Why Google may win the Cloud battle in the Enterprise

Google-Apps-vs.-Office-365-change-1024x372 Since the Cloud offering of Office 365 the inconsistency of licensing purchase methods is increasing. Enterprise clients have extensive agreements with Microsoft and have maintained them for decades, however the subscription licensing has been obtained in a very confusing and additive way instead of substituting the volume licensing agreements.

First it was the Cloud addition and “bridge” licenses within the same document contracts that increased the cost, not equal or save costs to customers.

Flexibility offered by the Cloud subscription model was compromised because these old agreements had to be maintained. Microsoft could have adopted a better transition just by allowing flexibility in the licenses within the agreements when clients deployed Cloud services, it could have provided an incentive to Microsoft clients not only to license but to deploy the Cloud technologies. Instead Microsoft added costs, and pushed clients to move to the cloud within a difficult transition that will eventually fulfill the promise of being flexible.

Currently the increase to 500 users to have a large agreement, the introduction of the MPSA agreement, the discontinuation of enrolments that were sold as ultimate solutions in the last 3 to 4 years have become not only a product licensing complexity but also a management chaos for organizations in the enterprise with multiple offices, affiliates and moving numbers of workforce.

Google has offer consistency as a cloud subscription model for working tools, and has allow other vendors interacting with Google Apps for work. It is in a collaborative way that Google and other vendor partners can offer security, data jurisdiction, access to robust data servers and integration with multiple ERP and CRM systems. Google has understood of the opportunity to gain market share in the Enterprise and has started offering new interesting approaches.

The dichotomy I see is the following: Microsoft offers an All-in approach to technology buyers through complex agreements while Google offers “buy what you like” with Google and “friends” subscription models, independent to each other, including Microsoft products and Azure services.

To manage compliance and mitigate risk is better for enterprise organizations to pay for what they truly use, measure its performance and use and adapt budgets accordingly.

I am observing companies deciding on their Cloud services consumption based on flexibility and less management burden on compliance risk. The Cloud is standardizing security, integration, multiple levels of vendor to vendor development and common market approaches… it will be difficult to justify complex licensing contracts the more collaborative are the services offered in the Cloud.

Microsoft could invite more vendors to sell collaboratively on flexible plans, otherwise Google may win the presence in the Enterprise.

To know more :

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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.

The Benefits of Voluntary SAM & Licensing Reporting

First of all, it has been an interesting journey during my SAM career to get to write this post…because I have spent so much time helping companies and organizations “clean up the house” and get compliant, manage their applications and protecting them in the way of being always ready for software audits. But like the best things in life the journey does not have an end and is the ride that makes it great.

In the SAM World the ultimate efficiency is to manage applications from the deployment of images to usage control with compliance in between. It is precisely on this SAM ultimate efficiency that allow us to be more proactive in order to not only be ready for software audits but also to advance the reporting to a vendor before reaches to audit… I know, I know, sounds sacrilegious.

Let us put together this scenario: one organization uses a SAM governance management for all applications, policies and procedures are well-defined, smooth and there is compliance control. To “cleaning up the house” is easy and give it a year to achieve the optimal position. It is now a matter of maintaining, adapting and advising. It is then that risks are fully controlled towards software audits. And the services are rendered by a certified and recognized independent SAM consulting firm, not by a reseller. Imagine then that the organization reports voluntarily their compliance that includes deployment information.

Benefits:

  • Vendor does not have to list the organization on the black list
  • The organization tracks reports delivered to provide “good faith” to auditors and avoid their time-consuming engagements
  • The organization is motivated and keeps SAM governance live, active and constant maintaining compliance to optimal levels
  • Vendors provide funding for voluntary reporting, services by the SAM consultant may be partially covered if not paid in full.
  • SAM consultants can focus on the upcoming projects, working with IT architects and other to prepare for changes and ensure healthy delivery and compliance as per the established road map.

What we need is an alignment between the vendors, the SAM consultants and the customers. It has to be driven by the Vendors primarily, creating clear programs of audit protection by voluntarily reporting, enabling independent SAM consultants to provide a level of trust and optimal reporting acceptance. And this is out of the scope of the True Ups and Renewal typical reporting,,, Cloud subscriptions actually fit well on this model as usage can be controlled by the access to the applications from the vendor, but more than ever, the reality of Hybrid Cloud could benefit this approach tremendously, increasing the trust between all parties involved.

Just a thought…

The New Order of Software Asset Management (SAM) in the Cloud era.

The New Order

Microsoft is definitely the great influencer of Software licensing; when Microsoft develops and promotes new rules may other vendors follow. During this last World Partner Conference, that just happened in Washington DC, I observed the influence of Cloud now directly affecting the Software Asset management (SAM) approach.

Cloud and SAM

Not long ago I was questioned by other SAM peers on my approach towards Cloud and SAM, the interaction of the old licensing models affected by the new subscription models seemed for some the end of the need of the licensing advisors, however I always thought it was only an adaptation of the SAM knowledge towards new exciting models to compliantly license software.

Microsoft is going all or nothing to the Microsoft Cloud offerings, I am glad that my guess has been right for so long with respect of being aware on how to measure, what to investigate, and how to determine the right Cloud licensing solution, because now SAM has to fulfill the qualification to move the right IT budgets towards Cloud in order to fulfill the great demand and transformation that Cloud is making in organizations everywhere. SAM has now a special role in regards to Cloud, it has to monitor the usage, contemplate the rules and repurpose licenses for an optimal transition.

SAM and Services

Some SAM professionals identify their task as auditors as the more relevant with respect to the services thy offer. However I disagree, in fact SAM has to be hand in hand with technical, and business assessments to actually not only portray a licensing position but to guide any organization to transformation. The new era of SAM services has to require a true alignment between business goals, technical requirements and licensing.

 

SAM 2.0

SAM is now critical in order to govern software and identify the possibilities of Cloud computing, outsourcing databases, access to BI integrated products, assessing security tools and allowing a new perspective of IT expenditure that walk with business objectives. The New Order of SAM services will create once again a differentiation between those that will be stuck in the old reseller ways, just contemplating the exercise of an audit without any other variable added, and those that understand the new realities and needs of IT on today’s market.

 

IT is truly a great moment for SAM services that can play a significant role on the era of Cloud.

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…

 

Office for Home & Student cannot be used in a Business

Office for Home cannot be used in a Business
the Terms and Conditions are clear, and with the upcoming release of Office 13 that will surely have a free upgrade path buying a PC in the next month or so some businesses may delay pc purchase
Volume Licensing with Software Assurance will grant the upgrade right for businesses.
I recommend a quick read to the following blog

 

Home and Business edition has no limit of users but cannot enjoy Volume Licensing rights for imaging for example.

Be careful with what you buy
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/mssmallbiz/archive/2008/12/01/9160762.aspx

Windows 8 Release, High Expectations, Not Vista.

Windows 8 on the big screen!

Windows 8 Release, High expectations, not Vista

Twitter users can be deceiving, is a global conversation anyways so you get every kind of opinion and that is the beauty of it.

Now, if we are rational about Windows 8 release what kind of things we can expect from Microsoft windows 8 release?

  • That is not Vista: so there will be no push for getting out of Windows 7 as soon as possible, like Vista tried with XP
  • That is multi device, built for the new OS demand, tablet/phone/pc
  • That is made to gain the hearts and minds of consumers more than IT professionals: because the home use is dictating and will dictate IT needs in organizations with the millennial generation

So with this things in mind better or worse than Android or iOS one things is certain, windows 8 brings the modernization of Microsoft to copy best practices from competitors such as Apple and the ipad device, as Microsoft is releasing their first tablet the “Surface”.

Where the power relies is on the integration of applications that are made for windows by Microsoft itself. It is the great integration of applications that will make windows8 successful towards others, and it will gain momentum in the corporate world first.

Yes the tile format offers a different approach to the user and may be likeable or not, I have no doubt it will be criticize however I think that is for Microsoft a step in the right direction

I would like to notice that the license is available in the usual channels and also in the Intune subscription, this interesting move makes me wonder how “device free” this is becoming, is a shift on licensing mentality that I welcome as will bring more possibilities to the market