How to best prepare for your Office 365 deployment

cloudGoing all in with the cloud requires a big step – just ask any organization that purchased Office 365 (O365) and has yet to deploy its licenses. Moving the litany of Office products to the cloud is a major commitment for any organization, but fear not: Help is on the way through a number of incentive programs run by Microsoft.

Microsoft offers different incentive programs derived from a variety of funding buckets to drive the deployment of O365. As part of these funding vehicles, both Microsoft and certified third-party providers assist organizations in deploying their O365 services, such as mail migration, SharePoint, OneDrive for Business, and Skype for Business, to the cloud. (more…)

Acrobat DC made easy: 5 questions about Adobe’s document manager answered

question mark guyIn April, Adobe released Acrobat Document Cloud (DC), its newest iteration of the document reading and editing application. Unlike Creative Cloud, which is only offered in a subscription-based model, Acrobat DC is available through either a perpetual license or as a subscription. Both licensing models can be purchased for every market segment, depending on an organization’s needs and IT environment.

Perpetual or subscription – what’s the difference? Organizations have struggled with this question and others since Acrobat DC was launched earlier this year, and we want to clear up the confusion about which options are available and other roadblocks users have come across. Here are five common questions we’re asked about Acrobat DC.  (more…)

Office 365 incentives are back – with a new core benefit

Microsoft IncentivesDetails of the next round of incentives for Office 365 (O365) adoption have been released, and there’s one big change for customers.

Microsoft has unveiled the Fiscal Year 2016 incentives, which will kick in for customers who purchase new licenses after Sept. 1 of this year, in order to spur O365 adoption and deployment. For customers who purchase O365 licenses from July 1 through Aug. 31, a bridge period with similar benefits is available as well.

Here is what you need to know about this year’s FastTrack offer, and why you should prepare your IT environment before you contact Microsoft. (more…)

This is how Microsoft’s upcoming product and pricing changes will affect you

confusionIn May, SHI detailed the upcoming price changes impacting Microsoft’s Client Access Licenses (CALs). These changes, which took effect Aug. 1, 2015, will result in an approximate 13 percent increase on the cost of User CALs.

But that was not the only change from Microsoft: In conjunction with the User CAL price increase, Microsoft adjusted additional products and pricing that impact multiple product offerings, SKUs, and licensing programs.

The following is a summary of the licensing and pricing changes effective Aug. 1, 2015. (more…)

Windows 10 is here: Here’s what volume licensing customers need to know

windows-10Windows 10 is live, and with it comes product portfolio changes, adjustments to Software Assurance (SA) benefits, and a bevy of new features and enhancements. But perhaps the biggest change is how updates are delivered.

Here is the breakdown of these changes, and considerations for how to acquire Windows 10 licenses moving forward. (more…)

Perpetual or subscription licensing for Autodesk? You can choose – for now.

jan-31-countdownIt’s the year of choice for Autodesk customers — organizations can either license Autodesk software through perpetual rights or Autodesk’s latest subscription licensing model, called Desktop Subscription. But not for long.

After Jan. 31, 2016, seats of Autodesk Point products, such as AutoCAD LT, will only be available through a term-based license plan called Desktop Subscription. While some suite products can still be licensed through perpetual rights after that date, standalone and network versions of popular Autodesk software will fully transition to Desktop Subscription. Customers currently licensed through perpetual agreements will see no change in their contract, but after Jan. 31, 2016, they’ll no longer have the option of purchasing new perpetual licenses.

So what does this deadline mean for existing customers? Is there an advantage to one option over the other? Should you change now or early next year? Here are a few considerations to ponder after you circle Jan. 31, 2016 on your calendar. (more…)

Before upgrading to vSphere 6, read this

stop handYou’ve never seen virtualization work like this before.

vSphere 6, the newest installment of VMware’s cloud computing OS, is available now for upgrade. The latest version has hundreds of new features and capabilities, but its true power lies in its breadth: vSphere 6 can “vMotion” instances across virtual switches, vCenters, and long distances. Now an instance can be moved from any cluster of computers and servers in an organization to another, regardless of where the two clusters are, and regardless of the version of vCenter that the second destination cluster is running.

But as useful as this load-bearing capability can be for spreading virtual machines throughout a network to maintain uptime, it can also create issues with your Microsoft licensing. Before you upgrade to vSphere 6, make sure you know the potential conflicts and take steps to remedy them. (more…)

What’s new in Creative Cloud 2015? New ways to collaborate

Adobe Creative Cloud 2015Collaboration could be Adobe Creative Cloud’s middle name: New enhancements to the powerful suite of applications give designers new ways to work together and cooperate on projects, and a new stock image collection can accelerate the workflow of designers who spend much of their day in Adobe’s photo-editing tools.

Today Adobe announced the release of Creative Cloud 2015, which not only opens up new avenues for collaboration, but delivers “a frictionless creative process” across all devices. Included in this update are new enhancements and features for Adobe’s 15 desktop apps, as well as new mobile apps for iPhone and Android. Plus, the new Adobe Stock program gives designers access to 40 million stock photos and graphics. Because Adobe is making its software more mobile-friendly, Creative Cloud 2015’s launch should prove to be a huge productivity gain for all businesses. (more…)

4 reasons to quit hanging onto Windows Server 2003

Win2k3Windows Server 2003’s end of life is less than 90 days away, and July 14 (the last day of support) is quickly approaching. Many organizations, seemingly hesitant to undergo a full migration, still haven’t even begun to plan the move from Win2k3.

C-suite executives and IT professionals are asking the same questions about the status of Windows Server 2003 starting July 15: What will happen to my network? What will work – and what won’t? Is there a quick fix, or a cheap one? If I’m running business-critical applications that require Windows Server 2003, will they continue working? Will Microsoft extend support, and how much will it cost?

We’re going to answer all of these questions in an upcoming Win2k3 webinar for enterprises, education institutions, and government agencies that will illustrate what’s at stake and why every organization should begin their migration immediately if they haven’t already. Suffice it to say, Windows Server 2003’s end of life can pose serious problems for organizations of all sizes, and postponing a migration could be extremely expensive.

Before we delve into these issues in the webinar, here are four reasons why all organizations should be planning a migration, and why it’s time move past Windows Server 2003. (more…)

Microsoft User CAL pricing is changing. Here’s what you need to know.

Microsoft User CAL ChangesIn December 2012, Microsoft increased the cost of the User Client Access License (CAL) by 15 percent. Here on the SHI blog, we discussed the evolving nature of how organizations were accessing devices, both on premises and in the cloud, and Microsoft’s need to address this shift through an increase in the cost of User CALs.

Flash forward to 2015: Microsoft has announced an additional change in the cost of the User CAL licensing model. The decision behind the increase can be attributed to multiple factors, including increased adoption of multiple devices by information workers, and the subsequent ease of license management of User CALs versus Device CALs in multi-device scenarios. So we’re back on the blog to help you understand what this price adjustment means, and what some of your options are. (more…)