Need a Microsoft License? Ask These 5 Questions First

February 2nd, 2012 at 6:45 am - Filed under Technology

For those purchasing volume licensing from Microsoft the costs can seem exorbitant, yet the technology a necessity. Are you doomed to spend the money? To help in the decision process, Forrester Research published a report outlining questions that volume customers need to consider prior to entering a new licensing agreement.

1. Is this the best we can do?

Don’t accept insufficient Enterprise Agreements and be willing to make less costly choices. You should give attention to all available options such as buying a competing and less expensive product, postponing upgrades or checking out the Select Plus program. Be willing to make tough cost-cutting decisions, but give Microsoft the opportunity to win your business with their best offer. A strong Enterprise Agreement will at a minimum give you access to upcoming versions and the ability to migrate from in-house to the cloud.

2. How often do you upgrade?

Including Enterprise Agreements and Software Assurance subscriptions makes your license that much more expensive, but could actually be worth the added cost if your company is likely to upgrade to the next Microsoft version. Although the Software Assurance subscription itself may only cover a three year period when it is purchased with an Enterprise Agreement, the upgrade can occur at any point in the future. Since few businesses upgrade every three years, this flexibility is a big selling point.

3.  Who decides what gets spent on IT?

Because it will be such a major expense, spending for an upgrade could get stuck in committee, never reaching the approval stage. Consider how hard it will be to get budget approval.  If your company operates with a more centralized purchasing business model, pitching the upgrade will likely be more successful than if disparate stakeholders need to be brought on board.

4.  Of what value are licensing rules?

Forrester points out that Microsoft wants your upgrade business enough that they will sweeten the deal by adding benefits only available through Software Assurance. These perks include the use of Windows 7 Enterprise Edition and the right to expand your licenses to virtual desktops and devices in place for application streaming. Forrester warns that an Enterprise Agreement can appear the least expensive way to support virtual desktops and streaming devices, but you should also beware that Microsoft could determine that they qualify as desktops. The rules here are still unclear. Therefore, the Forrester report recommends avoiding a purchase on the Enterprise Agreement and instead purchasing Software Assurance only for PCs when virtual desktop access is necessary.

5.  How Persuasive are the added Software Assurance extras?

Keep in mind that this is a negotiation. Not every extra that Microsoft adds to Software Assurance is valuable to your business despite what the Microsoft salesperson may say. Work the give and take to get the agreement most beneficial to you. Give back less valuable benefits in exchange for things like added support or training time. Forrester does say however, that businesses migrating to the cloud or increasing mobile devices will find the deal sweeteners in Software Assurance almost irresistible.

If you’re ready to look into Microsoft licensing, you need an experienced partner to guide the way. DataSource Solutions will work with you to determine your best course of action. To get the best negotiated price possible, contact DataSource today!