There’s an app for just about everything. But until recently, few companies designed apps for their own employees. The focus has long been on consumer apps that build brands or generate revenue. But over the past couple years, a clear shift has become evident. Organizations are now building apps as internal tools designed to better equip their mobile workforce.
Through these apps, enterprises are offering essential and consistent functionality for their business by adapting desktop applications to the mobile realm to increase employee productivity on personal devices.
If your organization is debating developing an internal app, it’s important to understand what you want to accomplish. There are a few different options for developing an internal app, and like Goldilocks, you want to find the choice that’s just right. To ensure an app will meet your needs, define your company’s requirements and segment your users before starting the process.
Knowing what functionality is most crucial to your mobile workforce will help narrow down the best app development path for your organization. Here’s a guide to the three main methods of creating internal apps, including the pros and cons of each approach, how to implement it, and the best vendors to turn to for help. Continue Reading…
Managing all the hardware and software assets for an enterprise workforce is no easy feat. A large organization must manage thousands or tens of thousands of employee devices, all of which are loaded with myriad software subject to various maintenance dates, combinations of licensing agreements, and therefore a multitude of licensing rules.
With so much technology under one roof, it’s easy for a licensing event to slip through the cracks and harm an organization in the long run. For example, the use of unlicensed software could expose organizations to hefty fines and leave companies scrambling to purchase new licenses to bring them into compliance. Not only do missed events hurt an organization’s bottom line, they also damage corporate reputations and can increase scrutiny from other manufacturers and vendors.
To help customers avoid the risks of non-compliance and give them a better understanding of their software entitlements, SHI offers several tools that provide complete visibility into the software and quantities an organization is licensed to use. Here are two of the best: Continue Reading…
Of the 20 most needed future job skills, Microsoft Office ranks as the third most required skill, explicitly requested in 15 percent of positions, according to a study commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by IDC. Designed to explore the technical and cognitive skills necessary for success in tomorrow’s high-growth, high-salary occupations, the study also found that Microsoft PowerPoint and Word hold the number 11 and number 13 spots, respectively.
With this data in mind, Microsoft will roll out a new program called Student Advantage on Dec. 1, 2013 to equip students of qualifying academic institutions worldwide with the latest version of Microsoft Office 365.
Microsoft introduced the program as a way to help students gain the skills and technical acumen necessary to pursue future occupations in high-growth career fields, such as medical support, sales, marketing, computer programming, and others.
Student Advantage also benefits academic institutions, namely in the form of huge cost savings. Mark Hachman of PCWorld estimates that a large institution such as Pennsylvania State University could save upwards of $2.9 million per year by using Student Advantage to equip students with Microsoft Office.
Beginning Dec. 1, any academic institution that licenses Office 365 ProPlus, Office 365 A3 or A4, or Office Professional Plus for its faculty and staff and does so via Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES); Open Value; Subscription Agreement for Educations Solutions (OVS-ES); or School Agreement will be eligible to provide Office 365 ProPlus to students at no additional cost. To take advantage of this program, institutions must order the $0 Office 365 ProPlus SKU for students through their large account reseller (LAR) or a Microsoft Authorized Education Reseller (AER). Student Advantage will not be available through the Microsoft Online Services Portal. Continue Reading…
Microsoft plans to discontinue support for Windows XP in April 2014, and as a result many businesses are now scrambling to upgrade their operating systems. Inevitably, we’ve seen an influx of questions about the available options, the best methods for transitioning, and most importantly, the applicability of Windows reimaging rights.
Reimaging rights refer to the ability of a Windows software purchaser to copy that software onto multiple devices from a single standard image. Reimaging rights are often utilized when an organization purchases a device, or multiple devices, that are preloaded with the latest version of the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) operating system (OS). More often than not, businesses don’t run the most current software across their IT environments, or they are incapable of supporting multiple versions. In these cases, reimaging rights allow businesses to downgrade the software on the new device by running a standard image in their local environment.
Reimaging rights are directly related to how an organization procures software, whether through a reseller via a volume licensing (VL) agreement, pre-installment on a device purchased through an OEM, or a Full Packaged Product (FPP) purchased from a distributor. These unique ways of acquiring the Windows desktop OS complicate the reimaging rights allowed in certain scenarios. Continue Reading…
If your organization always wants the latest and greatest products and most up-to-date support, chances are you buy your software and hardware maintenance from various manufacturers. The question is: How do you manage all of your purchases while ensuring you’re not overspending?
Renewal management can be complicated, involving a kaleidoscope of factors that can turn a simple process into a field full of potential land mines, including overspending and non-compliance. Here are some of the challenges IT organizations face while managing renewals and how to solve them.
1. Myriad buying programs. Every business unit has its own unique mix of hardware and software needs. When it comes to licensing Microsoft products, for example, some organizations excel with an Enterprise Agreement (EA) to license a particular number of seats at any time for any product. Other organizations utilize a Select Agreement to buy what they need when they need it. With other publishers, some parts of your organization might still rely on perpetual licenses while others need options like the subscription-based Adobe Creative Cloud. The range of potential ongoing agreements in any company is vast, and renewal dates are unlikely to align, creating the potential for under-licensing or budgetary “gotchas” if the various renewal dates aren’t closely tracked.
2. Multiple employees managing buying programs. Larger organizations have licenses with more manufacturers and for more products than any one person can manage alone. Of course splitting the workload, whether by division or manufacturer, reduces visibility into organization-wide renewal dates. Having employees manage licensing in a silo also limits potential cost-savings and cost-avoidance advantages for future licensing, as employees might not be aware that their combined purchases qualify them for the next level (price break) of cost-savings. Continue Reading…
Remember the good old days when you likely had a simple choice between two volume licensing programs to license your Microsoft software: Select Agreement or Enterprise Agreement? Over the past three years, Microsoft has introduced new volume licensing program options that have provided organizations with more flexibility, but have also added another layer of complexity to the decision-making process. Most recently, Microsoft announced a new program called Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE) slated for availability in the fourth quarter 2013, adding even more choices to its volume licensing pool.
SCE is designed to simplify the program terms, pricing, requirements, and decision points for organizations interested in committing to the products and technologies offered under this enrollment. As with any significant change, it is important to understand how organizations currently procure their licenses and how that process will change in the future.
Today, Microsoft offers organizations the ability to procure licenses under single or multiple enrollments depending on various factors, including:
- License, License and Software Assurance, Subscription
- Commitment terms (e.g., enterprise wide vs. buy as you go)
- Price discounts
- Bundled vs. single SKUs (e.g., Core Infrastructure Suite vs. Windows Server)
- Program benefits (e.g., Software Assurance benefits)
- True-up terms (e.g., one year vs. three years)
When you factor in the various volume licensing vehicles that Microsoft offers, IT and procurement managers must weigh a complex set of options during their decision-making process. Today, organizations with more than 250 desktops have the following enrollment types available to them to procure their Microsoft licenses and services: Continue Reading…
Microsoft will cease to support Windows XP on April 8, 2014. The operating system’s product lifecycle will come to an end, Microsoft will stop producing security patches and other updates, and organizations will be faced with a dilemma: To continue using Windows XP, one of the most popular versions of Windows, despite the security risks of running an unsupported system, or to upgrade to the unfamiliar Windows 8 or another more recent OS version.
Microsoft, for one, would prefer businesses to move off XP and has made this one of its top sales priorities for fiscal year 2014, along with winning over businesses to the benefits of Windows 8.
The Windows XP end-of-life date will affect more than 10 million PCs. If your business accounts for any of them, you might want to start considering an upgrade. The following video will highlight the new features released with Windows 8, explain how Windows 8 affects your volume licensing agreements, and offer next steps for implementing Windows 8 in your organization.