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


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.


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.


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.

Office 365 Midsize Business, issues

Imagine that you want to buy some midsize business (M) O365 licenses and combine them with your field workers Kiosk licenses. Or even some E3 for your executives


M license cannot be combined for the same domain customer with any other

Basically if you categorize yourself in the mid size business sku that is all you can subscribe

So before you take the decision maybe you want to analyze a combination of Kiosk, E3 (as E2 was killed recently) and other subscriptions

This is a blow against distribution too as M license is the only one offered through the channel that allows MSP to mark it up.., Microsoft should change this and remove it from the long list of punches to the MSP sector.


Allow Kiosk licenses to be purchased by other non enterprise clients.

To protect a specific medium market against all combinations does not seem like a good licensing strategy. Nor even a good sales strategy…

And another thing, Microsoft please stop changing subscription plans, keep them for a year to see what happens!..,just my opinion.

to understand more about O365 contact me @mslicensing

Types of Software Licensing professionals

Types of Software Licensing professionals

In a non regulated profession, there are a mix of individuals that claim to be professionals and they differ from each other.

Actually, diversity is fun, however in order to discern the real value on services is important to understand the right individual for the right job.

For Software licensing there are  those individuals that have a different view of what the definition of software licensing professional is, I will try to show some examples:

  • The Vendor type: working for a single software producer is very knowledgeable on contracts and compliance for a single type of strategy. Great to deal with if you happen to work with this particular vendor. Maybe not the best option for a broader look at strategy on multiple vendors.
  • The Reseller contract specialist: some are good at purchasing and have some knowledge of contracts self proclaim themselves as licensing experts. They can be talented but maybe not the best option for compliance and may deceive you on what you don’t know.
  • The licensing expert: the one that not only has a good understanding of purchasing, contracts and strategies but is also able to pick up an IT project and architect licensing.

There may be others but so far I find that this could correspond to the majority of people I know working with licensing.

As licensing evolve the less control on traditional assets companies have, new subscriptions come into place the ability for licensing professionals to make an earning depend more and more on consulting, more than the selling of the license itself. For this reason you may find a lot of people working on inside sales roles that claim the knowledge but may not be as qualified than those individuals that have taken the step to do consulting and other activities related for the progression of their careers.

On Software Asset Management great products are also coming that will make some of the licensing professional automatic, like Flexera software or 1E products. The one thing only a human brain can do right now is to strategize and look carefully at the T&Cs that relate to business goals beyond IT.

Ask yourself if you need:

  • a consultant to give you the right strategy
  • a consultant to provide you with the architecture of licenses around IT projects
  • a reseller to tell you just cost options
  • a consultant to take you to the Cloud
  • or a person that handles well renewals and contracts.

Make sure your interests are beyond other parties if you hire one to negotiate for you. In the reseller world the heavy burdens of revenue goals between partners is a real bias.

Good luck,

Let me know if you need more information. 



The end of the VAR and LAR

A few years ago IT started with the delivery of cloud applications of all type from major vendors to offer their own cloud solutions. Nothing strange there but a new conversation of how sales work started in IT transforming it and continuing to transform it.

Let me give you an example

When Microsoft released BPOS it was for the first time something offered for critical applications for end user level, directly licensed from a portal not necessary going through the traditional channel: vendor, distribution, reseller VAR or LAR. I remember the hard conversations that started then with the vendors. And what Microsoft does is followed by others, surely enough today the sales channel has been affected and in order not to lose the selling power of partners vendors are corresponding back with fees if they influence a sale, but the transaction happens directly with the vendor.

Apple has been selling hardware and software directly, Google has been selling its solutions directly, Microsoft sales the Office 365 and new Surface tablet directly, VMware launches new sales programs for its tokens that again is controlled and managed directly by clients, Amazon sales services directly.
I will not be surprised if suddenly HP, IBM start selling directly.

Distributors have compiled smaller cloud players on their portfolio to continue serving the resellers options to be able to strategize offering solutions. Resellers are thinking what to do and what to become.

In my opinion is the end of the VAR and LAR as we know them.

Resellers have to become solutions advisors, maximize IT services of all kinds around technologies that they used to sell or become strategic IT thought leaders to help clients as consultants

Of course others are entering the game with no transformation needed full refurbishment need so they have an advantage. More smaller startups are modeling their business by collecting the influence fees pushing the vendors direct offerings.
Many startups designing their own products skip the channel altogether

Obviously the traditional channel will not disappear right away but it’s revenue streams are rapidly changing and without adaptation there will be no survivor option.

Jobs will have to transform or be eliminated, from the traditional sales person to the manage service professional. Even the CIO responsibilities will change as IT will be delivered differently.

Now is time for the bet, where do you want to be as IT professional to ensure continuity to your skills.

Good luck

Infographic on licensing services

Cloud licensing, IT Assets

The Future of Licensing

For a while I have been pondering on the subject and I am convinced that the subscription model will gain momentum with the new focus on mobile devices that will connect all data anywhere. This means that a new licensing structure will emerge from the SPLA and other Service provider subscription model and it will contain a risk factor for vendors. Basically the vendor that evolved a perpetual license into a subscription model seemly will gain the approval and recognition fo clients and push their technology. Those maintaining a perpetual rigid structure that don’t make the transition easy will suffer from disapproval and abandon. Today EA from Microsoft can be amend to offer Office 365, however a full transition and benefit of terms and conditions are not there yet. It will require a different way to see True Ups and renewals. VMware and the RAM count is a good idea but very difficult to track, it will require a better trust on the client and a purely core or processor license subscription instead.
Vendors have been thinking “Data Center” when designing the Cloud, and that is ok, however they need to understand that the private cloud or the Hybrid cloud does not like or understand the subscription models that don’t allow multiple licensing models to “co-exist”… just my opinion