Software licenses are among the most important parts of running a modern business. If things aren’t going according to plan, then a single error in the process could slow down or even halt your entire business. Keep in mind that Microsoft® has 50 enterprise products and 10 different volume licensing agreements, so things can get a little complicated if you don’t deal with it every day. At Emerset Consulting, one of the services we provide is helping companies prepare for Microsoft licensing agreement negotiations. Here’s a look at how we get the negotiation process started.
Step One: Identify Your Needs
Most of our clients come to us about eight to 10 months before their software agreement renewal date. This is one of the most important parts of the process for us, because Microsoft wants to know what you need and how it’s being used. Our primary goal in this phase is to talk with your team and understand what you have now, what you’re using and where it’s located. We’ll discuss your internal software usage and how many products are in use. Together, we’ll walk through the process, filling out a questionnaire and reviewing the Microsoft licensing guidelines. Our licensing negotiation experts will tell you what information you need and where to find it.
Step Two: Choose a Direction
Your management and negotiations team should discuss upcoming plans within your company. This will greatly impact what your business needs in terms of usage and volume for software in the next three years. Some factors include which versions you plan to use, whether or not you’ll upgrade to newer software releases, and which operating system or systems your employees are using, for example. Consider whether there are any large projects coming up and if there are plans for mergers and acquisitions. The impact of mobility for field workers and bring your own device (BYOD) policy are two factors that can change your company’s needs quickly and dramatically. The bottom line is that you don’t want to overspend or underestimate.
Step Three: Compose a Comprehensive Financial Analysis
Using the information that we have gathered from the first two steps, our Microsoft licensing experts will help you explore the options and implications for your upcoming agreement. We’ll use our experience and knowledge to lay out the
Step Four: Design Requirements for Your Microsoft Licensing Proposal
After careful study and some discussions with your team, we’ll devise a plan that meets your requirements for the present and future. Our previous negotiations have helped us to understand what terms Microsoft is likely to accept and what types of deals they’re more inclined to refuse – or perhaps counter with a higher price. We’ll put together a full document outlining your IT plans going forward. This includes a market overview and what your company’s needs are for products and software licensure. With your approval, we’ll send this proposal to Microsoft.
Step Five: Prepare for Negotiations
Once Microsoft receives and reviews your requirements, a proposal is returned for your consideration. Keep in mind that Microsoft is a major company with plenty of secrets, and it rarely reveals anything before it’s ready. Simply put, no amount of research and planning can absolutely guarantee that our suggestions will be acceptable to Microsoft. There are certain concessions that the software company simply won’t negotiate, so you’ll be spending your time and energy on unrealistic expectations if you broach those areas. It’s better for your company to concentrate on issues such as the duration of your agreement, terms of payment, product mix and pricing issues.
We’ll prepare your team with reviews, analysis and training sessions before your negotiation meeting. We recommend against sending a single individual to do the negotiating. You’ll need a carefully selected team to work in unison. While we typically don’t attend the negotiations with your team, we’ll make sure that you’re ready to put your best foot forward.
Preparing for Microsoft licensing agreements doesn’t have to be a challenge. By planning ahead and knowing what your company’s needs and wants are, you can negotiate an agreement with Microsoft that both parties can accept.