HOK tends to tackle challenging projects. “We cover almost every market and every building type around the world,” says Ken Young, HOK’s CIO. “We’re no strangers to impossible schedules, complex sites, and globally dispersed stakeholders.”
With complicated projects, effective collaboration is key. Not only is the firm’s expertise spread throughout the world, it has adopted an integrated project delivery (IPD) and building information modeling (BIM) approach to projects. This approach requires a high degree of communication and coordination between team members—and calls for all teams on a project to work on a single building model. To keep BIM data coordinated, up to date, and accessible, HOK relies on its software assets.
“Our design teams must be able to access the latest and greatest software when and where they need it,” says Young. “And as the CIO, I need to know that we have enough copies to support their work and stay in compliance with licensing rules.”
When HOK began to solidify its position as a global firm a decade ago, Young seized the opportunity to refine its SAM practices. “Central to my approach was standardizing on a toolset—and basing our libraries and training on that toolset,” Young explains. Currently, HOK has AutoCAD Revit Architecture Suite—which includes AutoCAD software—and AutoCAD Revit MEP Suite installed companywide. HOK also uses Autodesk 3ds Max Design software for design visualization and Autodesk Alias Design software to create uniquely shaped architectural forms.
GNUL Cornerstone of HOK SAM Program
Young wanted to make sure that a complete set of software was put on every computer the company owned—at every single location around the world. To simplify management of these software assets, he purchased enterprise licenses for the company’s standardized software, including the Global Network Usage License (GNUL) for Autodesk titles. “We have a pool of licenses that people can check out anywhere in the world,” Young says. “We don’t have to worry about being under-licensed or using software in the wrong country—our GNUL gives us the flexibility we need.”
In addition to purchasing enterprise-level licenses such as the GNUL, HOK uses a third-party software management tool to track installations and usage for titles it hasn’t installed companywide. “Knowing which software is installed but not being used is very helpful,” says Dermot Delaney, IT operations manager at HOK. “I can reassign underutilized software without buying a new license.”
SAM Best Practices
When asked about software asset management best practices, Delaney doesn’t hesitate. “Centralize purchasing,” he says. “One person should manage the software and do all software purchasing for the company.”
Other best practices Delaney uses include conducting regular audits and preventing users from being administrators on their machines. “If you started at HOK tomorrow, you’d have a machine that’s completely imaged,” says Delaney. “It has the exact same software as the person sitting next to you. The goal is to keep the computer that way over its lifespan.”
HOK also stores all software licensing agreements in a central repository, so Delaney can keep track and access them when needed.