Microsoft CIO Tackles Licensing, a Process That Drives Customers Nuts

Cloud & Services CxO Governance Info & Security IT Asset Management Management News Software | 2 comments

by | June 16, 2015

Microsoft Corp. CIO Jim DuBois is playing an outsized role as he addresses one of the software giant’s biggest challenges: simplifying a complex licensing process that drives customers nuts.

His team is developing software that will help CIOs better manage the Microsoft applications their companies consume.

“We’re trying to simplify the business processes around our licensing, which is something we’ve had requests from our customers for a while,” said Mr. DuBois who became the company’s CIO in 2013.

Mr. DuBois could be understating the need. When Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, speaking before a packed house of CIOs at the Gartner Symposium IT/xpo last October, announced that the company would simplify some of its licensing policies, the crowd cheered—the first time in history, perhaps, that anything to do with licensing evoked such raw emotion.

Following Mr. Nadella’s lead, Mr. DuBois said his team is introducing “radical simplification” of documentation, language and terms to volume licensing systems, a set of online customer portals CIOs access to purchase rights to the company’s complex legion of products. The licensing system’s Microsoft Products and Services Agreement, documents defining the total amount and cost of software CIOs purchased, has been pared from 250 pages to eight. Mr. DuBois said he is piloting several other volume licensing products, which will be launched over the coming months. His department, which runs the systems in the company’s Azure cloud infrastructure software, works closely with business leaders to refine how the licensing processes appear within the customer portals. Such custom development is “really core to our business,” he said.



  1. Andre Rangel

    GREAT News and surely, an example to be followed by other vendors. On the other side, customers must take an action and start to take care about its own business process around software used in its day-to-day operations, pursuing be in compliance and not only crying and blaming vendors on issues that they must have an active role.

  2. Kris Wong

    In advance, I apologize for my clear rant.

    250 to 8 pages? If they can actually achieve it then great but I won’t be holding my breath. I’ve seen addendum on negotiated rights longer than 8 pages…

    Now the theory behind this is solid. Simplification of the licensing models @ MS would be beneficial.
    Why do they have a CAL model in the first place?
    Why do they have multiple editions that are essentially the same?
    Why do they have e multiple lines models for a single product (Dvc, User, CPU, Core, OSE, blah blah blah).

    Regardless, my point is this:
    Make 1 edition per product
    Make 1 license model per product (stop the madness, ultimate, professional, standard, essential, etc)
    Standardize the entitlements across al product.
    Stop trying to nickel and dime on virtualization, it is here… it should be included in all licensing.

    There are other points I could probably make but feel like MS should make just get a =working group of Licensing and SAM professionals that could “steer” them in the right direction.

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