The CSP Licensing Business Model

A few years ago I had the opportunity to start a full LSP (licensing service provider) licensing business from the very beginning of licensing activities and growing the business with a licensing business model. Later on I repeated the process in MSP and VARs especially for those who had the desire to grow their Volume licensing business. And now the change towards Cloud licensing especially with the CSP program has given me the chance again to work on licensing business models transformation, for this reason I thought was relevant to comment on the CSP licensing model concepts that all CSPs should assess.

Adapting to a Cloud revenue business model is not an easy transition and sales teams, business owners and many others are reluctant to change the traditional transactional model to a subscription based model, but obviously signing to the CSP program is already a commitment towards applying the necessary changes on the business model required.

CSPs must be “licensing ready” and should assess the business to successfully plan activities: knowing about licensing is not enough, controlling subscriptions, transitions from volume licensing to subscription licensing, client ROI impact and SAM maturity, between other topics,… all is essential to all CSPs…

Some questions to resolve: has the CSP a volume licensing or hosted licensing business in place? What is the CSP licensing selling strategy? Is the CSP reactive to renewals? How successful it has been to capture net new Cloud clients? Is the CSP in a position to sell Office 365 or Azure Services? Is there sales team members knowledgeable enough to offer Cloud subscription models? Can you transition from SPLA to other cloud licensing? Is the sales team incentive align with the achievement of new monthly recurrent revenue? Has the CSP SAM services at all? Is the CSP SAM service aligned with client expectations or works just as a necessary exercise due to partnership obligations for audits? How many current clients versus net new are required to obtain to keep CSPs revenue expectations?

The end goal of any assessment exercise towards licensing sales business is to create a strategy for sales and operations that can capture clients and operate efficiently to create revenue. Some CSPs plans have not contemplated all risks, for example:

Many CSPs are finding that some sales efforts are futile with clients that transact with Enterprise Agreements via qualified resellers or LSPs (Licensing Solutions Partners), it is necessary to know how to pick the battles and be ready to fight the arguments of licensing agreements, making sure that clients don’t get involved between the subscription margin fight from the different resellers and see the services value as the true differentiator. As it is today between CSPs and LSPs with CSP expectations (all of them) the battle for the Cloud is on…

Assess, plan and get the right licensing trusted partners and distributors. Get the right SAM independent partner (you can always ask me for their names), be familiar with distributors CSPs advantages and get yourself ready to get into the wonderful world of software licensing in the Cloud era.

Let me know if you require more information for your CSP plans.

Licensing the Cloud with Microsoft.

To subscribe to the Cloud directly is easy, is a simple transaction based on consumption, however the co-existence of old traditional Volume licensing, or Service Provider licensing programs with the new Cloud subscriptions is not that easy. In fact to make sure that new benefits for the Cloud enablement like the Software Assurance Mobility Rights are properly used requires attention to the licenses allocated to the servers on Windows Azure, for example. Understanding the real rights and possibilities is another variable to contemplate when measuring compliance.

Hosted providers do not offer much guidance with respect of what their clients can allocate on licensing into the Cloud environments, and is often a conflict of responsibilities when the vendor audits the hosted provider or the end-user client.

In the Microsoft Product Use Rights for example we can observe the limitations of the licenses covered by SA with respect to their Cloud options with the Mobility Rights: (see table below)

Understanding the right coverage of the license is important in order to maintain not only compliance but also to predict Cloud budgets.

Clients with an Azure consumption negotiated on their Enterprise Agreement can use any of the services and increase without difficulty, and as they evolve using the Cloud services will be important to understand the ROI of the existing licenses versus the newly consume and fully subscribed licenses. In a way Cloud has enable transitions of existing licensing investments however at the same time is creating a conflict:

Is the Cloud subscription directly on Microsoft Azure a better option than the SA Mobility Rights?

As prices vary, the Cloud footprint extends and upgrade cycles arrive, the SA renewal will be confronted by the commitment to Azure subscriptions in a way that customers will choose one or the other.

For Microsoft clients using other third-party hosted providers the question is:

Have I allocated the compliant rights of use on the Cloud? and if I consume SPLA, is my hosted provider compliant? Am I compliant? Or am I at risk due to hosted provider error?

I can confidently say that Software Asset Management has become more relevant in the Cloud era.

(SAM Mobility Rights table as per PUR July 2014)

PRODUCT LICENSINGMODEL PRODUCT OR PRODUCT TYPE LICENSE PERMITTED NUMBER OF OSES PERLICENSE/PERMITTED NUMBER OF

CORES PER LICENSE

Server/CAL External Connector Licenses Each External Connector license with active Software Assurance coverage 1 OSE per license
Server/CAL SQL Server Each Server license with active Software Assurance coverage 1 OSE per license
Per-Processor All eligible Products Each Processor license with active Software Assurance coverage 1 OSE with up to 4 virtual processors per license
Per-Core All eligible Products Each Core license with active Software Assurance coverage One virtual core (subject to the Product Use Rights including the requirement of a minimum of 4 cores per OSE)
Management Servers System Center ServerManagement Licenses

(versions prior to System

Center 2012)

Each Server Management license with active Software Assurance coverage 1 Managed OSE per license
Management Servers System Center Server Management Suites Each SMSE or SMSDlicense with active Software Assurance coverage 4 Managed OSEs per License
Management Servers System Center 2012 R2 Standard Each System Center 2012R2 Standard Server Management license with active Software Assurance coverage 2 Managed OSEs per license
Management Servers System Center 2012 R2 Datacenter Each System Center 2012R2 Datacenter Server Management license with active Software Assurance coverage 8 Managed OSEs per license
Management Servers Visual Studio Deployment 2013 Standard Each Visual StudioDeployment 2013

Standard Server

Management license with active Software Assurance coverage

2 Managed OSEs per license
Management Servers Visual Studio Deployment 2013 Datacenter Each Visual StudioDeployment 2013

Datacenter Server Management license with active Software Assurance coverage

8 Managed OSEs per license
Specialty Servers HPC Pack Enterprise Each Server license with active Software Assurance coverage 1 OSE per license

 

The Cloud and the New order of Licensing and Software Asset Management #WPC14

July is an important time for Software Asset Management (SAM) as the Microsoft World Partner Conference (WPC) kicks off with announcements and news. Microsoft licensing is definitely a great influencer to all vendors on compliance rules.

There is expected content on SAM processes according to Microsoft to discuss on this 2014 edition of the conference and one or two expected announcements on Azure and other Microsoft Cloud.

We are arriving to a time of Cloud offerings consolidation. After observing constant changes on office 365 and additions to services offer through Azure it is time to finally elaborate transition plans for licenses to be moved to the Cloud, reconcile with SPLA (Hosted-Service Provider Licensing Agreement) and traditional Volume Licensing investments that have the reign for the last two decades.

As consuming IT is the actual trend and desire, it is expected for the licensing models to quickly offer transitions for compliance towards all Microsoft Cloud products.

The expectation is to finally observe consolidation on subscription models and more governance of SAM dedicated to Cloud offerings.

As the partner ecosystem also evolves to develop Cloud solutions of their own, licensing models like SPLA are getting more and more licensing in production environments. At the same time is not any more about going Cloud but about securing, developing and managing the Cloud. These has made SAM more relevant than ever as Application Management has to respond to the different scenarios that companies use today, a mix of applications in the Cloud with Private/Hybrid and Public Clouds.

The Licensing Guru will update after WPC on findings and relevant information to the readers.

Thank you for following

A note on a great IT Leader: Tiffani Bova @tiffani_bova

Tiffani Bova has always inspired me for change, I find that her direction and to the point keynotes, not sugar-coated and driven to innovation have always produce great change in the IT industry. And to actually understand her influence is as easy as to listen, listen carefully because her ability to portray the trends and take advantages, make changes and defy the “Status Quo” is making a difference. I would say that in the last few years I have observed how accurate she has been to define our roles and opportunities on Cloud, channel, etc.

Every time I listen to her keynotes I am inspired and find vision to drive forward. Like today in the Cloud Summit 2014, she has shown us what 2020 looks like, and I am up for the challenge to take my clients to the technology that will make them thrive today and in the future to create better and more efficient companies.

Truly recommend to follow her @tiffani_bova.

 

Get ready for a Licensing Audit and get the vendor to fund it

Certified companies for SAM services like AMTRA are able to prepare companies and help them to pro-actively report their licensing status to vendors.

In the case of Microsoft, the SAM team partners with clients to get compliance ready in a friendly engagement that distance itself from the traditional audit approach that takes so many IT leaders by surprise.

Some vendors divide the exercise of hunting for compliance issues in two categories:

  • Soft Audit: just requesting general information on existing installations
  • Audit: full analysis and reconciliation of the client using the empowerment of the agreed terms and conditions (that normally no one takes in consideration until the vendor shows up)

However Microsoft has changed the pace of these engagements by allowing clients to proactively report, and experience shows that the “friendly” gathering and reconciliation of the data helps organizations to fix issues and arrive to better agreements when they willingly and proactively approach the vendor, it is called “Baseline”.

For this reason the Baseline SAM services for Microsoft could also be done using a pool of funds to help clients to fulfill these task, plus they also help clients to Assess and deploy SAM Services. Only a few companies are able to provide these services, and as mentioned AMTRA Solutions is one of them, servicing clients globally.

What is left after the exercise is a full understanding of the licensing compliance status. Now these by itself is useful for the vendor however the organizations can have these done as a starting point for a more Dynamic SAM process and assessments to truly avoid any noncompliance issue in the future.

It is key to understand and strategize SAM Baseline services as a way to get the Vendor involved and a SAM partner to help reducing typical compliance and costs risks.

For more information on SAM Baseline let’s discuss: @mslicensing @amtrasolutions

Save time, reduce costs and get compliant with Application Management

We live in an Application driven IT world.  Whether its our Cloud-based phone apps, our computer apps, or the applications in our servers and hosted datacentres, everything is moving towards applications that will improve our productivity.  Technical complexity is increasing rapidly and we are consuming more applications than ever before.

I have come to understand the value of application packaging.  Initially, I thought it was simply creating an automated process of imaging applications to be delivered. However, I have to come to realize that its a lot more than that.  Application packaging:

  •        Allows one to conform to standards despite their edition and version.
  •        Provides the ability to test applications before moving to production.
  •        Delivers the same application, yet tailored to specific needs or departments.
  •        Provides process and characteristic documentation without having to spend hours writing and collecting screen shots.
  •        Enables a licensing person, through the process, to control and manage assets (Software Asset Management (SAM)).

For this reason it is now part of what I envision to provide my clients.  That vision is to deliver a robust strategy that not only takes care of SAM inventory and reconciliation, but also goes to the root and applies application packaging best practices.

Ask me how: @mslicensing, @amtrasolutiuons

“The Guru” joins AMTRA Solutions

AMTRA SOLUTIONS appoints Josef Hans Lara as Director of SAM & CLOUDAMTRALogoFinal_FullColor (1)

“The Licensing & Cloud Guru” new addition to the AMTRA team.

Calgary, AB, March 7, 2014– Amtra Solutions appoints Josef Hans Lara as Director of SAM & Cloud. Josef, also known for his online presence as the “Licensing & Cloud Guru” through his publications, speaking engagements and social media presence will direct the Amtra SAM efforts bringing an innovative way to offer AMTRA clients the best of Software Asset Management and Cloud transformation.

Josef depth of experience started in Europe leading the marketing and sales efforts on hardware and software licensing channel and solution sales in Europe. Continued building his career in North America becoming a builder of award winning Large Account Resellers, SAM consulting services and an evangelist for Cloud Computing.

Josef vision on SAM goes beyond the standards and provides synergies between application management, IT infrastructure transitions like Cloud computing, and a full understanding of compliance for multiple software vendors. Josef’s work has given him presence and reputation in the IT industry as a leader, helping multiple industry and public sector organizations across Canada, USA and Europe to achieve compliance and embrace models to adopt new technologies, truly approaching Business Intelligence to IT SAM compliance models.

Currently is a member of the Ingram Micro Services Advisory Council North America, IAMCP Canada National Executive, SRC Technology Group BC, and serves as a volunteer economic development commissioner in Maple Ridge, BC.

About AMTRA

AMTRA Solutions is a North American leader on Application Management and IT Innovation. Our consultants are highly seasoned application packagers, developers and deployment & operations experts – each with several years of experience. They have all worked within strict and demanding environments such as Petrochemicals, Energy, Banking, Finance and the Pharmaceutical industries. We understands the importance of adherence to standards and industry regulations

AMTRA is the North American distributor of all ATEA software and services. Products include Application Manager, JumpStart, AppMarket and Service Market. ATEA is known for their high-end, high capacity client management and application packaging factory which is the largest of its kind in Europe.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact 1-855-326-0533.

Calling for a change on OEM OS licensing… because I like other devices.

Windows 8 (8.1) is a single experience for all devices. It works for some people, not really for me, I like different experiences in life. Despite my personal taste on OS use, the premise behind Microsoft’s OS campaign is that one single OS can deliver the same experience on a phone, pc or tablet.

Microsoft has done a very good job at owning the OS market for many years on the pc side. Today’s evolution of devices claims a more open market. We have “phablets”, tablets and phones doing more tasks we used to do on a pc than ever before. We chose devices qualifying them for more than we used to… the graphics, size, entertainment purposes beyond work, cameras, level of connectivity etc…

As we evolve on our use of multiple devices I imagine that having a “single experience” across all devices must be a very good premise to capture market as Microsoft marketing strategy, however going back to basics, like many years ago, we should get the device we like because of the functionality we seek.

In some cases Android devices have the perfect attributes for certain jobs, still for work purposes I would prefer to combine a Windows OS on the same device as my Android OS. Taking virtualization to the device even the mobile device and tablet will help us to use them in different scenarios in life.

As the revenue war is driven more towards Office 365 these days. Productivity tools should be available on any OS. And I know that what I am asking here is hard.., but it will be so much interesting, flexible, and user-friendly if we could obtain the OS separate from the device, or add to it a partition.

I heard rumors that this is coming to the mobile world. I wonder how OEM OS licensing rights will change to enable a new reality… Diversity.

 

The Social Media tools every CIO should have

Do you have an “outlook” of your social media or can you quickly run effective Social Media campaigns.

Social Media is gaining momentum and more businesses are using it to market themselves to a broader audience. In a small business it may mean the difference between being found on a search engine or not. For large corporations is as well brand recognition. Truly Social Media has become more than just awareness, it has become another way we communicate, research and rely on information to make decisions.

We are changing habits, we are more public with our ideas and we rely more on popular reviews to make decisions. As Social Media evolves into being an essential part of our working lives I have observed two solutions that are part of the what in my opinion every business owner, or in the case of Enterprise, every CIO should have in their toolkit.

HootSuite

Probably HootSuite does not need introduction. In simple words I refer to HootSuite as the “Outlook” you need for all your social media activities. Not only to effectively send messages across your media, as well to control your brand interaction, employee use of social media and effectively transform a twit into a business opportunity. In a way I think of HootSuite like Microsoft presented Outlook into the market… finally a place to see all your communications (social in this case) and effectively control and send your own. New development of KPIs information brings a great depth of understanding where is your brand in the online world.

3TierLogic

What amazes me from 3tierlogoic is the ability to give any business the great opportunity to use Social Media for localized marketing campaigns, with the ability to know about customers, and what is “really” popular…If you can transform your best customers into your best advocates, you have an incredible opportunity to grow your business. 3tierlogic is bringing world-class marketing, and brand programs into every business with their platform. As the company evolves the offerings the value of its data is truly a great example of what Business Intelligence is all about.

As I said… time to rethink IT services, adding the relevant tools for today’s technology needs.

EA transition to Office 365… time to discuss

There are two ways to move your Enterprise Agreement (EA) to the Office 365 subscription

Obviously is an important topic these days as it is difficult to understand how you will be able to continue your EA investment and control costs during your way to the Cloud.

Every Office 365 plan as an equivalent on the CAL side to your EA, if your EA includes CALs. If you transition to an equivalent during the term then there is no increase of cost. However if you transition to an Office 365 option that includes more than your current EA you will incur into additional costs however highly discounted.

So basically there are two options for you

  • Move to Office 365 on equivalent subscription and continue annual payments until renewal
  • Increase licensing at a discounted price

True licensing experts could help you on the transition (ask me how @mslicensing or email me)

it is important to evaluate what can go Office 365 and which licenses will have to remain on the EA, specially if you create a hybrid model on your infrastructure.

All is possible…