If you run a large enterprise, you’re probably a Microsoft customer. Perhaps you are the CIO of a hospital with hundreds of computers. Maybe you coordinate consumer records across a widespread territory or have to track government contracts. You have probably paid for Microsoft licenses to keep your software running smoothly. You’re also likely paying more than you have to for those licenses. Part of Microsoft’s multi-billion-dollar business involves selling software licenses. Volume licensing is an affordable way to provide an organization with Microsoft software in bulk so that it can be run across multiple users. However, Microsoft licensing is not as simple as it sounds. In fact, there are books and courses dedicated to the subject. Managing your Microsoft license may be better left to the experts. You can’t learn everything about Microsoft licenses from one article. However, some guidelines can help you save money when you buy new Microsoft software or upgrade your current systems.
Virtualization offers server cloud solutions. It can help your IT department be more efficient and flexible. You may benefit from using virtualization solutions that combine your workloads on fewer servers. Hyper-V allows you to build a private cloud if you want to. You can also vary your services via the public cloud and better manage workloads. However, virtualization can be confusing. Licenses are purchased per processor. A data center may have many more processors than servers. The Datacenter Edition license gives organizations the rights to run an unlimited number of virtualized Windows Servers across these processors. This can save you money over licensing each Windows Server instance separately.
Do You Need Software Assurance?
Software Assurance, or SA, allows you to get additional support for your Microsoft assets. To take advantage of Microsoft SA, you’ll typically make payments over time. During the term of your payment plan, you’ll have access to free training and support. Microsoft Software Assurance also provides free access to software updates and upgrades during the contract term. This can be a huge benefit if you expect Microsoft to upgrade the software in the near future. However, upgrades can take a long time to roll out. You may not see any new developments during the course of your SA term. With the cost of Microsoft SA generally matching the cost of a full license, you’re paying double what you would otherwise pay for a user. If you’re going to take advantage of the training and management tools, it may be worth it. However, many experts believe that the benefits are marginal. Some licenses allow you to purchase Software Assurance for less than the typical three-year contract period. Software Assurance also allows you to virtualize your desktop infrastructure. However, it may be more beneficial for you to buy a virtual desktop infrastructure, or VDI, license for each device without paying for Software Assurance. Using a consulting firm like Earth & Sky can help you evaluate whether Software Assurance would be a beneficial and cost-effective tool for your company.
Don’t Overpay for a New Operating System
When a new operating system, or OS, is rolled out, it’s important to decide whether you actually need it. In the past, Microsoft rolled out a new OS every few years. However, the company reports that Windows 10 will probably be the final rollout. In the future, automatic updates will be implemented periodically.
Feel Free to Negotiate
Many organizations don’t realize that they can negotiate prices when buying licensing. Part of negotiating includes maintaining records of previous negotiations. You may not have a team that is capable of handling this type of work. The crew at Earth & Sky can take care of negotiating and recording previous license purchases for you. In general, salespeople are more likely to negotiate toward the end of a quarter. During these times, they are trying to meet their sales goals. Especially if you’ve been a good customer, Microsoft wants to keep you around. This makes them more likely to provide you with the best possible prices.
Why Is Software Licensing Compliance Important?
After you sign a contract, it’s important to make sure that you continually comply with licensing terms. That may be easier said than done. Many organizations fall out of compliance unintentionally. If you use your license improperly, you can incur expensive fees. It can be difficult to make out all the fine print that’s involved when you purchase a license. Did you know that you may be required to undergo a Microsoft compliance audit? If you work with a Microsoft license advisor like Earth & Sky, you don’t have to worry about this aspect. We can help explain all of the details so that you don’t have to worry about noncompliance.
Software asset management can help you cut costs and reduce risk. It will also help you protect your hardware by reducing the need to purchase potentially damaging software from unauthorized websites. In addition, it improves productivity. You’ll spend less time sorting through confusing information and spend more time doing the work that you’re meant to do. Your financial and IT departments might already be swamped with the demands of the business. Many health care organizations, government agencies, and other large corporations are not equipped to handle the analysis involved with proper licensing. If that’s the case, you may not be getting the most bang for your buck. Let Earth & Sky take care of the complicated aspects of software asset management so that you can run a more efficient organization.
With a background including deep IT operations and vendor experience, Earth & Sky, INC understands how to help you spend less on the software you need to competitively run your business. Call us today at 858-442-9591 or request a free consultation so you can spend more time and resources on IT innovation, and less on software maintenance.