The Great Microsoft Negotiation Myth

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by | April 20, 2016


You probably already know this better than anyone: The Microsoft licensing costs that already account for the lion’s share of your annual software budget are escalating at an alarming rate. Meanwhile, your CFO or CIO wants you to cut your Microsoft spend by any means possible.

Given such demands, you might want to look for negotiating help when it’s time to renew your Microsoft licensing agreements.  Such help is easy to find. The market is crowded with experts who promise they’ll cut your Microsoft licensing costs by hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.

Many of these experts came out of Microsoft or one of their resellers and bring an insider’s understanding of Microsoft negotiation tactics.  Others work for well-known IT industry analyst firms and can tell you the average discount other Microsoft customers are getting.  But before you follow the siren song of big discounts and big savings, you need to know about a fundamental issue with any Microsoft licensing consultant.

The Truth about Licensing Consultants

I see it all the time. Consultants that get paid a percentage of the “savings” on their client’s Microsoft licensing costs recommend quick fixes that maximize their fees but ultimately cost their clients dearly. For example, they may saddle you with a licensing scheme that makes it very difficult to prove compliance in an audit or licenses for products that are nearing end-of-life. I call such engagements “Drive-by Shootings”. The consultant has cashed your check and is long gone by the time you realize they’ve left your organization with a long-term Microsoft licensing nightmare.

The truth is that you can’t outsource the most important work of getting your Microsoft agreement right.  Successful Microsoft agreements depend on a crystal-clear understanding of your organization’s unique IT objectives, which specific Microsoft technologies you need to achieve those objectives, and your options for licensing those technologies. The information should be gathered by someone who has an institutional understanding of your Microsoft IT infrastructure – past, present and future. It helps if they understand Microsoft licensing too.

Without such information, you’ll never know whether you’re signing an agreement that meets your needs, keeps you compliant, and is fairly priced – with or without a professional negotiator’s help.

What Can You Do?

To get you started, we’ve assembled an extensive library of objective and easy-to-understand Microsoft licensing guides to help you understand the rules, your options, and how to choose. You’ll find samples at www.DirectionsOnMicrosoft.com/licensing.   Or, if you need to get up-to-speed on Microsoft licensing quickly, consider our intensive, two-day Microsoft Licensing Boot Camp (www.DirectionsOnMicrosoft.com/training).  It’s the fastest way possible to get the information and knowledge you need to optimize your Microsoft agreements – with or without the help of a consultant.

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