Handled internally, software licensing becomes a constant headache for the IT department: contracts scattered amongst various managers’ desktops and filing cabinets, lapses in upgrades and vital security patches, increased likelihood of failing an audit…the list is endless.
Handled externally with the right Microsoft licensing reseller, all of these software licensing issues should be concerns of the past. Before signing on the dotted line — or, preferably, during the discovery phase —, be sure the Microsoft licensing reseller you’re considering offers these must-haves.
1. Microsoft-authorised software licensing reseller status. There are both practical and compliance reasons this is a top point to consider. Software licensing can involve purchasing a large volume of Microsoft licensing for servers, end-users and IT employees, along with meeting compliance and audit guidelines. Having an experienced and accredited Microsoft licensing reseller managing your software licensing investment will minimise your business risk. Having one reseller managing all of your Microsoft licencing and expirations will streamline an incredibly cumbersome manual software licensing process and ensure you remain compliant throughout the agreement term.
2. Demonstrable cost savings and value. Although resellers may share price sheets that show substantial discounts by purchasing Microsoft licensing through them rather than if you just purchased software licensing per machine, also known as an OEM license, their surcharges may render the discounts a moot point. Conduct the analysis to determine whether the reseller will produce true ROI, not just in price savings but in ongoing support. Ask for the complete quote, including any potential fees and what the costs are for value-added services you might want to use, such as desktop support and deployment.
3. A local presence. To ensure your organisation is working with a Microsoft licensing reseller that can help with in-person evaluation of software licensing needs, select a provider with an established local office. This local accessibility adds convenience and comfort that a large Microsoft licensing reseller with distant offices and faceless consultants can’t provide. Getting personalised service from Microsoft licensing expert near you will help you feel like you’re making the best software licensing decisions for your specific business needs.
4. Knowledge of where Microsoft licensing applies — and what approach maximises value. Microsoft licensing requirements vary by seat, server, processor and a host of other possibilities — and they often change with every new release. For example, Windows Server was once licensed according to the number of servers needed. But Windows Server 2012 is now licensed per physical processor, including a Client Access License CAL (Client Access License) that applies to each user or device accessing the server. Additionally, one license applies to two processors. Your reseller must be able to evaluate the best Microsoft licensing setup to allow for growth while reigning in expenses.
5. Value-added desktop services. Come April 8, 2014, Microsoft will officially shut down Windows XP and Office 2003 support. If your organisation relies on this operating system, finding a reseller that can assist in each step of your upgrade to Windows 8 (or to Windows 7, then to Windows 8) will protect business operations and ensure stable continuity. A true valued-added software licensing reseller will offer desktop deployment and support, hardware procurement and software asset management in addition to your standard Microsoft licensing needs to guide you to your next OS.
Even if software licensing is just one part of your business, it’s a big part. Choosing the right Microsoft licensing reseller can transform licensing from a daily headache into a long-term strategic investment that drives business value.