Bytes SAM service signals greater visibility, software savings and compliance benefits for HS2


Owned by the Department for Transport, HS2 Ltd is responsible for developing and delivering the most ambitious infrastructure project seen in the UK. British-built, bullet style trains will travel at up to 225mph between London and the West Midlands. The new railway will fully integrate with the country’s transport networks, boosting capacity and connectivity. 


Managing software in the most efficient and compliant way is part of HS2’s mission to run a successful, sustainable and affordable organisation. It had contracts worth more than £30 million, which included technologies from Microsoft, Oracle, ServiceNow and a raft of other providers.

However, licensing models were becoming more complex and the pace of change in technology was accelerating. What’s more, HS2’s user base was set to expand. Around 3,000 people relied on software in six locations – but more teams were planned to come on stream.

HS2 needed a trustworthy partner to provide expertise and help it to develop an effective software asset management (SAM) strategy that delivered best value. The company turned to Bytes.

At Bytes we use a proven and innovative approach to help large public and private organisations make the right technology choices and manage their IT spend. We are known for our market leading advice in software. The partnership Bytes have with HS2 strives to maximise the value of their technology investments.

Jack Watson, Managing Director at Bytes. ​​​​​​​

The Bytes Solution

Using its own market-leading tools, Bytes worked closely with HS2 to create a tailored, managed SAM service. This adds value throughout the software lifecycle by delivering:

·      A full review of current products, HS2’s business requirements and consolidation options

·      Expertise on how to drive greater efficiency from current licencing, including cloud services

·      Reports on any compliance risks and optimisation opportunities

·      Software asset maturity and a business operating model that’s reviewed annually

The Bytes team brought together multiple inhouse offerings, including cloud optimisation with its inhouse a Bytes co-developed FinOps Tool, Commercial Advisory Service (CAS)* and Cloud Essentials Commercial Optimisation Service (CECO)*. Meanwhile, compliance management was carried out using ServiceNow SAM Pro. Bytes also provided specialist procurement advice through its Subject Matter Experts and account teams.

*Our CAS service is an exercise of due diligence and licensing optimisation, that underpins the negotiation of large contracts and our CECO service provides cloud visibility and spend management.



With expertise and tools from Bytes, HS2 has deepened its SAM maturity and is ensuring its annual enterprise-wide software spend of more than £11 million is delivering maximum value for UK taxpayers. Bytes has negotiated discounts worth over £500,000 on current software contracts.

Microsoft 365 and Azure contracts are continually optimised using Bytes’ Quantum technology with monthly CECO reports that have led to sizable savings. HS2 has been able to remove un-used  Microsoft 365 licences worth £50,000 and saved a further £930,000 through Azure optimisation. 

Now the HS2 team has a greater understanding of software contracts, entitlements and usage through detailed, actionable reports. These are tuned for HS2’s needs and commercial goals.

With help from Bytes, HS2 has mitigated compliance risks, optimised cloud spend, and supported contract negotiations. 

“Number of procurements taken away from HS2 Corporate Proc. Team:  50+ individual contracts various type: STA, Direct Award, Monopoly. Number of weeks avoided if activities were delivered Internally: 500+ weeks. Value of the contracts source on behalf of HS2: £11m+/annum” Aleksandra Solecka, Business Performance Lead.

Bytes have ensured HS2 have insights in their cloud spend, consumption and utilisation:

“Bytes are providing invaluable insight into our Azure spend, with regular consumption and utilisation reports and tailored guidance and advice on managing cloud spend,” says Nick Carter, Azure Service Lead at HS2.

The SAM-as-a-service from Bytes also focuses on new requirements, highlighting the best routes ahead for evolution and innovation. Bytes is working with HS2 to innovate through AI workshops and new market leading technology. HS2’s latest SAM project with Bytes is part of an ongoing partnership between the two companies.

As Nick Pardoe, SAM Service Lead at HS2, explains: “I have worked closely with our Bytes SAM experts over the past several years to explore and implement several software asset management improvement initiatives for HS2. Together we have optimised workflows to ensure the most efficient delivery of assistive technology software to HS2 customers, ensuring correct approvals and tasks are in place and that they trigger at the most effective times to enable swift fulfilment.  

“Most recently we have worked together to enable the management of SaaS software through an integration with ServiceNow and Azure AD for SaaS License Management. This has been a promising development that we will look to further embrace.”

Upcoming developments of the HS2 and Bytes Service will start to incorporate our Procurement-as-a-service (PaaS) processes including exploring the benefits of the Cloud Marketplaces. This will enable maximum value is continued to be delivered, throughout the procurement process, now and into the future.

Discover more
Are you looking to get more from your software estate? Bytes can help – whether you need a simple software review at a few sites, or want to gain full control of a global software estate. Find out more about our Software Asset Management capabilities.