this operational merger becomes clear when you consider the fact that organisations increasingly have to demonstrate good corporate governance through compliance audits, but equally they wish to reduce software procurement and support costs and ensure that all licenses owned are fit for purpose. Educating legitimate organisational end users from this perspective, whilst ensuring that we continue to protect the IP rights of our members against deliberate acts of piracy is a more appropriate and focused response to the needs we see in the market today," added John Lovelock.

The Federation will continue to strenuously lobby government for a secure, effective and efficient IP regime in the UK and protect the IP rights of its members as appropriate. The recently launched Software Industry Research Board (SIRB), which aims to address and simplify the often diverse and confusing issues in the field of SAM and SLM, will now sit within the broadened remit of the IiS brand.

Frohlich added: "A fundamental premise of the SIRB is to ensure that it has a clear understanding of end user perceptions and concerns around software licensing and to work with the software publishers to both educate and assist in the adoption of best practices in managing these valuable assets."

The SIRB has retained the services of research firm IDC to conduct potentially the largest research project of its kind in the UK. It is targeting both private and public sector organisations to assess their current understanding of licensing practices, their attitudes towards software acquisition, and to understand where they will make changes to benefit from a more cost effective and risk free environment in the future.

"The consolidation of two authoritative bodies in this space is great news for the industry," said Michala Wardell, Head of Anti-Piracy, Microsoft Corporation. "The intrinsic link between software asset management (SAM), software licence management (SLM), compliancy, and the protection of software IP can often be unclear. The coming together of FAST and IiS creates an entity covering all of the above that can offer clear and considered guidance and assistance to the end user in a practical manner."

Martin Callinan, Director Business Development, FrontRange Solutions, said "To date IiS and The Federation have had their independent roles to play within the marketplace. Now there is a great opportunity to translate what the real value of the soft benefits associated with SAM mean to the end user."

'Our experience at Computacenter shows that by combining SAM best practice and effective licence management, end-users do benefit from both cost savings as well as licence compliance. The combined organisation will add a strong voice in the industry to promote greater awareness and understanding amongst end-users of the practical business case for Software Asset Management' said Julia Uttley, Services Director, Computacenter UK.

"Oracle was a member of both previous to the joining of the two organisations. We recognise the synergies and support the extended benefits that the combined organisation brings to the industry," said Petra van Beneden, Director, EMEA LMS, Oracle.
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