How to Choose a Microsoft Open License

By Lauren Fritsky

Open licensing agreements are geared toward small to midsized businesses, including commercial, health, government and education organisations, with at least five desktops. Maximising the benefits of this type of license involves knowing how you want to manage costs and how flexible you need the licensing terms to be.

Decide your ideal payment model

If you want to get your license payments out of the way, the traditional Open Licence agreement lets you pay for all your licenses up front in one lump sum. You don’t have to worry about repaying until the next two-year term begins again. If this isn’t the best payment situation for your business, you could choose the Open Value agreement, which lets you make three annual payments instead of paying everything upfront. For businesses needing to tightly control their spending, a more flexible option is the Open Value Subscription. This agreement requires the least upfront payment and allows businesses to add or subtract costs depending on how many desktops they add or remove in a given year.

Consider your ties to the software

Organisations that want Software Assurance, which offers upgrades and training support, can opt for the Open Value orOpen Value Subscription agreement. If you want your entire company to use the same software, choose the Open Value Companywide agreement. This plan rewards you for standardising your desktop fleet by offering price protection and discounts. The Open Value Subscription is essentially the most non-committal of these options, as it doesn’t require the organisation to actually purchase the licenses, but offers the ability to run the software throughout the business for the duration of the agreement term.

Determine if you need scalability

If you don’t know how many desktop licenses you’re going to need in the years to come, the Open Value Subscription allows you to scale the number of licenses as the number of seats goes up or down. Your pricing is adjusted to reflect how many licenses you need once your annual payment is due. This means you can add more desktops for a short-term basis – for contract workers, for instance – if you need to without incurring extra cost, as long as the total number of users remains the same by the time your next payment is due.

Microsoft Open License Agreements Explained

By Lauren Fritsky

Software licensing is complicated. The difference between Microsoft volume licenses can be dictated by anything from having a single extra seat at your organisation to having a crop of employees working remotely.

For instance, the Enterprise Agreement is for organisations with 250 seats or more and offers attractive Microsoft volume licensing pricing while the Open license agreementtypically targets enterprises with between five and 250 seats that want more flexibility in the number of PCs they must license. Both can help your enterprise control costs while standardising software across all PCs to ensure continued compliance and include flexible pricing options plus Software Assurance.

Enterprises can obtain three different types of agreements through the Open license programme. The non–company-wide option is for enterprises that need to license servers or a limited number of client machines; the company-wide Open license agreement offers a single platform option for rights to the latest Microsoft-licensed products, enabling enterprises to customise desktops with various software components.

For enterprises looking for increased flexibility in their licensing agreement, the Open Value Subscription allows the ability to scale the number of licenses they need as their number of seats goes up or down. You pay a lower fixed price for each of your organisation’s machines as long as you continue to use the software. And you can subtract or add licenses as your organisation’s business needs change. This licensing agreement also permits company-wide licensed products to be added to new client PCs at no additional cost for the year and provides extra cost savings in year one if you have current or older versions of licensed products running.

If you’re unsure of which volume license agreement is best for your enterprise, let Datacom help. We have licensing experts on staff who possess deep expertise in Microsoft volume licensing and can assist in designing a cost-effective agreement while providing value add in the form of desktop support.

Software Licensing Mistakes to Avoid

By Tracy Toth

Software licensing is a core competency for any business, but especially for enterprise organisations that rely on widespread software deployments to achieve targeted business objectives.

Poorly managed software licenses result in real, yet unnecessary, costs to the enterprise. To derive maximum value from your organisation’s licensed software assets, including Microsoft volume licensing, you will need to leverage strategic processes and avoid several common mistakes associated with licensed software assets in enterprise organisations.

  • Cost Inefficiency. Too often, a lack of planning causes organisations to purchase software licenses in a piecemeal fashion and incur cost inefficiencies, simply because they lacked the foresight to take advantage of volume licensing and other opportunities.
  • Inadequate Documentation. All software and related assets (including licenses) need to be meticulously documented, creating highly accessible audit trails for vendor requests and other purposes. In complex organisations, license documentation also plays a key role in planning for the retirement of software assets.
  • No Tracking. The best software licensing programmes feature strong tracking tools, giving the organisation granular visibility into renewal dates and license details. This information is vital in helping the organisation become more strategic in its approach to Enterprise Agreement renewals and other license-related activities.
  • Poor Monitoring. Software licensing is a fluid business area since licensing rules and product offerings routinely change to keep pace with vendor policies and the evolution of the enterprise software marketplace. This underscores the need for active monitoring programmes that enable the organisation to stay abreast of new licensing developments.
  • No SAM Plan. The worst mistake enterprises can make is to neglect the creation of a Software Asset Management (SAM) plan. When it comes to software licensing, strategy and planning are your friends — and nearly always result in greater returns on your software license investments.

Datacom consultants specialise in helping enterprises conduct comprehensive software asset management and avoid the pitfalls associated with software licensing initiatives, including the negotiation and deployment of Microsoft volume licensing.

Organisations that leverage third-party software licensing and deployment consultants tend to experience lower overall costs and more highly-optimised software environments than companies that rely exclusively on internal IT resources.

Software Asset Management Roles and Responsibilities

By Tracy Toth

Software Asset Management (SAM) optimises the value of Microsoft volume licensing and other software deployments in complex, enterprise-level organisations.

Yet many SAM plans fall short of delivering desired outcomes because internal stakeholders focus exclusively on the technology and fail to discern the roles and responsibilities associated with a robust SAM strategy.

In general, SAM roles and responsibilities can be broken down into two broad categories: (1) The role of the SAM owner, and (2) Local roles and responsibilities.

The SAM owner, or the individual(s) responsible for the governance of software and related assets across the enterprise, plays a pivotal role in the development of the organisation’s SAM plan and the deployment of the resources that will be necessary to ensure its execution.

As high-level stakeholders, SAM owners shoulder the final responsibility for the MS volume licensing compliance, the achievement of targeted software asset management outcomes and seamless SAM coverage across the enterprise.

Local SAM owners and stakeholders, on the other hand, play a more granular role in the software management process. Typically, these individuals are responsible for documenting software assets and assigning management activities to specific individuals in the organisation.

In most enterprises, local SAM stakeholders are also responsible for the implementation of SAM policies and procedures, the management of vendors, contracts and internal customer relationships, MS licensing needs assessments, and other essential software management functions.

In our experience at Datacom, effective software asset management boils down to planning and strategy. By carefully delineating SAM roles and responsibilities, and communicating them clearly across the enterprise, you can lay the foundation for optimised software deployments and SAM success in your organisation.

How Software Asset Management Gives Companies a Competitive Edge

By Tracy Toth

Software is a key competitive element in complex, enterprise organisations. Highly optimised software assets equip the enterprise with the resources and efficiencies it needs to compete in the global marketplace, while poorly managed software programmes limit the organisation’s ability to adapt to changing conditions and competitive pressures.

Software asset management (SAM) methodologies inevitably enhance the enterprise’s ability to compete by providing information that is critical for timely decision-making. Leveraging a strong SAM programme,Microsoft volume licensing and related software decisions can be made more rapidly and with better information than the competition, allowing the organisation to exploit opportunities in the marketplace.

SAM also allows enterprise organisations to achieve a scalable approach to MS software deployments. Since software is closely matched to the enterprise’s actual business needs, deployments are more efficient — but increased software capacity and functionality can be quickly achieved should the enterprise find itself poised for rapid growth or expansion.

In enterprise-level organisations, mergers and acquisitions are part of a normal growth process. But in many cases, mergers frustrate the organisation’s ability to compete in the short-term due to IT and software challenges. Software asset management enhances the organisation’s ability to compete by targeting software-related challenges and helping the organisation make better use of its existing software assets.

Finally, organisations that leverage SAM methodologies and technologies are better able to compete because personnel are focused on business activities. Rather than wasting their time on Microsoft licensing issues or IT snafus, workers can dedicate their time to core competencies and functions that generate additional revenue for the organisation.

How Do You Maximise Enterprise Licensing Fees? Get Started with Software Asset Management

By Tracy Toth

Many organisations don’t fully appreciate the fact that software licenses are business assets that require effective management strategies like any other business asset.

Software asset management (SAM), as it’s known in the enterprise IT world, is the management, control and protection of software-based assets — and it is essential for organisations that want to get a better handle on their software assets.

According to current estimates, software licensing and maintenance expenses comprise more than 30% of enterprise IT budgets (on average). With that kind of investment at stake, the implementation of a strong SAM programme should be a top IT priority at every Australian corporation, government entity and educational institution.

Implementing a SAM programme typically makes organisations more productive and can lead to enhanced profitability. For example, a review of software assets might lead to the identification of significant cost-saving opportunities via Microsoft volume licenses. Alternatively, it might lead to the discovery of software assets that have been paid for but have never been deployed.

In addition to laying the groundwork for an efficient software licensing renewal process, a software asset management project helps organisations optimise their existing software investments, allowing the enterprise to accomplish more with the assets that are already in its arsenal.

Unfortunately, despite the potential benefits of software asset management, it’s easy to start down the SAM path and get sub-optimal results. In our experience working as software asset management consultants, we find that the best outcomes occur when SAM policies are crafted with executive-level backing and tailored to achieve buy-in from across the organisation.

How Software Asset Management Reduces Enterprise Risk

By Tracy Toth


Software asset management (SAM) is a critical business activity for enterprise organisations. The inadequate or unsuccessful management of software licenses and other software-based assets can have a crippling effect on the enterprise, resulting in operational rigidity, inefficiencies and impaired returns on software investments.

If it’s done well, SAM also mitigates many risks typically associated with enterprise-level software deployments, including these four enterprise IT software risks:

  • IT service interruption risk – Since SAM leverages a coordinated, strategic approach to software, it is less likely that the enterprise will experience IT service disruptions that can occur when software is utilised in a random or haphazard fashion.
  • Risk of deterioration in the quality of IT services – Interruptions are one thing, but it can be equally or even more damaging if software resources are available but there are quality issues. With a properly executed SAM plan in place, software tends to do what it’s supposed to do — facilitating business operations and never putting organisational quality at risk.
  • Legal and regulatory exposure – In many enterprises, the labor-intensive demands of legal and regulatory compliance can jeopardise the integrity of the organisation’s software licensing programme. A robust SAM agenda, on the other hand, promotes full compliance and organisational efficiency by leveraging technology to automate the enterprise’s licensing environment.
  • Risk of damage to public image – Perhaps the most important way that software asset management reduces enterprise risk is by protecting the organisation’s most valuable asset: brand reputation. When software and IT assets function poorly or fail to comply with regulatory requirements, there is a very real risk that the brand will sustain a blow to its public image — an outcome that can be easily avoided by prioritising a software asset management programme across the enterprise.

In addition to addressing these critical risks, SAM lowers the financial risks related to the acquisition and licensing of enterprise solutions. By matching licenses and software deployments to the organisation’s precise needs, SAM allows the enterprise to avoid the risk of overbuying licenses or purchasing software that won’t be adopted across the enterprise.

For organisations that are positioned to leverage Microsoft volume licensing, enterprise risk may be further reduced by maximising the value of software deployments through access to Microsoft or third-party desktop support/technical support.