21 Mar 2024



Used software

Reduce costs and generate cash flow with used software licences

Weak economic data, falling investment, increasing cost pressure due to unstable supply chains, geopolitical uncertainties and necessary transformation processes - almost every company is struggling with multiple challenges. Initiative and the courage to find creative solutions are more in demand than ever in all areas. This also applies to IT, which can hardly postpone or even shelve necessary investments in times of digital transformation. It is particularly important not to lose touch here. It is therefore all the more surprising that many corporate decision-makers and IT managers have not yet heard of the efficiency potential of the European secondary software market for standard software or that their knowledge of it is too limited to benefit from the financial advantages in the long term.

Gartner, one of the world's largest providers of market research results and analyses in the IT sector, explicitly points out once again in a recommendation study from January 2021* that there is an opportunity to use the secondary software market in the EU legal area - also to strengthen the negotiating position vis-à-vis manufacturers. If all opportunities are utilised consistently, companies can benefit from significant cost improvements and an additional source of cash flow. This applies both to the purchase of used software and to the sale of unused licences.

As one of the pioneers in the European trade in used software, particularly from Microsoft, we focus on active and efficient licence management together with our customers. In this blog post, we use two successful examples from different sectors to show how this can be implemented in practice.

*see Gartner „Cut costs and create cash flow with the European Secondary Software License Market“, 8. Januar 2021

Microsoft licence management - used software offers convincing advantages

PREO offers companies, organisations and public administrations a large selection of used Microsoft volume licences for servers, operating systems or application software at any time, with which they can optimise their licence costs in the long term and benefit in several ways:

Take advantage of the competence and expertise of PREO's licensing experts and get free, no-obligation advice on how your company can benefit from buying or selling used software licences.

Example 1: Efficiently moving from the E1 to the E3 plan with hybrid Microsoft licensing

The LMT Group is a global company specialising in special machine construction and the manufacture of precision tools with over 2,000 employees at 20 locations.

As part of an extensive SAM project, the IT managers decided in favour of efficient hybrid licensing of Microsoft products on the way to the cloud. Once initial concerns about compliance had been allayed, PREO's secure pre-owned Microsoft licences were used, which complement a low-cost E1 plan to provide almost the same functionality as an E3 plan. This combination enables high cost benefits to be realised.

Specifically, the project involved 10 IT locations worldwide, 40 physical servers, 549 virtual servers and a total of around 2,200 seats. The aim was to achieve needs-based licensing with corresponding licence procurement. The hybrid solution included the following licensing components:

  • Windows 10 with Software Assurance in EAS
  • Office 365 E1 plan (does not include a local Office installation)
  • Office 2016 ProPlus as used software and
  • Windows 2016 Server CAL, as no Windows Server CAL is included in the E1 plan

This licensing made it possible to extend the online services to Exchange and SharePoint Plan 2 in subsequent years, resulting in an E3 plan without Office ProPlus.

Conclusion: Thanks to hybrid licensing with a mix of used software and cloud-based rental software, LMT was able to achieve licence cost savings of 25 percent compared to a complete cloud solution. This corresponds to a sum in the upper six-figure range. The break-even point was already reached in the course of the second year.

You can download the detailed customer case free of charge here.

Example 2: Instead of new licences - used software reduces costs by more than 50 percent for the same performance.

The Asklepios healthcare group is one of the leading private operators of hospitals and healthcare facilities in Germany with more than 50,000 employees and almost 2.5 million patients per year.

Cost pressure in the healthcare sector has been high for many years, particularly in the operation of hospitals and specialised clinics. The imminent end of support for various operating systems and applications, such as Windows Server 2012, Windows 7, Office 2007 and 2010, was a welcome opportunity to take a closer look at the licence cost structure. Due to the threat of security gaps, major new licences were required, which normally lead to significant cost increases. However, the ambitious goal of the Group's own IT service company was to find a solution that would even allow a price reduction to be realised for the same performance. This consisted of extensive licensing of used Microsoft licences. A particularly relevant requirement for Asklepios was compliance with the legally compliant transparency of the legal rights chain, which PREO offers and even provides additional security itself. This meant that the used Microsoft licences could be purchased as planned.

Conclusion: Compared to a new licence, the purchase of used licences resulted in licence cost savings of over 50 percent. As a result, it was even possible to purchase a more comprehensive licence package with additional functionalities without exceeding the planned budget limit. At the same time, the IT infrastructure became more agile and easily scalable.

With PREO, you can rely on an experienced and reputable B2B provider

In the past, more than 1,000 companies have already benefited from the advantages of active Microsoft licence management with audit- and compliant use of used volume licences. As an experienced B2B provider, PREO offers companies, organisations and public administrations or institutions:

  • 100 percent legally and audit-proof licence acquisition with maximum transparency in all processing steps, including complete documentation in the PREO licence portal "Easy Compliance".
  • Many years of expertise in the integration of used software licences into classic network structures or hybrid licence models.

  • Detailed market knowledge and extensive experience through the audit-proof transfer of well over a million used software licences.

  • Existing software licence management capacities for large IT infrastructure projects with thousands of workstations and cross-border locations.

  • Convincing reference projects for numerous medium-sized and large companies from a wide range of industries.