Snow License Manager review

A strong SAM offering with a strong channel and market momentum - Snow is the gorilla in the market, in terms of competitiveness, market noise, channel partnerships, customer numbers and overall traction.

Snow License Manager
Vendor Snow Software

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82%
85% Customer feeback
78% Analyst opinion

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Customer service
Value for money
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Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty
85%
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Version reviewed: 5

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Easy self management, easily customisable , easy user interface. Great software recognition, keeps up with market changes , easy application/bundle management for bespoke industry specific apps.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

SNMP scanning functionality.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Ability to customise renewal automation notifications with attachments

Version reviewed: 7

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

SLM has grown in its maturity over the years I have been involved with it. Initially its strengths were in the desktop space but from version 7 onwards its usefulness in the datacentre isn't to be underestimated. It is easy to use as the interface is largely instinctual. When implemented correctly it has the potential to save huge costs on re-harvesting software and audit related work

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Its major weakness is shared with almost every other vendor. This needs to be properly implemented to get the most value, which means license information needs to be added as discovery alone isn't sufficient. This takes a lot of time and effort to both complete and maintain.
SLM can only take one feed in from discovery tools per device Its own agent or SCCM or ANO. If SLM had the ability to take multiple feeds and normalise the data this would produce a much better picture of your estate. Right now comparison of multiple feeds to look for gaps would be done via a more manual process.
My own personal issue was the constant renewal of SLM agent versions, if you are in a managed, varied, estate the work to update the agent can be onerous. However the fact that SLM is growing in its maturity and usefulness is the reason behind these numerous agent changes, which makes it probably a necessary evil at this time, hopefully over the coming years the amount of change will slow down.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Any best in breed discovery tool in this space should have an inbuilt ability to search for missing devices using an agentless functionality. This is the missing piece in the SNOW toolset.
There has been massive changes in the latest versions but it would still improve the product if you could allocate licenses from a central pot to cover virtualisation options such as standard and datacentre licenses rather than having to create different license types to achieve this.

Version reviewed: v8.0

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What are the strengths of this product?

Easy to use and implement, wide list of predefined reports.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Integrations with other tools.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Version reviewed: 7

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Believe it would be a good tool when implemented in the Whole infrastructure.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

It has not been working as good as hoped With Oracle and virtuale parts of the organisation.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Version reviewed: v7

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

User friendly system
Custom Fields - good being able to add extra wording to assist when devising reports

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Applications Per User/Applications Per Computer - reports for software installed - would be good to also have 1 report that incorporates both of these.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Version reviewed: 7.0

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Snow does an outstanding job of bringing the important data to the front. Scrubbing out the 'white noise' and supporting a view of data in a clean easy to understand and accurate format

What are the weaknesses of this product?

The Computer Data and Application Data are run in two separate lines of reporting. Would like to see a merger of these data streams

What features would you add if you had the choice?

An easier interface for the entering and recording of meta data that in turn feeds into better reports for vendor reveiws

Version reviewed: 7

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

The comprehensive software catalogue and the fact that most bundles and license relationships are calculated accurately.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Difficulty adding concurrent user or unassigned named user licenses.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Ability to detect a wider range of hardware.

Version reviewed: v7

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

We are still implementing Snow across our global estate. However from our experience so far, and following a 12 month review of ITAM tools available on the market, Snow stands out as a very mature product. It's presented very professionally with a slick interface. This gives us confidence that even in offices where we cannot have a dedicated full-time SAM manager, a person with limited licensing knowledge will be able to manage their estate with ease.

The training courses provided at Snow's office were exceptional. I feel the investment they've made in their training program is key to ensuring a successful implementation.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Early days for us, but so far, I cannot identify any.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

A graphical view of our estate, particularly datacentres would be very nice to have.

I would also like to see more widgets available on the Snowboard. The ability to create our own widgets would be incredible. Apart from the Alerts widget, you cannot drill down to see the data behind a widget. However from what I understand, version 8 provides significant upgrades to the Snowboard, so I am keen to see this.

Version reviewed: SLM7

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Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Snow is an easy to work with solution that offers good easy to use reporting capabilities. The software recognition service is very comprehensive and maintained in a timely manner. Snow have also made significant improvements in their levels of staffing and the calibre of staff they have employed. This not only helps the development of the product but also the customer interface/support provided by the company.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Introduction of agentless capabilities to avoid the continual need to deploy agents to a large estate. Online documentation and ease in finding out information without contacting Snow directly, as well as a more proactive push communication approach would be welcomed.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Ability for customers to apply upgrades without the apparent necessity to engage Snow consultancy support.

Version reviewed: 7

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

As we have now been using the software for quite some time I can only conclude that the product provides us with valuable information regarding our license usage. This helps us to better align our license procurement

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Not so many product updates/new features

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Version reviewed: 7

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Easy to work with. A good quality of all overviews.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Version reviewed: 8

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Inventory management and discovery - general software compliance

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Lack of frequent updates

What features would you add if you had the choice?

More detailed feature for agreement types and contracts

Version reviewed: 7

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Intuitive design, provides lots of information.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Currently no automatic warranty lookup

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Automatic warranty lookup.

Version reviewed: 8

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Calculating license rules

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Was the updates, create clients
Connectors have flaws but also the raw data from the tools can cause problems

What features would you add if you had the choice?

All features requested recently seem to be in lm8 so happy with this

Version reviewed: 7.0

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Ease of use

What are the weaknesses of this product?

What features would you add if you had the choice?

More fields available for customised reporting. Eg MAC field in computer list.

Version reviewed: 7

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Reporting ability, varied connectors to multiple platforms

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Unable to deploy the client through the tool, unable to broadcast for new devices in the network, limitations when doing large searches - DB backend unable to cope. Ease of creating reports

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Deployment through the tool through a broadcast, easier reporting and creation of custom reports

Version reviewed: v7

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Quick and reasonably easy to deploy and see a return on investment. Very user friendly interface. Regular enhancements, updates and aggressive development schedule. Listens to customers feedback.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Support was always an issue in the early days in the UK however Snow have made significant investments into improving the support experience which is now visible to customers. Keeping existing customers updated on enhancements is sometimes criticised however there are on-line Snow forums and annual user groups which are worth attending.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Increased discovery and reporting on enterprise applications in large corporate datacentres.
More flexibility and better listing / reporting on Snow Objects.

Version reviewed: 7

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Quick and clear setup and implementation. Very simplistic GUI. Metering of data is beneficial. Data Center environment for complex licenses like IBM, Oracle , MS servers and databases excels.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Some of the basic out of the box reports don't give the relevant fields/attributes needed.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Would like to add a self service portal which will enable internally users to request for licenses and will also allow the IT department to bill for licenses consumed internally. would like to add a module where an ROI for a IT Software asset can be calculated. Would like to add a module using which a what if analysis can be made.

Version reviewed: 7

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Software Repository, Discovery, Integration with other tools (e.g. AD, VMWare, SCCM), traditional reporting, License Agreement management

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Not easy to prepare license positions by Application Family (e.g. all versions of a particular product). These are useful in using shelfware to reduce compliance shortfalls for example. Also I would like to have better analysis options for SQL Server.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Drill-down interactive dashboards - currently the dashboards are static. For the hosted version, direct access to API & data for custom reporting. Improvement in management of subscription-based software, cloud services, and SQL Server

Version reviewed: V7

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Snow has a great software recognition library, this allows accurate reporting. ease of use and good report tools make ELP's very easy to produce

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Agent needs to be deployed, a discovery tool would make Snow the perfect solutiobn

What features would you add if you had the choice?

A Discovery tool

Version reviewed: v7

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Quick and clear setup and implementation, accurate reconcilitations, and ease in empowering non-ITAM managers with imformation.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

The non-client fed modules are clunky, and maually driven.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Increased view and security roles, better update automation to non-client driven records

Version reviewed: 7.0

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Client based collection with good repository acknowledgement of various applications

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Very poor support. Email only support and very slow response time.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Better reporting capabilities in the Snow License Manager. There are a number of "canned" reports which can be customized, but they lack the detail information needed for numerous reports. You can extract data off the back end Inventory db manually, but these reports should be done via the Snow License Manager.

Vendor response

We are pleased to confirm that not only can support teams be contacted directly by phone (see contact numbers under the support section on our website) but we have also recently launched an online support portal for all Snow customers.

Version reviewed: 7

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Managing software licenses effectively and showing compliance
Regular software catalogue updates
Reporting on software usage

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Doesn't manage MSDN licenses without manual intervention.
Agent based
Installation monitoring alerts

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Better reporting functionality and ability to manage hardware as a fully asset management tool. Also to add an average industry cost on applications where this isn't captured by the user(s).

Version reviewed: 7.0.18

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Easy to install and to use. Performs well in a Datacenter (Citrix) environment.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Software Recognition Service still misses out on many applications even from bigger vendors like IBM, Microsoft and Oracle. And to get them added to SRS you need to provide lots of information yourself.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Add out-of-support dates to products recognized. That way SLM becomes even more useful for Life Cycle Management.

Version reviewed: 7

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Simple to deploy, great reporting, logical layout and easy to demonstrate. Having used some 7 other products over the years, this is by far the best and continues to evolve.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

It would be great if the drill down would include the path to the application, i.e. where it is installed or where the package is located. This would help with automated removal and simplify the task for local support to locate things. A simple user guide for beginners would be good and have a glossary of what certain things mean such as, B for Bundle, S for Site license etc.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

It would be great to be able to report license operating costs including original cost of license, maintenance costs, renewal costs etc. This will build a picture of the total cost of ownership and show costs in Capital, Operational and Expenses. This will aid with forecasting and identifying areas for possible extra negotiation.

Version reviewed: 7

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Easy to deploy, good reporting and flexibility

What are the weaknesses of this product?

A little broader selection of canned reports

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Online license ordering would be useful

Version reviewed: 7

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

The metering data is accurate and very useful. Most new software releases are recognized in Snow within days of release.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Snow recognizes some bundled software as separate applications. The ability to customize this would be helpful.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

- The ability to enter maintenance renewal costs independent of license purchase costs.
- A visual based representation of agreement expiration would help manage the renewal process.
- A Hardware Asset Management function. It would be very nice to have 1 tool to manage both hardware and software information.

Version reviewed: 7

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

The license reconciliation and optimization part is the biggest strength of the solution, especially the way it works in a data center environment for complex licenses like IBM, Oracle , MS servers and databases etc.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Documentation has got scope for improvement.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Would like to add a self service portal which will enable internally users to request for licenses and will also allow the IT department to bill for licenses consumed internally. would like to add a module where an ROI for a IT Software asset can be calculated. Would like to add a module using which a what if analysis can be made.

Version reviewed: 3.7

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Simplicity. Metering/usage capability. Quickness in use

What are the weaknesses of this product?

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Version reviewed: 7

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

The strength lay in its ability to successfully meter software usage for us in a heavily virtualised Citrix environment. I can obtain exact usage over a 90 day period and beyond which helps us significantly in maintaining compliance.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

I do find it difficult to monitor SQL entitlement, as we have many instances, be it in physical and virtualised environments, plus SQL instances in DR and Development / Test, and it requires a lot of input to actually get a compliance position. This may also be down to the complexities of Microsoft SQL licensing and how licensing rules have changed a number of times over the years from each change in version and edition.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Additional links to 3rd party ITSM applications would be great.

Version reviewed: 7.1

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Ease of use. Customisable dashboards. Blacklist / Whitelist applications.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Expensive for maintenance.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Version reviewed: 7

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Best in the market for complete Software Inventory on both desktops and servers; is easy to use and build custom reports. SLM's Inactive and Quarantined status for machines drives hardware decommissions.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

The customer support service is very poor since the UK team support team is severely under-staffed. Web Application Metering: this is one of the main components of SLM 7 that was highly publicised by SNOW's marketing team, however it only works for internally hosted applications so the majority of SaaS-style software cannot be monitored by SLM.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Version reviewed: 7

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

We use this platform as a hosted solution with our software provider, Civica, as we purchase the majority of our software through this vendor, the security of knowing that the information is valid and accurate is reassuring. We also find the tool extremely easy to navigate with a user friendly interface, and a great look and feel. Information is at out fingertips making dealing with software requests easier.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

More customisable dashboard and reporting features would be of benefit, this however maybe a lack of understanding on our part as we are still exploring the full functionality of the system.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

I would make the reporting in the platform a little easier to use, it is quite simple at the moment, but the ability to extract all of the data would make the platform even more powerful.

Version reviewed: 7

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Reporting, Overall ease of use.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Some times too much information is displayed.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

None.

Version reviewed: 7

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Multi platform support, ease of reporting, ease of implementation, user friendly.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

SNOW is currently present in the US, the Europe. SNOW should have local presence in Asia too.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Version reviewed: 7

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

The Reporting element to SNOW is fantastic, way better than other tools used in the past.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Elevator pitch

What is striking about Snow License Manager 8 is elegance of execution. It is very well thought out, taking a complex topic and presenting results in an easy to understand format. The team has managed to innovate and keep pace with fast moving technological change without diluting the key focus of ease of use and quick time to value.

Strengths

  • Strong all round SAM solution
  • Global partner and resource network
  • Impressive customer list and references
  • Exhaustive technical capabilities
  • Continues to innovate to address modern technology cost and compliance challenges

Weaknesses

  • Scenario modeling / what-if analysis could be stronger

Our last deep dive on Snow License Manager was back in Winter 2013, when we noted that, from a dominant position in the desktop SAM market, Snow was making serious inroads into Datacenter SAM. It is clear that Snow has consolidated on that position, now offering a competitive solution from mobile, desktop, tablet, virtual machine, through hypervisor, cluster to the whole data centre. The development team has managed to innovate and keep pace with fast moving technological change without diluting the key focus of ease of use and quick time to value.

From a competitor’s point of view, Snow is the gorilla in the market, in terms of competitiveness, market noise, channel partnerships, customer numbers and overall traction.  A strong SAM offering with a strong channel and market momentum.

Snow’s goal is to help their clients measure consumption of software, wherever that might be in the enterprise. Half of Snow’s customers take the Snow inventory client, and will supplement inventory sources with the data necessary to measure consumption.  Snow License Manager has 18 out-of-the-box connectors to 3rd party inventory sources or an XML based connector to connect to anything else. Snow is equally flexible in handling business data such as procurement records, which can be automated in the same fashion as the input of technical configuration data.

What is striking about Snow License Manager 8 is elegance of execution. It is very well thought out, taking a complex topic and presenting results in an easy to understand format. For example the datacenter view of clusters and cores is deceptively simple and very well presented.

Snow’s competitors might have more options for customization and tailoring of their SAM solution, Snow License Manager’s primary aim is ease of use and simplicity. That is not to say that it is not flexible, but ease of use is put head and shoulders as priority above all else. So this is horses for courses dependent on the customer - Large enterprise customers deliberating on SAM tool selection will need to decide on the highly customizable route of traditional enterprise software tools (with the accompanying consulting bill) or a slightly more rigid route with the ability to get the job done faster. In a world of fast demands, agile deployment and quick ROI, Snow is well positioned to take advantage of the latter option.

The largest gap filled in the Snow portfolio since our last review is their solution for managing SAP software cost. Snow Optimizer for SAP Software is an agentless independent add-on that can be used with or without Snow License Manager for optimizing user profiles within SAP. SAP is the low hanging fruit of datacenter savings, whereby optimizations can be identified and executed very quickly within SAP (as opposed to optimization that might need re-installation and change control and other political hurdles to overcome in the datacenter). Snow customers can quickly identify duplicate or inappropriate license types by harnessing the data already residing within the SAP environment and execute changes within SAP and demonstrate immediate savings.

Snow has been a SAM market pioneer with its Software Recognition Service which typically recognizes commercial software within a matter of days. Snow has begun to enrich this process via direct relationships with software publishers. In an ideal world this wouldn’t be necessary, as software publishers would tag, bundle and name their titles appropriately and provide a public record of license metrics and techniques – but reality says otherwise.

Snow should be congratulated for taking the initiative and building relationships with software publishers directly such as Autodesk and Red Hat to identify proprietary data required for measuring consumption. This ensures more accurate and relevant recognition and ensures the expectations of Snow License Manager meet those of the publisher. It would be great to see more of this in the SAM industry, the industry norm is to hand out clumsy tools and scripts to scrape data from client environments which tends to be inaccurate and labour intensive.

Snow License Manager 8 provides new views into asset consumption and driving down costs. I particularly like the new product family page, installation history and compliance trending, useful for preparation and negotiation of enterprise agreements. These developments match the overall trend for SAM to move from an administrative function to strategic, although Snow’s competitors have stronger offerings for what-if analysis, scenario modeling and strategic planning; it would be good to see Snow develop further in this area.

Another recent addition since our last review was the addition of a process engine (Snow Automation Platform). This provides the ability for Snow customers to provide an app store experience for asset request. Snow was able to demonstrate the ability to browse, shop, approve and deploy an Azure instance in a run book automated fashion. In depth management of Azure and AWS is in the Snow roadmap.

Historically Snow License Manager might have been judged to be a bit of a black box SAM solution, in that it delivered results but customers weren’t always sure how it got there. Snow License Manager 8 provides new levels of transparency and providence to show the workings behind results. This is invaluable in providing information credible for audit defence and strong negotiations – it answers the question “How did you get to this result?” This transparency is also useful for partners and consultants working with Snow data to lend more credibility for their results to customers.

I admit to being initially skeptical of Snow’s acquisition of an MDM vendor, but Snow Device Manager, combined with the ability to work with any other MDM solution such as AirWatch or Mobile Iron, is a good strategic fit for long term SAM. In particular the ability to re-harvest applications and SIM data contracts on mobile devices. Mobile is a dominant force and Snow’s coverage in this area is useful for management of campus-led or end user computing focused agreements such as Microsoft.