Redmond Negotiator

Countdown To Your New Microsoft Deal, Part IV: Epilogue

What to do AFTER you've signed to get the most out of your contract and make the process less painful next time.

So you’ve finally put this Microsoft deal to bed (see Parts I, II and III of this series): Signatures are in place, the paperwork has been sent off , and you’re read to relax with your well-deserved frosty beverage. Go ahead, you deserve it.

But come Monday, here are some things you’ll want to take care of to help get the most out of your new agreements.

Share the Good News
Your first step should be to notify your stakeholders about the new deal and the benefits you’ve won. Who are the people in the company that should know about the new Microsoft agreements, and what needs to change?

  • Server and Application Administrators: Have their CAL rules changed? Are they converting from per-user to per-processor licensing? Are you acquiring thousands of new CALs for SharePoint? Be sure to review your list of Microsoft products, identify the internal owners for each, and let them know about their new terms and any related policy changes. If you’ve signed up for Software Assurance, hook them up with TechNet Plus subscription information and Problem Resolution Support and the other support benefits.
  • Desktop Teams: Have your Windows desktop OS licensing rules changed? How about the items in your standard image -- are you moving from Office Pro to Office Standard? Let ‘em know, so they can make the changes. If you have Software Assurance, they’ll want to know about the Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE).
  • Help Desk: Are your front-line agents aware of the licensing rules and policies; including “how-to” for users to request software, as well as knowing what should already be licensed for a particular user? If you’ve signed up for Software Assurance, tell them about TechNet Plus, Problem Resolution Support and the Corporate Error Reporting functionality.
  • Training and Human Resources Departments: If you’ve signed up for Software Assurance, you have benefits to claim and make use of. How will you communicate and administer the details of the Home Use Program, the Employee Purchase Program, eLearning and Training Vouchers?
  • Purchasing Team(s): Assuming that’s not you… who else would need to know about Microsoft licensing agreements; which resellers to use, what prices are appropriate and what licenses you already own?
  • Legal: Do they need final copies of the agreements? If they need the signed originals, you should keep copies for your reference.

Get Your Polices in Place
Your next step is to update corporate policies. You should already have an official corporate-wide software usage policy; take steps now to amend and update it in light of any changes you’ve made with your Microsoft agreements.

While you’re at the meetings to educate your stakeholders, take the opportunity to update procedures. Change internal Web sites and user documentation. Put together a plan with your stakeholders for taking advantage of SA benefits and any extras you’ve negotiated. Assign an owner to make sure you actually use the benefits: You’re paying for them, don’t let them go to waste. Also build in a tracking method so next time around you’ll be able to quantify exactly whether your SA was worth the cost.

Check your e-mail spam filters (on your contract paperwork, you specified an e-mail address for notifications) and make sure the confirming e-mails from Microsoft will be coming through; these will contain important info such as agreement numbers and secure Web site logins.

You'll want your Volume License Keys available ONLY to the appropriate people who are authorized to load software, along with a policy and process to keep people from loading software that’s not licensed.

Reap the Benefits
Be sure to get what you paid for! Assign a specific individual as the contract administrator for Microsoft. and login to Microsoft’s MVLS Web site to assign your Benefits Managers (to manage your Software Assurance benefits).

Resources

To claim your benefits, you have to go through a registration process for each of the individual benefits you’re entitled to (i.e., each desktop benefit such as Employee Purchase Program, Work at Home, etc., and each server benefit, such as training vouchers and TechNet), and assign a Benefits manager. Remember, some of the Software Assurance benefits are time-sensitive, so you could lose them if you don’t act quickly!

Final Chores
You’ve accumulated a lot of data, files, e-mails and documents during these negotiations. Now is the time to gather all the notes, e-mails, spreadsheets and faxes, print them out, burn a CD and put it in a folder with your contracts and notes. This way, in two or three years, you or your successor will have the evidence they need to start negotiations on a good footing. While you're at it, write up a “lessons learned” document, including advice (and reminder dates) for the next time around.

You’ve also gathered up a lot of software asset tracking information. You do have an electronic discovery / inventory tool, right? How about a centralized IT Asset Management system that’s integrated with your Help Desk and IT Purchasing systems so your asset data is automatically updated at every step of the lifecycle? Don’t let all of the hard work of gathering and reconciling this information go to waste: Make sure you have the means to keep your asset inventory up-to date, so you can reap the benefits of audit protection plus the cost savings when using this information as evidence for future negotiations and vendor leverage.

Finally, as you settle into the new contracts, review each of your reseller invoices and Microsoft confirmations carefully. Confirm that the correct agreement numbers and enrollment numbers, along with the correct line item information, are showing up so you receive credit for your purchases. Also be sure to periodically download your licensing history from Microsoft and your reseller(s) to reconcile with your asset management and purchasing records.

Have I given you enough to go on? Send me feedback at Scott@MicrosoftSecrets.com

About the Author

Scott Braden has helped more than 600 companies negotiate Microsoft volume license deals. For a free case study, "How a Mid-size Company Saved over $870,000 on a $3 million Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, in Less Than Three Weeks," visit www.MicrosoftCaseStudy.com.

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