Take Control of Microsoft Licensing and Optimize Spend

Review and assess your Microsoft contract to build a strategy that leads to dollars saved.


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Your Challenge

  • Microsoft licensing is complicated. Often, the same software can be licensed a number of ways. It’s difficult to know which edition and licensing model is best.
  • Licensing and features often change with the release of new software versions, compounding the problem by making it difficult to stay current.
  • In tough economic times, IT is asked to reduce capital and operating expenses wherever possible. As one of the top five expense items in most enterprise software budgets, Microsoft licensing is a primary target for cost reduction.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Focus on needs first. Conduct a thorough needs assessment and document the results. Well-documented needs will be your best asset in navigating Microsoft licensing and negotiating your agreement.
  • Establish licensing surpluses and deficits early on. You may already have enough licensing for your new projects or you may have a substantial shortfall that needs to be addressed. Fill in existing gaps before adding new licenses.
  • Assign a dedicated license and software administrator. With someone to keep tabs on the licensing, review and purchase planning become easier, reducing time and money spent on requirements gathering and budgeting.

Impact and Result

  • Adopt a cyclical approach to reviewing Microsoft licensing. Actively manage licensing to ease the process of defining your requirements.
  • Create a reference document to track your software needs, planned licensing, and purchase negotiation points.
  • Define business requirements and actively manage licenses.


  • Filip Lauwereys, ASIST
  • Josef Hans Lara, Licensing Guru at Big Bang Innovation Services Inc.
  • Paul DeGroot, Principal Consultant at Pica Communications
  • Karl O’Doherty, CEO at SAM360
  • 2 anonymous contributors

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Get to Action

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why you need to understand and document your Microsoft Licensing strategy, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.

  1. Establish licensing requirements

    Begin a proactive Microsoft licensing journey by understanding which information to gather and assessing the current state and gaps.

  2. Evaluate licensing options

    Review current licensing models and determine which licensing models will most appropriately fit the organization's environment.

  3. Evaluate agreement options

    Review Microsoft’s contract types and assess which best fits the organization’s licensing needs.

  4. Purchase and manage licenses

    Conduct negotiations, purchase licensing, and finalize a licensing management strategy.

Guided Implementation icon Guided Implementation

This guided implementation is an eleven call advisory process.

    Guided Implementation #1 - Establish licensing requirements

  • Call #1: Perform a scoping call

  • Call #2: Assess the current state

  • Call #3: Determine licensing position

  • Guided Implementation #2 - Evaluate licensing options

  • Call #1: Review product options

  • Call #2: Review licensing rules

  • Guided Implementation #3 - Evaluate agreement options

  • Call #1: Review contract option types

  • Call #2: Review vendors

  • Guided Implementation #4 - Purchase and manage licenses

  • Call #1: Finalize the contract

  • Call #2: Determine negotiation points

  • Call #3: Discuss license management

  • Call #4: Evaluate and develop a roadmap for future licensing

Onsite Workshop

Module 1: Establish Licensing Requirements

The Purpose

  • Assess current state and align goals.
  • Review business feedback.
  • Interview key stakeholders to define business objectives and drivers.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Have a baseline on requirements.
  • Assess the current state.
  • Determine licensing position.
  • Examine cloud options.

Activities: Outputs:
1.1 Understand what documentation to gather and where to find it.
  • Copy of your Microsoft License Statement
1.2 Navigate Microsoft’s Volume Licensing Service Center to obtain licensing entitlements and SA benefits.
1.3 Leverage a Software Asset Management (SAM) tool to determine software deployment and usage.
  • Software inventory report from SAM tool
1.4 Build an Effective Licensing Position to uncover license surpluses and deficits.
  • Microsoft Licensing Effective License Position Template
1.5 Meet with stakeholders to discuss the licensing position, cloud offerings, and budget allocation.
  • Microsoft Licensing Purchase Reference Guide

Module 2: Evaluate Licensing Options

The Purpose

  • Review licensing options.
  • Review licensing rules.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Understand how licensing works.
  • Determine if you need Software Assurance.
  • Discuss licensing rules and their application to your current environment.
  • Examine cloud licensing.
  • Understand the importance of documenting changes.
  • Meet with desktop product owners to determine product strategies.

Activities: Outputs:
2.1 Maximize the benefits Software Assurance (SA) can bring.
2.2 Microsoft wanted the organization on Office 365 yesterday, so start planning.
2.3 Choose OEM or Volume licensing as a critical component of a Windows 10 strategy.
2.4 Untangle the many methods of server licensing.
2.5 Document planned licensing changes for discussion with your reseller.
  • List of changes to be made, by product, on the Microsoft Licensing Purchase Reference Guide

Module 3: Evaluate Agreement Options

The Purpose

  • Review contract option types.
  • Review vendors.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Understand why a type of contract is best for you, whether it's an Enterprise Agreement, Select, or Open.
  • The benefits of other types and when you should change.

Activities: Outputs:
3.1 Decide on the agreement that nets you the maximum benefit.
  • Type of contract to be used

Module 4: Purchase and Manage Licenses

The Purpose

  • Finalize the contract.
  • Discuss negotiation points.
  • Discuss license management.
  • Evaluate and develop a roadmap for future licensing.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Discuss negotiation strategies.
  • Licensing management best practices.
  • Introduction of Software Asset Management (SAM).
  • Leveraging the work done on Microsoft licensing to get started on SAM.

Activities: Outputs:
4.1 Ensure the reseller makes licensing easier for you.
  • Optimized purchasing
4.2 Negotiate with resellers to get the best deal.
  • Management plan
4.3 Maximize contract value by assigning the right people to manage the agreement.
  • Future roadmap
4.4 If audited, don’t panic – create a response plan and follow it through.
  • Audit strategy

Workshop Icon Book Your Workshop

Onsite Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn’t enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our Project Workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a road map in place to complete your project successfully.

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