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.

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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.

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.

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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

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.

 

Cleaning the house – Microsoft LSP (LAR) uncertain future

In different geographies Microsoft has asked LSP (Licensing Solution Providers) previously known as LAR (Large Account Resellers), to answer RFPs to maintain their status to transact Enterprise Agreements, and other higher licensing agreement transactions.

The idea behind is to recognize those partners that have done investments on Services offerings that can provide value to Microsoft customers beyond the transaction. Passing the test will mean the continuity of operations as LSP, failing means “out”, at least is what I get from my conversations with LSP friends across the globe facing this situation or from the ones that faced it recently.

I wanted to share some of the comments from this Microsoft partners:

  • Revenue expectations pushed for volumes of sales beyond any services: The targets are aggressive, nothing new, but drive the behaviour of selling and upselling instead of consulting and servicing
  • Cloud open to other reseller types is very competitive: VARs and others can help clients subscribe and get fees even when there is an LSP transacting an agreement. This also means that VARs better prepare for professional services offerings can be very competitive and if their alliance is with a competitor LSP then the relation with the customer may be at risk
  • Global LSPs seem to be more attractive to Microsoft than national LSPs: selling agreements across borders is becoming a common practice especially when savings on price lists are so different between countries.
  • Hardware Surface revenue target attempts are “distracting”: Some folks are wondering what kind of partner Microsoft has truly in mind in the new shift to a Device+SaaS company model.
  • Fees cuts patterns, cadence and CRM type registration programs: For many years LSPs did not have requests to register deals and obtain fees from entering opportunities and properly track them on Microsoft CRM systems. Also LSPs have experience reduced fees for the same revenue as the partner programs have changed.

The common topic I heard is that the future of LSP as it is today is uncertain, if the new Microsoft RFPs and expectations changes will look for global LSPs then there was not much need for IT services afterall, and the Cloud has broken the boundaries between LSPs and the rest of partners in order to fulfill licensing needs specially in the shift to subscription licenses.

Interesting times!!!… for the LSP community

 

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

Office Pro Plus for office 365 does not allow you to use Volume License Keys

Office Pro Plus for office 365 does not allow you to use Volume License Keys

Office Pro Plus for office 365 does not allow you to use Volume License Keys

Office Pro Plus for office 365 does not allow you to use Volume License Keys

Office 365 offers 5 installations of Office Professional plus on the E3 and E4 options.

According to Office 365 site you cannot deploy a volume license image using a KMS or MAK key in the same device, because the Volume License copy cannot co-exist:

“Office Professional Plus for Office 365 cannot be used on the same computer as a volume licensed version of Office 2010. To verify that the user has Office Professional Plus for Office 365, open an Office application, click File and then click Help. Under the version information, you should see the text ““Part of Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010 Subscription” displayed. If the version information does not contain the word Subscription, you must install Office Professional Plus for Office 365.”

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg702620

This means that while connectivity from on premise to the Cloud (Volume Licensing) can exist to Office 365, to enable the use of Volume License Keys KMS for multiple deployments at the same time, it cannot happen from the Cloud service to the on premise. It will not work.

This supposes a problem for those buying Office 365 instead of volume licensing and will have to go through each user account to deploy Office Pro Plus for Office 365 media and activate online instead of using one single order to deploy all images.

The reason may be because the Product Use rights changes the concept from device to user on the use of Office:

INSTALLATION AND USE RIGHTS

Each user to whom you assign an User SL may install and use one copy of the software per device on up to five devices at a time”

I imagine Microsoft is trying to still protect the advantages of Volume Licensing to sell more Office licenses besides provisioning them with Office 365. However it should change in order to make sure Office 365 is ready for the Enterprise world, if not this restriction of deployment looks more like a consumer product or retail.

So, if you own Office 365 for Software Assurance and you own Office Pro plus, deploy with your VLK not with Office 365 subscription if you need to dedicate your time to better things than going through all the devices you manage; if you are not license that way…patience.

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