For most companies, June marks the month that the window for license negotiations close before Microsoft’s fiscal year ends. Microsoft account reps are working around the clock to book every last dollar of revenue by June 30th, and many organizations, without adequate foresight and preparation, wind up getting locked into license agreements that aren’t in their best interests.
So what can enterprises do during this critical time to negotiate the best outcome for their license renewals with Microsoft? Here are some words of wisdom to those seeking to increase their leverage with Microsoft during the negotiation process:
1. Keep an up-to-date software inventory – It it is essential to know exactly what software has already been deployed across the organization. But a one-time inventory will not suffice; inventories must be updated continually and reconciled with purchasing data in order to uncover and rectify license shortfalls. We recently introduced a free license compliance tool to help IT teams generate reliable reports showing their current license positions.
2. Monitor software usage – With the threat of software audits always looming, it is easy to end up panic-buying licenses in order to guarantee compliance and avoid fines. By understanding how software is being used, by whom, on which devices, companies can avoid panic spending and wasting money on software that’s not needed. Software usage data can also help determine which software can be decommissioned or redeployed more effectively in other areas of the business.
3. Do your homework – Microsoft offers a variety of license agreements across its product lines. Making an effort to understand the various options, as well as the types of usage scenarios allowed under each of these options, will improve your ability to negotiate an optimal agreement for your organization. If you don’t have the personnel or resources to develop this kind of expertise in-house, outsourcing this function will, in most cases, pay for itself.
4. Plan for the future – Microsoft’s audit teams are wrapping up their activities but Microsoft sales teams are driving hard to ensure they make their end of year numbers—making it a perfect time of year to invest in new Microsoft technologies and negotiate for more favorable contracts.