Central Software Management (CSWM)

Central Software Management (CSWM) is a service that provides comprehensive software licensing and help on software maintenance issues. Through a License Management Office (LMO), NSPA consolidates and centralises commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software requirements from various NATO bodies (the customers), negotiates prices and licensing agreements with suppliers and obtains volume discounts that are then passed to customers.

The LMO can guide the customer through a process of standardising COTS software requirements, identifying the number of required licenses and choose the most adequate volume license and maintenance agreement. This results in a simplified software management process, software standardisation, increased interoperability, reduced training and maintenance costs, leading to significantly reduced total cost of ownership.

The LMO assists customers in

  • ensuring their organisation is legally compliant with its software licensing, thus eliminating non-compliance risks (financial and others); and
  • improving software acquisition planning and eliminating over-buying, thus boosting productivity and reducing costs.

Products on Offer

The Central Software Management (CSWM) License Management Office (LMO) has established agreements with the major suppliers of COTS software. Below you will find a non-exhaustive list of the products currently on offer. This list is continuously being extended in order to match new customer requirements and market evolution.

Microsoft Products

A comprehensive agreement established with this supplier allows the following offers:

  • Enterprise enrolments
    • Selected workstation and server products (operating systems, application suites, etc.)
    • Fixed 3-5 year costs for new licenses, including maintenance
  • Select agreements
    • Assured discounts independent of the number of licenses purchased
  • NATO-wide premier support
    • In-depth technical support
  • Fixed-cost consultancy rates

Security Products

Security-related COTS software from various vendors:

  • Workstation and server anti-virus suites
  • E-mail scanning
  • Mail labelling software
  • Firewall software
  • Specialist software tools for the INFOSEC community

Other Products

A selection of various COTS software products from various vendors:

  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software
  • Relational database management systems (RDMS)
  • File compression tools
  • Configuration and asset management tools
  • Document management products

Procedures and Processes

Interactions between NSPA and CSWM customers can be categorised in one of four processes that are outlined below.

Customer Inquiry

  • Respond to customer inquiries
  • Provide latest and most accurate information about:
    • COTS software products
    • associated support services

Customer Requisition / Purchase Order (PO)

  • Receive, register, verify and process customer purchase order
  • Deliver ordered products
  • Deliver license allocation certificate
  • Invoice on delivered products and services

Renewal of Software Maintenance

  • Inform customer about upcoming maintenance renewal
  • Invite customer to send PO for maintenance renewal

Annual Reconciliation

  • Synchronise COTS software license records between CSWM database and the customer site

For further information please contact :

Advantages of CSWM

The most important advantages of the Central Software Management (CSWM) service are standardisation, interoperability and cost savings, which are achieved through economies of scale.

The figure below clearly demonstrates the economies of scale applied to three products: WinZip, MapInfo Professional and NATO Desktop (a bundle of MS Windows and MS Office).

This is a small sample of the many products within the CSWM product portfolio. Owing to the commercially sensitive nature of the product prices, the achieved economies can only be shown as percentages of the standard unit cost.

Customer Eligibility

Any NATO body can be a CSWM customer. NATO nations employing NATO-furnished equipment or applications may also use the CSWM.

Under certain circumstances, other organisations, namely national defence bodies may become eligible as CSWM customers. These circumstances involve the product or service required and also agreements established with the suppliers. Some suppliers have already made clear statements about customer eligibility:


The NSPA License Management Office will request a "Public Sector Head" approval from Microsoft on behalf of NATO nations wishing to benefit from the NATO Select or Enterprise Agreement; Microsoft will review each case separately. In addition, national authorities should express their concurrence with the NATO/NSPA License Management Procedures and Objectives.


No restrictions. National defence organisations may buy under NATO terms and conditions for national purposes.

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