Software and cloud licence ordering process

From March 2021, orders for paid-for software and cloud licences, including maintenance, subscription renewals and support, must be made as OSVCs in the framework of X contracts[1] and no longer as DAIs.

The changes seek to respond to the Director General’s recommendations related to developing a proactive and coherent strategy for commercial software purchasing and management, made during the 272nd Enlarged Directorate in January 2021.

This page explains the new process for ordering software and cloud licences.

What is changing, and why?

The new ordering process described below ensures that orders for software and cloud licences, maintenance and support may only be placed in the framework of valid and referenced software licence agreements. It also ensures that meaningful data about the licence type, scope and purpose are collected in the order preparation process.

These changes provide several advantages:

  1. Connecting orders related to the same products, and acquiring visibility on which products are used for which purpose, will facilitate proactive and coherent strategies for the purchasing and management of software and cloud licences;
  2. Raising visibility and awareness of licence conditions will reduce the chances of non-compliance, which could be extremely costly;
  3. Reducing the time taken for approvals of software licence orders, with approvals and reviews from the Software/Cloud Licence Office, IT Security and, where applicable, the Office of Data Privacy being made only once at the contract level instead of on an order-by-order basis.

What is the new process?

  1. Obtain a price quote in coordination with the Procurement Service.

  1. For new software, for the procurement strategy follow the same procurement guidelines as defined for other procurement requests depending on the estimated value on the Procurement Service’s website.

  1. For renewals of existing software, contact the Procurement Officer in charge (or, if not known, write to to agree an appropriate procurement/licence management strategy.

  1. Request an X contract reference.

  1. If the order follows a DO or an IT, the Procurement Officer will provide you with the X contract reference.

  1. If you already have an X reference for your licence from previous transactions, ensure that your X contract’s validity dates and assigned budget will cover the forthcoming renewal period. If not, email your Procurement Officer or with the budget code and any other relevant details of the proposed extension/budget increase.

  1. If you do not have an X reference for your licence, request one by completing a Department Request. This is required irrespective of the order or contract value. In the DR:
  • In the “Needed from” section: The date from which your licence is needed (or the next renewal date, in the case of a renewal);
  • In the “Needed to” section: The date until which the licence or next renewal should be valid, as agreed with the Procurement Service;
  • In the “Estimated amount” section: The estimated amount for the above-mentioned period;
  • In the “Long description” section: the products/services in question and the name of the software provider and, if applicable, the current reseller. Indicate here that the DR is a request for an X contract reference;
  • In the “Roles” section: as TECHNICAL and TECHNICAL2, the names of the person (and their back-up) responsible for licence agreement and products, and their central coordination across CERN;
  • In the attachments, copies of any signed agreements in connection with the licence, and the duly signed single or sole source justification memo.

  1.  Create an OSVC (instead of a DAI).

In the OSVC:

  • In the “Contract” field, add the X contract reference.
  • In the order lines, after selecting a Procurement Code corresponding to software or cloud licences, complete the new fields to provide information about the licence type, scope and functionality. If in doubt about how to complete these section, contact your Procurement Officer.
  • For the “key words” section, provide two or three words about the key functionality provided by the software. The idea is to choose words that can easily be identified and understood by others at CERN with similar needs e.g. for Zoom, one could use “video-conferencing, collaboration, communication, online meetings”.
  • For the “location of work”, select Switzerland unless use will be exclusively in France.
  • Attach to the OSVC any relevant documentation such as the corresponding quote.


For a detailed explanation of the process above, please find the recording of the session  "New Software and Cloud Licence Ordering Process" at


[1] For B contracts which are already in place as of March 2021, orders can continue to be places as DAIs in the framework of B contracts.