Enterprise Agreement (EA) licensing has become a common term in today’s business world. They present a significant opportunity for productivity benefits and cost savings, but how often do you sit down to examine your EA options? If you’re like most organizations, it’s once every 3 years – when your renewal date comes up. A lot can change in 3 years, which is why it helps to have someone on your side who lives and breathes EA details year round. Here are my top 5 tips to consider when you’re getting ready to re-sign your contract.
- Expect the Cloud Conversation to Happen: The cloud is the future of licensing. Microsoft Office 365 is the latest and greatest model that Microsoft will want to educate you on. With such attractive productivity benefits, there isn’t a single customer that I deal with that isn’t having an Office 365 discussion with Microsoft. Expect the conversation, and have your questions and concerns ready to be answered.
- Think SAM Engagement: Renewal is the time to get your numbers right. SAM, or Software Asset Management, is a valuable way to see the differences between what you have installed versus what you currently are licensed for. The process takes a few weeks to complete, so be proactive and engage your Connection SAM Team early in the process. I recommend beginning the renewal preparation work 6 months in advance. This allows enough time for proper SAM data to be processed, and the Licensing Analysis to be done to be sure you’re not over- or under-licensed.
- Make Your True-Up Payments: The EA gives you the ability to download products into your environment and true-up at your leisure. However, it is important to make those payments and pay for those products. Developer and Test Licenses are covered by your MSDN licenses, so you don’t need to worry as much about those – but if it’s in full production, you should true it up. If you are a growing company, and you’re not making your true-up payments, you could be putting yourself on the radar as an audit candidate. So, if you’re using it, pay for it! It will keep your relationship with Microsoft positive, and it will make your life a lot easier when trying to manage your licensing environment.
- Be Proactive: Waiting until the last minute to plan your renewal will push you to the maximum stress levels, and you may not have enough time to really dig into the specifics. With the proper timeframe, we can analyze your licenses, show you consolidation plans on your servers, and do a SQL analysis to guide you in the most cost-effective direction. Being smart and engaging the experts sooner ensures plenty of time to work with Microsoft to maximize the value of your contract.
- Be Open Minded: Microsoft may offer you something that you’re not currently interested in or ready for quite yet. As we all know, however, software needs change – and a year down the road that could be the exact solution you need. Let Microsoft have the time to explain your options and ask the right questions. We’ve seen a lot of helpful conversations and planning sessions between our customers and Microsoft. We will, of course, help guide you in the correct direction with our Licensing Optimization Analysis, and show you the benefits and risks of the “why” and “what if” scenarios. Take the time to hear all of your options and work with the experts to ensure you make the right decision moving forward.
I know this may sound like a lot of time and planning for you, but it isn’t really. As your advisor, we take most of this workload on so that you don’t have to. Following these five little tips will go a long way toward streamlining your renewal process and helping maximize your investment in Microsoft technologies. If you have any questions, or need any information, please feel free to reach out to the team or contact your Account Manager.