Scott reveals the results of our recent reader licensing survey and answers several reader questions.
- By Scott Braden
Do you remember the old "Family Feud" game show? (Yes, I know it's
back on the air with the guy from "Home Improvement" as host.) What
a great show -- each episode is a college-level course in American demographics
Well, over the past few months, we've been taking a "master-level"
course in what you, Dear Redmond Reader, want and need from us, Microsoft
and this column. So I thank you for responding, and I also want to congratulate
our contest winners.
Here are the folks who were randomly picked to win Redmond T-shirts:
- Stefanie Whaley, Albuquerque, N.M.
- Maria W.
- Scott Shockley, Bethesda, Md.
- Steven Fishman, Corona, Calif.
- Stephen Moraes
We also had one grand-prize winner, Tim, who won an hour of consulting time
Thank you again to everyone who responded! Let's delve into the results of
the survey, starting first with a few statistics on who you are, followed by
some of your specific Microsoft licensing questions.
How many PCs and Windows-based servers are in your total organization?
|1 - 249
|250 - 499
|500 - 2,399
|2,400 - 5,999
What's your role in dealing with Microsoft licensing?
|I'm the purchasing/procurement person.
|I'm the senior IT approver.
|I'm the IT manager in charge.
|I'm a user/customer involved as influencer.
|I'm a vendor/consultant.
What are some of your burning questions about Microsoft licensing?
Question: We are in a merger process. My company has an Enterprise
agreement that it cannot leave until it expires, but the company we are merging
with doesn't have an agreement in place. How can we maximize the value of any
licenses the second company already has (e.g., Exchange CALs, etc) while trying
to get them onto the EA and procure items like Desktop Pro licenses for as little
money (and spread payments) as possible?
Great question. The answer boils down to this: Get proof of the licenses the
other company already owns. Its reseller(s) and Microsoft will help with that
but it won't be easy, quick or simple. You then have a number of options to
bring the acquired company into the fold:
- You can open negotiations for an entirely new Agreement, based on your new counts and needs.
- Under your existing EA, you can simply true-up the new counts.
- You can agree with Microsoft to continue licensing the two entities separately
until a more convenient time to merge them comes.
Which one to choose? My bias is for Option 1, but you should go into
it understanding that it will require significant time and effort. The easiest
but most expensive solution is Option 2, while Option 3 would be the compromise
position that nobody likes completely.
Question: When, if ever, will MS treat its customers with decency?
Yeah, well, that's an "eye of the beholder" situation. Many customers
are very happy with Microsoft -- roughly half of the survey respondents said
that they were.
Question: Does Microsoft have an analyzer tool that I can run that
will just tell me what I need?
Microsoft's answer would be yes -- in fact, it offers an array of tools and
services, such as the Microsoft
Software Inventory Analyzer and a bunch of related resources offered by
Microsoft and its partners here.
And don't forget good old SMS, now renamed "System Center Configuration
Manager 2007," which offers inventory services.
Microsoft and its resellers will also be delighted to "tell you what
you need" in a variety of ways. For example, the Microsoft
Product Licensing Advisor will guide you through a Q&A and make specific
licensing recommendations. Microsoft has also announced a new tool for partners
called "LicenseWise" that's designed to help your reseller walk you
through licensing decisions.
But use these tools and services with caution. Should you fully rely on the
vendor to keep your best interests at heart?
Next month: More answers to your questions, including the ever-popular "Why do license terms keep changing?"
'Til then, keep up the good work.
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.