Redmond Negotiator

Microsoft Licensing Survey and Contest!

Here's your chance to win consulting time or a Redmond T-shirt just by letting Scott know your most pressing licensing questions! Plus, why you don't want to let the the "tail wag the dog" when it comes to software.

It's May...which means "end of fiscal year" deals are happening all over the Microsoft universe (Microsoft's fiscal year ends June 30).

You know what this means: Your negotiating leverage is ramping up each day, so make good use of it.

It also means that everyone with a June 30 agreement expiration date is calling and e-mailing my office, asking for help. Since I can't personally help everyone (not enough time), I thought it might be useful to do a quick survey, take the most frequently asked, specific questions, and answer them here in upcoming columns.

So here's the deal:

  1. Take the survey here. You can leave your contact info if you want, but you don't have to. If you want to enter the drawing for several Redmond T-shirt or my consulting time, leave your contact info.  
  2. I'll tabulate the results and answer the most frequently-asked questions. If you leave your contact info, you'll get an e-mail from me with all the questions and all the answers before the columns go live!
  3. One lucky winner will get two free 30-minute consultations with me!

Ready? Click here to take the survey. The survey will won't be open forever, so take it now! And don't forget to look for the answers to your questions in on this site (and in your inbox, if you've provided your e-mail address).

So, what can you do with the money you don't give to Microsoft?

I frequently advise clients, "Don't let the tail wag the dog." Meaning: Don't make technology and business decisions based solely on the prices that Microsoft is charging for licenses.

If SQL Server is the best platform for your apps, then run SQL, even if the price is higher than that of MySQL or another competitor. If your business has a ton of apps built around Lotus Notes, in addition to e-mail, then why rip and replace with Exchange, SharePoint, Groove or LCS just because Microsoft offers great deals as part of an Enterprise Agreement?

This is especially true when talking about open source solutions. By now, everyone agrees that open source is not really "free" and most companies are paying attention to real-world issues like legal risk, training costs, support costs, talent pools and vendor support. Don't let the tail wag the dog.

Of course, you still want to explore your options. And you still want to negotiate your best deal to save significant chunks of money that you can redirect to other areas. Or, you could give the funds back to the business to invest as they see fit. 

OK, stop laughing -- I was only kidding about giving the money back to the business.

So what are some under-utilized ways to reinvest these Microsoft savings?  Here are a few ideas you might consider at your next planning meeting:

  • Buy more licenses for another use -- whether Microsoft or some other vendor. Buy more Citrix or VMware or that Web module for the line of business app that the users have been wanting.
  • Fund a position for Enterprise Architecture, or a couple of junior technicians for your teams that are most stressed.
  • Buy some more gear for your develpment, test and QA environments, and maybe fund some time for better pre-production testing, so your best people can get out of firefighting mode occasionally.
  • One of my favorites: Buy an enterprise software discovery and license/asset management toolset. And the funding to deploy it. And the FTEs to keep it running and accurate. The cool part about this is you get all these funds back (plus more!) as ROI. 
  • Here's a crazy one: Have a departmental offsite meeting someplace nice, have good food and entertainment and invite families. Hand out awards and recognition. Tell your folks "thanks" and see what it does for morale and productivity.

So, go take that survey, and enjoy the money you're about to save! Until next month...

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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