Osbit makes significant cost saving on software licences; enhancing understanding of who’s using what, when, and why – with CQFlexMon


Meet Osbit

Headquartered in Northumberland, Osbit designs and builds systems for the offshore renewable energy sector. Its technology focus and expertise range across subsea burial equipment, testing rigs, foundation and cable installation, lifting and handling, and offshore access systems.

In addition to its Head Office and Assembly Facility in North East England, Osbit has offices in Lowestoft, Edinburgh, and Rotterdam.

Virtually every project the company undertakes is tailored to the specific operations and locations of its customers. Since each project in the offshore world brings fresh challenges, continuous innovation pervades the engineering and design departments, meaning that they are regularly evaluating new and relatively untested technology.

The wide variation in project requirements comes along with a degree of risk, which the teams deal with through a modular approach to how they design their systems; combining new and creative concepts with already proven, field-tested aspects from Osbit’s established technology portfolio -- incorporating the best of innovation within a strong and reliable framework. Consequently, Osbit has a robust track record in the development and deployment of first-time-right solutions.

In 2022, Osbit received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category, in recognition of its capability in engineering game-changing solutions to improve offshore safety and efficiency.


Challenge: Rapid growth in user base dictated a constant increase in software licences; a complex management task

The clock is ticking even when software lies idle

Over the last three years, Osbit has experienced an extremely rapid growth in staff, of around 50 per cent. The workforce now stands at 150, and the company has every expectation that this expansion will continue.

The associated impact of such growth, from a software usage perspective, is an increasing requirement to ensure up-to-date licensing arrangements and to manage the licences accurately; too few could mean an infringement on software vendor terms, whilst too many is simply wasted expenditure.

Yet the practice of acquiring a new licence when a new engineer, designer, or draughtsperson comes on board is not uncommon. Whilst it may appear to be the most reliable way of avoiding unwanted complications – every team member must be equipped with the tools essential to his or her role – ‘erring on the side of caution’ can result in little else than overspending.

“We used to have far fewer licences than users when you were able to depend on multi-user licences but the Autodesk transition to named user licences finally took full effect in August 2022, at the height of our current team growth acceleration,” says Darren Stewart, Senior Draughtsperson at Osbit. “Each new person was allocated a new licence. It seems logical, but when you think that some users only make light use of the software, for reviewing or making minor changes, there was no logic at all in them having a full-on licence. Directors, for example, just use it for reviewing, electrical engineers for addressing a small part of the overall project, and sales and support staff for equally non-time-consuming checks”.

Darren was pleasantly surprised when the Symetri team outlined the capabilities of CQFlexMon. “Relating licence access directly to software usage and having the tactical agility to meet the needs of both heavy and light users entirely accurately was something we hadn’t thought was even possible, let alone simple”, says Darren.


Solution: More than just control and cost savings, CQFlexMon delivers insight

Pinpoint the need; provide the tool
CQFlexMon is Symetri’s technology that provides control and visibility across all software licences (any executable file) and not just Autodesk. It can be used for any software from any vendor. Osbit’s focus is on Autodesk Inventor; most of its team use it all day long. It can be considered core and central to Osbit’s engineering design workflow, hence a preponderance of licences for the software, growing all the time.

“I had imagined that CQFlexMon was going to be just about managing licences, but it was quickly apparent in the demo that it offered a degree of insight into usage that could optimise the value to be gained from the software. It also enabled us to ensure that sporadic use of Inventor could easily be catered for even though multi-user licences had come to an end”.

Multi-user (or network) licences had enabled companies to share software usage among those lighter users that Darren referred to – directors, sales, support etc.  without having to purchase licences for individuals. This ad hoc requirement is now addressed by  Flex Tokens, of which Darren now holds a reserve of 500 for any non-named user requirements.

CQFlexMon provides complete control over what might otherwise be a complex universe of administrative headaches. By ensuring compliance to licence agreements, it enables Osbit to work confidently in the knowledge that it will never lapse unwittingly out of compliance.

“It’s a real aid to making sure that our teams can turn on their computers and do what they do best – create outstanding offshore engineering solutions for our customers. No user is impacted by this new level of control Symetri introduced. There are no more complications and no more worry; all for a lot less financial outlay”, says Darren.


Outcomes: 12 licenses instantly freed up | Notable cash savings | Access fully aligned to need and function

Visible | Controllable | Logical
“Osbit has been supported by Symetri for more than ten years. They have been trusted advisors in all matters technical. On an ongoing basis we use their training services and regular support but we also have regular review meetings.

The meeting when the licence issue came up was perfect timing because they were ready to bring the matter to our attention just when we were pondering what could possibly be done about it. As soon as we deployed CQFlexMon we were able to free up twelve licences. Then we got into the solution deeper and saw the level of control that was possible”.

Darren now accesses weekly reports on software usage through CQFlexMon, enabling him to see who’s doing what, when and why: “The reports are easy to understand. Colour-coded and graphical, they let me see  at a glance where the issues might be. This means I can allocate full licences exactly to who needs them or use the Flex Token tactical approach as needed for the lighter users. Now the control of our licensing actually is more logical. This saves a significant amount of money in the process”.

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