Volume Licensing agreements are a cost-effective and flexible way to acquire the latest Microsoft products and services for emerging IT options and changing workforce requirements, help standardize IT, and simplify license management. Wherever possible Microsoft works to continue to drive additional value into volume licensing programs as well as simplify terms and conditions which govern them.
For instance, we have updated the Enterprise Agreement so customers can add enterprise subscription agreements into a single company agreement, and we’ve also made progress simplifying the language of the Product Use Rights document. Still, we know licensing is a multifaceted and sometimes nuanced discipline which ideally needs a continual refresh of knowledge by those who procure, maintain, and monitor software license use and compliance. This raises the question: who should be on your volume licensing dream team?
Consider this a primer to help select the best-qualified advisory guide, including Large Account Resellers (LAR)s who’ve met the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) competencies, Software Asset Management (SAM) professionals, and others. Don’t overlook opportunities to develop your own team, too, through coursework and camps.
- Large Account Resellers (LARs): are authorized to sell licenses to accounts through the VL program, and usually work with customers who have 250+ seats or desktops. As you consider your LAR, look for:
- Members of the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) who meet the Gold Volume Licensing Competency Requirements and are equipped to deliver structured customer engagements through the three-year life of the Enterprise Agreement.
- Partners whose organization employs a minimum number of employees who have been tested on the EA Life Cycle Process for years one, two and three.
- Curious? Check the Volume Licensing How to Buy page to find an authorized reseller in your region.
- Value-Added Resellers (VARs): are authorized to sell licenses to accounts through the VL programs, and usually work with small- and medium-sized businesses with fewer than 250 seats or desktops. What to look for in a VAR:
- Just like LARs, VARs are members of the MPN who meet the Gold Volume Licensing Competency Requirements are an excellent source for software and expertise.
- To find a VAR in your area, check out Microsoft Pinpoint, which help you find resellers for the applications and services you need most.
- Experience with SAM policies, processes and proven experience with SAM assessments.
- Software Asset Management (SAM) Partners: can help customers implement an asset management plan and the right tools to get and stay on track. SAM partners are certified for knowledge and understanding of SAM solutions and best practices. They can help inventory software, track licenses, review policies and procedures around software procurement and deployment –even shoring up negotiating power to maximize investment through procurement. Look for:
- A Microsoft Partner that has earned the Silver or Gold level of the SAM Competency.
- Evidence of core competency in understanding complex software licensing agreements and legal ramifications, as well as pragmatic understanding of licensing deployment in today’s complex IT environments.
- A partner with an IT background to understand and explain the pros and cons of different SAM tools.
- And certainly – references who were satisfied and would use the partner again.
- Curious? Find a partner by searching the SAM Partner listings in Microsoft Pinpoint.
- Licensing Consultants: can bring to bear a wealth of experience in actual management of product and program licensing, as well as tips and assistance negotiating licensing agreements, and experience and insight into the challenges of a particular licensing model, product licensing and/or deployment scenario. Keep in mind:
- Many licensing advisors have previously worked with a vendor in some capacity. While that offers specialized insight, it is essential to have objectively verifiable competencies and the ability to understand the complexity of IT environments and licensing deployment in order to support your roadmap planning and deployment.
- You can find partners who have excelled in providing software licensing and software asset management solutions for customers, including companies like SoftwareONE Brazil — recognized as Microsoft’s most recent Volume Licensing Partner of the Year — at the annual Worldwide Partner Conference.
- Customer Education: it never hurts to make sure your team has the latest information needed to buy and manage licensing. We wholeheartedly encourage customers to get in the driver’s seat when it comes to managing licensing. Our intention is to empower customers through knowledge to have rich conversations regarding licensing so that their business objectives are met while acquiring the latest technology through Microsoft Volume Licensing programs.
A number of options exist to get your team smart on licensing:
- Microsoft Licensing Bootcamps – commonly offered by a Microsoft partner, LAR, SAM consultant and some industry analyst firms. Make sure the provider has a broad team of well-informed experts who know what, where, when and how licensing works, as well as providing negotiation tips. Ideally, the provider will have a relationship with Microsoft, insight into licensing guidance in specific scenarios, and an understanding of unique applications of licensing in a variety of scenarios.
- Microsoft Training and Accreditation – offered by Microsoft for IT and procurement professionals, these courses cover fundamentals, licensing for the private cloud, and licensing for specific products such as Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8. Testing validates an individual’s knowledge.
- Get Licensing Ready – GLR is our Licensing readiness curriculum, providing a clear structured journey and the required knowledge to achieve Licensing MCP Certification.
- One last tip is to look through some of the best practices being employed by other companies. A great resource to see details is through the Microsoft Customer Case Study site at www.microsoft.com/casestudies or on the licensing website – for example here’s study on Steria (video) and (document).
What do you look for in a trusted advisor? What questions do you have for Microsoft Volume Licensing? Embed your questions below or reach out to @Msft_VL on Twitter with your thoughts.