How Autodesk’s licensing change will affect you

ArtistComputerTabletThe subscription licensing model is here to stay, it appears. Microsoft and Adobe are two of the biggest recent examples of IT leaders moving toward subscription licensing, and now Autodesk has joined the fold. In order to simplify its offering and in recognition of the fact that most of its customers are on subscription, Autodesk has adjusted its software upgrade policy for certain licensed customers.

Starting Feb. 1, 2015, Autodesk will no longer offer its upgrade program for customers that own a perpetual license to a previous version of its software. Future editions of the company’s product suite will be available through the purchase of a new perpetual license for the current version, or as a Maintenance Subscription or Desktop Subscription benefit. All Autodesk products sold with perpetual licensing are covered by this policy change except for Creative Finishing products.

Who will the new policy affect? (more…)

Here’s what our readers considered a top IT priority in 2014

People around tableLooking back on 2014, it’s clear to us that IT asset management (ITAM), and more specifically software licensing, was a top priority for many organizations.

We published 93 posts in 2014, and eight of the 10 most-read articles explored various licensing changes from partners like Microsoft, Adobe, and Apple.

We’re not surprised. Software licensing is complicated, and the seemingly constant adjustments made during multi-year contracts make asset management that much more difficult. Because avoiding an audit is much more fun than responding to one, IT professionals must educate themselves on licensing changes, and how software licensing evolves over time.   (more…)

How to determine if you qualify for Office 365 incentives

Microsoft IncentivesTo help more organizations get started with their O365 subscriptions, Microsoft is now offering several financial “carrots” to spur deployment. New customers that purchase more than 150 O365 licenses from Sept. 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015 are eligible for basic onboarding and deployment, as well as monetary incentives aimed to offset the full cost of deployment through a certified Microsoft partner. These incentives can be realized by private and public businesses, government entities, and even some educational institutions that meet certain qualifications.

Microsoft has instituted a handful of O365 deployment incentive programs, and some, like the FastTrack: Getting Started program, have already been exhausted. But don’t get confused. While the FastTrack: Getting Started program is out of funding, the O365 Adoption Offer is still available and can be utilized by customers that begin the process through a certified Microsoft partner. While these programs might sound the same, they offer distinct benefits. (more…)

IT time wasters: Failing to prepare for a software audit

clock in trashIf you’re like most organizations, it’s been a while since your last self-audit. A survey we conducted found that out of 102 IT admins and executives, 56 percent said their company hadn’t completed a self-audit in the past year.

That doesn’t mean they’re more confident they’ll never see an audit. Almost two-thirds said they believe software audits are becoming more prevalent. And a 2013 Express Metrix survey of 178 senior IT managers in North America about audit activity found that more than half had been audited in the last two years.

The most frequent auditors cited in the Express Metrix survey were Microsoft, Adobe, Autodesk, Oracle, and SAP, in that order. Does your organization license software from any of those publishers? Most companies use software from at least one, so you should be expecting an audit request in the mail soon, if it hasn’t come already.

While some might see IT asset management and other ongoing maintenance as a time waster, the true time drain is responding to a simple audit when you’re not ready. A prepared organization could potentially respond to a request in days, while those that are unprepared could spend months gathering the necessary information. (more…)

What the changes in Microsoft’s SPLA mean for you

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For the second consecutive year, Microsoft will make price adjustments to its Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA) in January. The SPLA, which enables service providers and independent software vendors (ISVs) to offer hosted Microsoft software and solutions to their end customers, covers a wide range of products, including SQL Server, SharePoint Server, and Office.

Starting Jan. 1, 2015, Microsoft will update specific products and enact some pricing and licensing changes within SPLA. Understanding these changes will help you manage current licensing agreements and better optimize your product lineup.

With the exception of the one-off January adjustments, the pricing for all SPLA services remains static month to month. Customers should report 2014 usage by Jan. 10, 2015 to use existing December pricing; orders invoiced after Jan. 15, 2015 will be subject to the new pricing benchmarks.

Some of the software upgrades rev up the power behind Windows Server 2012 options. These improvements should increase productivity, and provide additional value that matches the current price offering. (more…)

Microsoft extends Office 365 ProPlus education benefits

benefitsLast year Microsoft announced it would give students free access to Office 365 (O365) through its Student Advantage program. Now the software giant is extending these benefits to school faculty and staff, and revealing a self-enrollment model that makes it even faster and easier for all parties to take advantage of these benefits.

Effective Dec. 1, 2014, any educational institution purchasing Office for its faculty and staff can now include an O365 Professional Plus (ProPlus) subscription at no extra cost for all students, faculty, and staff. Anyone with an active school-specific email address from eligible schools can sign up and install the following versions of Microsoft Office on up to five machines and five tablets of their choice:

  • Office 2013 Professional Plus
  • Office 2011 for Mac (and the new Office for Mac when it comes out next year)
  • Outlook for Mac (next generation)
  • Office for iPad (full featured)
  • Office for iPhone (full featured)
  • Office for Android tablet (when available)

(more…)

8 factors to consider when migrating from Windows Server 2003 to Office 365

Win2k3The retirement of Windows Server 2003 is closer than many think. If you haven’t started planning for your migration yet, now’s the time. For both those yet to start and those already underway, we’ve been presenting the options for migration from Win2k3, including Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft Azure. In this final post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about licensing Office 365 (O365), Microsoft’s cloud solution.

O365 provides a number of flexible and cost-effective licensing and purchasing options for migrating Exchange and/or SharePoint to Microsoft’s SaaS offering. If you’re evaluating Office 365, ask yourself the following eight questions in order to make an informed decision on your strategy moving forward. (more…)

How Microsoft Enterprise Cloud Suite licensing affects you

cloud networkMicrosoft will launch its new Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS) offering on Dec. 1, 2014, the latest step in its broader shift in licensing models to a “mobile first, cloud first” strategy. ECS will be a bundled subscription SKU offering containing Office 365 (O365) Plan E3, Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), and Windows Client OS Per User. This new offering will be available to organizations looking to transition to the cloud mid-term, at renewal, or as part of a new agreement.

ECS provides organizations with a true user-based licensing model, removing the per-device licensing requirements on the Windows Client OS. However, with any new licensing change come requirements on how organizations can procure and manage the new offering in their environment going forward. Provided below is an overview of the ECS offering and important considerations when moving forward.

Understanding the changes to ECS

The traditional on-premises Desktop Platform licensing options — e.g., Office Pro Plus and Windows Client OS — have primarily been device based. The Client Access License (CAL) offered per-user or device licensing depending on how an organization’s users/devices were accessing its server technology. With the introduction of O365, Microsoft initiated user-based licensing for Office Pro Plus, available in the form of a standalone Office Pro Plus for O365 subscription or as an O365 Subscription Plan E3/E4.

In April 2014, Microsoft introduced EMS, which provided even more flexibility to procure cloud services in a user-centric approach. The final transformation comes with the release of Windows Pro Per User subscription license, which shifts from device- to user-based licensing. This change is best illustrated in the chart below. (more…)

How to prepare for the expiration of your EAP and ECI enrollments

Prepare for EAP and ECI ExpirationA year after Microsoft launched its Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE) volume licensing program, many organizations are preparing to make the switch as their Enrollment for Application Platform (EAP) and Enrollment for Core Infrastructure (ECI) agreements expire. Customers with expiring contracts are facing critical decisions regarding the renewal of their software assurance (SA) into the SCE, which marks a major step in the simplification of Microsoft licensing programs.

The SCE allows organizations to consolidate ECI and EAP licenses into a single enrollment featuring standardized terms and discounts. Its broad product offerings include the Core Infrastructure Suite, SQL Server, BizTalk Server, SharePoint Server, Visual Studio with MSDN, and Azure.

EAP and ECI customers should closely evaluate the SCE option before enrolling in order to fully understand the changes and how their current licensing will shift under the new structure. Here’s what EAP and ECI customers must know and do to prepare for the SCE. (more…)

3 licensing options for migrating to Microsoft Azure from Windows Server 2003

Win2k3Where will your organization go when Microsoft ends support for Windows Server 2003? Many organizations are formulating an answer to that question right now, preparing to meet the July 14, 2015 deadline. The myriad licensing models, program options, and cost scenarios for a Win2k3 migration make it a daunting task involving multiple decision points.

The top three options for migration are Windows Server 2012, Office 365, and Microsoft Azure, which will be the focus of this post.

Microsoft Azure is an option that can be implemented as an alternative to or in conjunction with an on-premises migration to Windows Server 2012. Azure infrastructure as a service (IaaS) provides organizations with a flexible cloud computing platform to build, deploy, and manage applications in a predictable operational expense model based on consumption. Microsoft Azure enables organizations to make an initial monetary commitment based on anticipated usage and future growth.

The most cost effective means to procure and manage Azure is through the Enterprise Agreement (EA) program. Here are three options for organizations looking to procure Azure under an EA model. (more…)