Brazilian conglomerate Schahin Group sought a licensing solution that would accommodate fluctuating staff levels and make new technologies—including Microsoft cloud services— more affordable. The firm chose a Microsoft Enterprise Subscription Agreement, financed through a Microsoft payment solution. Thus, Schahin was able to afford the software it needed and pay for it monthly, preserving cash flow to be used for other business opportunities.

Business Needs

Schahin Group is a Brazilian conglomerate active in the country’s main development sectors: oil and gas, engineering, real estate development, telecommunications, and energy. To support its growth, the firm relies on Microsoft software and HP hardware.  

The nature of its business requires Schahin to open temporary operations at major construction sites for a year or two. This means employee counts may fluctuate significantly during the year. As a result, the firm finds it difficult to accurately predict its software licensing needs.  

“Sometimes we need a lot of licenses and sometimes we don’t need as many,” says
Katia R. Ceará Sanfins, Chief Information Officer, Schahin Group. 

Due to the variable number of employees, the firm had been acquiring its Microsoft software for several years through OEM licenses or distributors. Using this acquisition model meant that Schahin paid premium prices and did not have a direct relationship with Microsoft. By 2010, Sanfins began to look for a more cost- efficient way to acquire Microsoft licenses.  

“I was looking for a licensing solution that I could pay for monthly and only pay for the licenses we needed, rather than pay for a lot of licenses that we might not need,” says Sanfins. She also wanted an easy way to move to Microsoft cloud services.

Solution

In August 2010, Sanfins met with a local Microsoft account manager to discuss the best Microsoft software licensing strategy and to determine the firm’s overall IT goals—including the deployment of Microsoft cloud services.  

To address the firm’s fluctuating employee counts, the Microsoft account manager recommended that Schahin enroll in a Microsoft Enterprise Subscription Agreement. This agreement would decrease the firm’s initial cost by 25 to 30 percent and allow increasing or decreasing subscription counts each year. It would also enable Schahin to license both on-premises and online software through the same agreement.  
However, even with the savings, the total licensing costs for all the selected technologies exceeded the firm’s software budget by about one-third. To finance the difference Sanfins explored options from several vendors before choosing a Microsoft payment solution.  

"In selecting suppliers, we analyze both the product itself, and other relevant issues, like the vendor’s financing solutions,” says Sanfins. “The Microsoft payment solution process was fast, simple, and offered competitive rates.” 

The Microsoft payment solution proposal covered 100 percent of the software fees, in addition to Microsoft Services Premier Support to assist the firm’s deployment of Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2 and its anticipated deployment of Microsoft cloud services. The annual cost was distributed over 36 monthly payments, which aligned better with the firm’s cash flow.

The Microsoft Enterprise Subscription Agreement covers the Microsoft Professional Desktop Platform, the Enrollment for Application Platform, and Windows Azure—the Microsoft cloud service development, hosting, and management environment. Schahin also takes advantage of the Software Assurance benefits included in the agreement. It is using training vouchers to help its engineers get certified on Microsoft technologies and using the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack to streamline its upgrade to Windows 7 Enterprise and Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010.  

Beyond its desktop upgrade, Schahin started testing Windows Azure on-demand storage in late 2011, to centralize storage of all the data distributed throughout its remote construction sites. “Now, we have a more efficient data management system,” says Sanfins. “With the Windows Azure infrastructure, we will get dynamic storage that can expand or shrink as needed, as well as backup, management, and monitoring services.” The firm is also evaluating Microsoft Exchange Online.   Benefits By licensing Microsoft software through a Microsoft Enterprise Subscription Agreement that is financed through a Microsoft payment solution, Schahin quickly and cost effectively obtained the technology it needed.  

Gained Flexible, Affordable,  Predictable Costs 

Through the Enterprise Subscription Agreement and the right payment solution, Schahin got the technology it needed on terms that fit its budget. “With the Enterprise Subscription Agreement, we saved approximately 40 percent per desktop on licenses and we know what our cost will be for three years. We can also easily add or remove licenses as our staffing fluctuates,” says Sanfins.  

Preserved Cash Flow  By financing the gap between its budget and its software needs, Schahin is able to afford one-third more software than its budget allowed and divide the entire contract into monthly payments. “With the monthly payment terms, we can use our cash flow for other opportunities that will help expand our business,” says Sanfins. 

Simplified Payments  Microsoft payment solutions covered 100 percent of the software costs without requiring a hardware component. “It was very easy to work with the payment solutions team,” says Sanfins. “They were very fast and they worked with us to meet the conditions that our finance group requested.”  
Accelerated Benefits from Cloud Services With the Microsoft Enterprise Subscription Agreement, Schahin has the flexibility to move to cloud services when it is ready without having to negotiate a new contract. “With licensing for Microsoft cloud services available through our Enterprise Subscription Agreement, we can do more with less cost. We’ll be able to operate more efficiently and reduce management time,” says Sanfins.