Back in 2013 I published a few ‘checklists’ for the benefit of those considering an Enterprise Agreement (EA) as well as those already committed and facing an annual reevaluation. I thought it would be good to revisit:
Let’s start at the very basics again…. A Microsoft Enterprise Agreement offers your organization a cost-effective way to acquire the latest Microsoft technology, help standardize your IT infrastructure, and simplify your license management. It gives you the flexibility to grow your business without stopping to purchase licenses incrementally. Provided you have 250 seats+ of course, and you are prepared for a minimum term of three years. A huge benefit here being that you are able to license both on-premises software and cloud services under the same agreement. You also have invaluable resources such as your reseller as well as your Microsoft Licensing Executive and Account Manager to fully assess your company’s business needs before making important licensing decisions like these. Here are some checklists you may find helpful during this journey:
□ Account for any retired and ‘line of business’ devices to avoid overstating your device count – a common error
□ Get an understanding of your datacenter’s server environment and the implications of DRS (Dynamic Resource Scheduling) on your licensing requirements
□ Review your usage/deployment of non-platform software (see more detail below)
□ Review Terminal Services/Citrix usage. Not all inventory tools monitor/manage this access. Without this knowledge you will have to succumb to ‘worst case scenario’.
□ Account for any online subscriptions including cloud services
An important part of the checklist above is the fact that you need to ‘inventorize’. Run an inventory before you enter into any agreements, and certainly repeat this at every true-up/EA renewal.
Make sure you inventorize:
□ Physical Desktops
□ Virtual Desktops
□ Physical Servers
□ Virtual Servers
□ CPUs per Server (and Core Counts on your SQL Servers)
□ Qualifying underlying OS licenses
□ Users & Devices accessing Windows, Sharepoint, Exchange, Lync Servers (among others)
I also can’t stress enough how important it is to involve all stakeholders in planning discussions.
Examples of people to be involved in discussions:
□ Active Directory Administrator
□ IT Manager
□ SAM/ITAM Manager
□ Service Desk Manager
□ Procurement Manager
Once you have done your due-diligence, you will have peace of mind and confidence moving forward with discussions. Should an EA agreement turn out to be a good fit and you enter into it, the next hurdle to consider is your annual True-up (or in some instances your True-Down). Your true-up can be every bit as important as your initial planning, and there are so many companies who simply don’t allocate enough time to the process and frankly – it costs them.
During your True-up, Microsoft ask you to align your Enterprise Agreement with the total number of licenses you’ve added in the previous 12 months. So the true-up process is essentially an inventory of all the qualified devices, users and processors added to your organization over the course of the year/term.
Tips for planning your true-up:
□ Schedule your true-up process to initiate 120 days (MS recommended) before the anniversary date
□ Diarize for the declaration to be in well before the 30 day deadline prior to anniversary date
□ Book relevant meetings with both your MS Licensing Executive as well as your MS Account Manager
□ Identify all stakeholders (examples given above) and confirm availability for the process
□ Make sure you have all the tools necessary to take an accurate device & software inventory
If you would like someone to assist you during this process or any other for that matter, please feel free to get in contact with EasySAM to discuss some of the services that we can offer you.
About The Author
EasySAM is a specialist software and hardware asset management consultancy. With a combined audit & compliance experience in excess of 60 years, the EasySAM team has successfully delivered over 400 customer engagements, currently manage software compliance for 60 customers (with an average estate size of 1,410 devices) and have provided measured cost savings exceeding £31m to our customers. Our main strengths in this competitive market are our vendor independence and our focus solely on SAM as opposed to licensing