Four Essentials You Need to Know Before Renewing Microsoft EA Contracts
Your company’s Enterprise Agreement (EA) with Microsoft is essential to your business; it’s also very complex and most likely more expensive than it needs to be. If your Microsoft contracts are coming up for renewal, there’s no doubt that you want to secure the best rate and services. For many business leaders, though, doing that just isn’t as easy as it sounds.
A great deal of work goes into preparing for contract renewals, and the process can be overwhelming. You’re likely relying on your IT staff to help you prepare for the renewal process, but is that enough? It may seem overly detailed or even tedious, but remember that preparing now can save your company on contracts for years to come. Here are four essentials that you should know as you prepare to renew your Microsoft EAs.
- Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
Your company’s Microsoft representative isn’t waiting until the last minute to consider a renewal deal for your enterprise, and you shouldn’t either. Microsoft is known for striking favorable deals with businesses who want to renew early in the quarter on contracts that are going to expire. If you’ve done your research and know what you need well before your EA expires, you’ll likely be able to secure more favorable terms.
On the other hand, putting off renewal talks until the last minute also means that you lose most of your leverage. Your sales rep knows that you need to renew to keep operations running smoothly at your company and will certainly use that against you in negotiations. However, if your sales rep knows that you have plenty of time to research other options, you’ll maintain the upper hand.
- Focus on Programs and Terms as Much as Pricing
Many business leaders get sucked into the trap of focusing only on pricing when it comes to renewing software contracts. It’s important to remember that your EAs are about more than just cost. They’re also about services. As you think ahead to your negotiation strategy, define what support your business most needs and review the terms of your current contract.
Then, set negotiating priorities to ensure that you’re getting the programs you need with the terms you want at a cost your business can afford. Make a list of “must haves” in terms of programs and services so that you can communicate clearly with your Microsoft sales rep. Of course, you should also weigh your pricing expectations to ensure that they’re realistic given the package that you’re seeking.
- Be Ready for an Audit
Business experts have noticed an increase in audits by Microsoft during contract renewals in recent years. While an audit can sound scary, it’s essential to be prepared for one. This is especially true if Microsoft hasn’t audited your company before. Be aware that auditors will look at license entitlements and deployment counts closely. You can prepare by carefully reviewing all licensing agreements and taking your own counts.
In addition to looking at the basic factors that auditors will consider, you should scrutinize program access for individual users. Make sure that everyone who is using a given software program really needs it. If a program is redundant or is seldom used by a given employee, consider having it removed from that workstation. This will help you comply with licensing agreements and can also make an impact on the terms for which you’re negotiating.
- Don’t Rely on Advice from Your Microsoft Rep Alone
In order to negotiate the best possible renewal terms for your business, you’ll need to have extensive knowledge about the ins and outs of Microsoft contracts. As a busy executive or IT professional, you likely don’t have time to dig into every aspect of an EA and evaluate where your company needs to upgrade products or shed licenses to save money. You can certainly ask your Microsoft rep to explain the terms to you, but you can’t expect them to do so without bias.
That’s why many business leaders hire outside experts like Earth & Sky to evaluate their contracts and recommend changes. If you’re facing an upcoming audit, our team can effectively review and optimize your current license agreements. The bottom line is that a second opinion is valuable when your business is getting ready to renew its Microsoft enterprise agreement. With over 70 years of combined IT experience, Earth & Sky has both the knowledge and experience to help you prepare and negotiate your Microsoft contracts. Call us today at (858) 683-8826 or fill out this form for your Risk-Free Consultation!