Microsoft Licence Management
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Truly independent Microsoft licence advisory to help you conquer the chaos and complexity of Microsoft licensing.
Microsoft’s licensing models and metrics are vague and always changing, making it difficult for organisations to work out their optimal mix. The three-year Enterprise Agreements (EAs) and sheer scale in terms of the number of users mean most organisations are paying much more than is necessary.
Every organisation flips from wanting to be on good terms with Microsoft, to feeling powerless and overrun in their dealings, through to not knowing what to ask for and where to push, all without upsetting the broader relationship.
Additionally, the ever-present risk of compliance audits for over-deployment looms and also the need to prepare for Microsoft’s annual “true-ups”. While the term may be more palatable, these top-ups often run into the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars and are usually unbudgeted, causing stress throughout the organisation.
Careful planning and analysis is required to avoid long-term financial implications of Microsoft software over- or under-licensing. Whether you want to true-up, true-down, or move away from Microsoft altogether, Invictus Partners can facilitate this for you, whilst advocating for your organisations unique software needs and best financial outcomes.
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“Invictus Partners helped measure consumption and usage against licensing for Microsoft Office and determine the licensing needed to support the transition to Microsoft 365.” NSW Land Registry Services
Microsoft Software Licence Management: Optimally manage Microsoft licences according to a best-practice licensing structure
Invictus Partners can provide expert licence advisory across the four Microsoft product portfolios: infrastructure software, end-user computing, Azure and Dynamics. We do this in three phases, which are available as an end-to-end service, or as separate engagements.
Microsoft Licence Optimisation
Microsoft Contract Negotiation
Microsoft Software Licence Review
With Microsoft’s periodic price rises, the motivation to conduct a licensing review is growing across many organisations. Invictus Partners can conduct a Microsoft Software Licence Review to detect any licence compliance issues and uncover opportunities for cost savings across your Microsoft estate. We do this in three steps:
- Microsoft Licence Agreements Review – Our team reviews your Microsoft Enterprise Agreements and Enrollments (EA or EAS), Server and Cloud Enrollments (SCE), Microsoft Product and Services Agreements(MPSA), Cloud Solution Providers (CSP), Microsoft Business and Services Agreements (MBSA), and CustomAmendments (CTM). We also assess other documents related to current entitlements, including recent true-upsand annual orders, Microsoft Licensing Statements (MLS) and Volume License Service Centre (VLSC) reports, and server and user deployment records.
- Microsoft Usage Review – We inspect your IT architecture to gather Microsoft usage data across the organisation and gain visibility of what Microsoft software is deployed and where
- Microsoft Effective Licence Position – We assess how usage of Microsoft products compares to contracted entitlements to determine your organisation’s compliance position. This process identifies any over-deployment and under-licensing issues, which we address with remediation strategies.
Microsoft Licence Optimisation
The Invictus Partners Microsoft Licence Optimisation Service helps organisations reach their Microsoft licensing “sweet spot”. We ensure you have minimal quantities of the best-structured licensing models so that users’ productivity is up and software costs are down.
Our team builds out a user dashboard of licence assignments and consumption across the organisation, analyses licence reclaim opportunities and provides a snapshot of licence spend across the product and licence types (and optionally by department, business unit, or other specified grouping). This phase identifies any over-deployments, and cost-saving opportunities, and provides visibility into your Microsoft user licences.
Microsoft 365 licences, in particular, can significantly add to your organisation’s overhead if not managed properly. Invictus Partners helps you to understand user requirements before assigning employees licences, and identifies inactive users to optimise licence management.
Microsoft Contract Negotiation
Microsoft is notoriously difficult to negotiate with, and many organisations feel powerless against them. Most organisations go into Microsoft negotiations with the goal of securing upfront percentage discounts, but these almost always lead to higher overall costs down the line. To negotiate successfully with Microsoft, you need to understand the fine print in your contracts and use it to your advantage.
Luckily for you, our team consists of Microsoft licensing experts who know the intricacies of Microsoft agreements and can help you identify any concession opportunity that can be negotiated. We have helped our clients lock in price protection agreements, product uses right concessions, and clauses to protect against accidental non-compliance.
Microsoft True-up & EA Renewal Support: Buy the right technology, on the optimal contract, at the best price
Microsoft licensing rules and contracts are among the most complex of any vendors in the market, with hooks and traps that make it difficult (and financially unappealing) for customers to downgrade their licensing levels or transition to another vendor.
There are many different ways to buy Microsoft software, so it can be hard to know whether you’re buying the right product on the most optimal contract. With renewals only coming up every three years, you need to be on your EA game.
Microsoft Enterprise Agreement True-ups
Our Microsoft Licensing experts can help you navigate the complexities of the annual true-up process. We gather an inventory of your software deployments and usage, analyse your licence entitlements and prepare a Bill of Materials that details all Microsoft products that require true-up and the associated licence quantities that need to be reported.
Microsoft Enterprise Agreement Renewals
Invictus Partners has helped clients save hundreds of thousands – even millions – of dollars over the term of their Enterprise Agreements, but extensive preparation is needed to understand your entitlements, dissect contracts to find leverage, and plan a succinct negotiation strategy to realise the outcome. Invictus Partners recommends starting preparations at least a year out from the renewal date.
We conduct a commercial review of the current Microsoft EA or EAS and Custom Amendments (CTM). We also review the upcoming renewal agreements, which Microsoft Enterprise and EAS customers are entitled to see ahead of time upon request.
A contractual analysis is critical when approaching renewals, as it uncovers potential negotiation points and concessions for product and business amendments.
Microsoft Enterprise Agreement negotiations
Having a structured and agreed plan including a set of desired outcomes is the key preparation activity to be completed before any meeting with Microsoft is held. As part of this process, we brief your executive team and meet with your procurement, finance, and business stakeholders to determine corporate positions in negotiations.
Our Contract Negotiation experts conduct ongoing reviews of Microsoft proposals, contracts, and offers (including benchmarking these against what our team knows is on offer in the market), advise you on Microsoft negotiation behaviors and drivers, and prepare you for likely meeting scenarios.
Invictus Partners can act on your behalf as the lead negotiator, work in the background by planning and facilitating meetings, or simply ensure your team is armed with the right information to achieve an optimal outcome.
Microsoft Licence Audit Defence: Stay within your licensing limits and face Microsoft audits head on.
Microsoft compliance audits, officially called Licence Compliance Verifications, are an ever-present risk for organisations, and often run into the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars of unbudgeted costs.
Microsoft Licence Compliance Verification preparation
Our Microsoft Licensing Audit Services
Invictus Partners can help you defend against a Microsoft audit in three phases, which are available as an end-to-ends service or as separate engagements.
Microsoft Licence Remediation
Microsoft Audit Negotiation
Internal Microsoft Software Licence Audit
Following the same process and interpretations of agreements as Microsoft’s compliance teams, we conduct an audit of your Microsoft licensing position to determine how your entitlements compare with what you are actually using.
Microsoft Licence Remediation
Once we have identified where the Microsoft licensing exposures are, we develop an effective remediation strategy and to guide you through the implementation process.
Microsoft Software Audit Negotiation
We ensure your organisation has the right response and that your negotiation strategy is planned and effectively executed.
Microsoft Software Asset Management: All-in-one Microsoft software licence tracking, cost containment and audit-readiness.
Invictus Partners can review and monitor your Microsoft environment on an ongoing basis with our Microsoft SAM service, which we offer as a managed service (SAMaaS) or as a hybrid model in conjunction with your team. We help you set up a best-practice SAM function and then provide ongoing maintenance and advisory.
Many organisations think their Microsoft Licensing Solution Provider (LSP) provides them with a SAM service, but this isn’t the case. As Microsoft partners, LSPs have a vested interest in reselling Microsoft and work on a commission basis for selling ongoing solutions, on-time renewals, and true-ups.
Plus, LSPs are incentivised to drive organisations towards the cloud and online services, rather than just sell licence agreements. You can end up paying tens of thousands of dollars on top of the money you’re already spending on Microsoft, without much added benefit. The LSP version of SAM is running a monthly report that does the bare minimum to keep you compliant. True SAM requires objectivity, and you can’t get that from a Microsoft LSP.
Invictus Partners is an independent advisory firm with no vested interests in any particular vendor or solution, so you can feel confident that we work only in your best interests.
Microsoft Third-Party Support Licence Advisory: Minimise the risks and costs of moving off Microsoft Database support.
While Microsoft may offer you software support options at a reduced price, those costs may still be well above market value for comparable services from third-party Maintenance (TPM) providers. Third-Party Support could be a viable alternative, but the transition must be planned and managed carefully to ensure you do not breach the terms of your Microsoft licensing agreements.
Invictus Partners can advise you on whether Third-Party Support is right for your organisation and how to manage the licensing implications of such a move. We have experience across the three major Microsoft support providers, and can also assist you in choosing the provider that is right for you.
Rimini St provides Third-Party Support services for a range of vendors including Microsoft, for which they support Microsoft SQL Server.
Spinnaker provides third-party Support and managed services for Microsoft SQL Server, as well as support for a range of vendors.
US Cloud is an independent specialist in Third-Party Support for Microsoft, providing an alternative to Microsoft’s Premier Support for Enterprise and Unified Support offerings.
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Microsoft Cloud Licensing Advisory: Adopt Microsoft Cloud solutions or move to a third-party cloud without any licensing slip-ups.
Microsoft’s cloud licensing policies vary depending on the specific products and services being used, the licensing agreements your organisation has in place, and your chosen cloud platform.
Microsoft Azure Licensing
Uptake of the Azure cloud is high among organisations with Microsoft products, either as their cloud of choice or as part of a multi-cloud solution.
Invictus Partners can help you understand the licensing impacts of moving to Azure, and navigate the complex licensing and subscription models. We explore and review your future state whilst securing the best possible pricing and licensing models for the short term.
This process involves:
- Review of your current Microsoft environment
- Advice on which server, applications, and services to migrate
- Full inventory and dependency map of the servers and services to migrate.
Microsoft 365 Licensing
Part of the complexity around Microsoft 365 licensing comes from the way the products are bundled together. The other part is understanding the requirements for each persona. In an effort to avoid non-compliance risk,organisations tend to default to the most expensive bundles across the enterprise, but this results in significant overspending. Less-than bundles are cheaper but take time and require expertise to investigate.
Invictus Partners can help you make sense of the 30-plus services included in the Microsoft 365 Enterprise Suites plans and bundles, and find the best-fit licensing models for your organisation.
Microsoft Dynamics Licensing
Invictus Partners can help you understand your organisation’s requirements for solving a particular business problem, decide which Dynamics products are suitable, and choose from the many licensing options available.
Licensing Microsoft software on third-party public clouds
Microsoft’s License Mobility through Software Assurance program allows Microsoft customers to move their existing on-premise licences to approved cloud platforms, which it calls Authorized Mobility Partners.
As is to be expected from Microsoft, its third-party cloud licensing policies are complex and nuanced, making the need for licensing knowledge especially critical when facing discussions with Microsoft about moving to a third-party cloud provider. Once Microsoft knows of your intention to move away from them, they are unlikely to give you any leeway if you put a licensing foot wrong during the transition.
Our Cloud Licensing specialists have experience in Microsoft and cloud migration rules to chart a course of what, when, and how Microsoft products (Windows Server, SQL Server, and more) can be redeployed onto third-party cloud platforms within existing licensing terms.
Microsoft licensing on AWS
AWS is popular among Microsoft customers who are able to take advantage of the cloud’s efficiencies whilst keeping costs down by using existing on-premise software. Several Microsoft products are eligible to run in the AWS instance under the Software Assurance program, including the entire Windows stack, SQL Server, and productivity applications such as SharePoint, Exchange, Skype for Business, and Dynamics.
AWS is also a good option for organisations facing looming Microsoft End of Life deadlines, as Microsoft customers can buy “license-included” instances that support many legacy versions of Microsoft software.
Invictus Partners can help you with the license-to-cloud transition and ensure you are compliant with Microsoft licensing policies pre- and post-migration.
Microsoft licensing on Google Cloud Platform
Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is an authorised LicenseMobility through Software Assurance Partner and provides a scalable infrastructure to help Microsoft customers improve agility and cost efficiency.
A range of Microsoft products are eligible to run in GCP, including SQL Server, Microsoft Application Server products, and Windows Server-based applications and workloads. You can bring your own Microsoft licences to GCP’s sole tenant, or purchase on-demand Windows Server or SQL Server licences from Google.
Invictus Partners can help optimise your Microsoft licensing ahead of a move to GCP to avoid license-related risks and costs.
Download our Microsoft Licence Management datasheet
The Invictus Partners difference: Microsoft Licensing Consulting Experts
Invictus Partners is a specialist software licencing advisory firm that can supplement your in-house teams or completely manage your software licensing portfolio. Our certified Microsoft team has a broad skill set across the Microsoft spectrum to cover licencing analysis in preparation for agreement renewals, optimisation, contract review, licencing health checks, contract negotiation and audit defence.
Invictus Partners advocates for the client by delivering a neutral and independent Microsoft licence advisory service, providing impartial facts, informed insights, and realities by reviewing and analysing Microsoft’s licensing terms, agreement structures, release information, and “glossy brochure” style marketing information.
Our licensing specialists operate as an extension of our clients’ organisations. We collaborate with procurement, infrastructure, administrative, and IT teams to bring clarity and understanding to Microsoft licensing. With potential savings running in the hundreds of thousands and potentially into the millions of dollars over the term of an Enterprise Agreement, it makes sense to work with an independent licence advisory firm with expertise in Microsoft.