3 simple ways to take control of your Oracle licensing

three checksIt’s a simple fact: Software licensing is difficult to understand and manage. Even the savviest IT professional can struggle to comprehend certain complex language and terms in licensing agreements from the major software manufacturers. For example, companies report they often have difficulty understanding and complying with Oracle’s licensing rules, particularly when it comes to virtualization conflicts and upgrades that require additional licenses.

Case in point, one organization received a bill for millions of dollars, due in 30 days, after an audit revealed that the company was inadvertently virtualizing much of its infrastructure without the proper licensing. The organization brought on SHI, which eventually helped reduce the total cost owed by 90 percent, but this experience shows how ignorance of licensing can result in major costs.

Here are three common Oracle licensing challenges IT staffs are faced with, and three solutions that can alleviate those headaches and diminish the chances of an audit. (more…)

Adobe bolsters mobile workforce capabilities with Acrobat DC

too-much-paperA recent study by IDC found that more than 80 percent of document work is still not digital, with documents being printed often, especially when signatures are required. For today’s increasingly mobile workforce, the need to print documents can hamper business productivity.

In a move that aims to eliminate the hardships of working with digital documents and the need for paper, Adobe is introducing new software that makes it easier to handle important documents in the office, at home, or on the road. Working with PDFs has never been easier.

Adobe Document Cloud (DC) is a new cloud-based management hub that organizations can employ to create, review, approve, store, sign, and track documents. Acrobat DC offers dozens of new features for managing and working in PDFs that allow workers to create and manage documents from anywhere — a new touch-screen interface, digital editing functionality, e-signature capabilities, and more. (more…)

The ultimate guide to Microsoft SQL Server licensing

MazeMicrosoft’s grant program for SQL licensing expires on April 1, 2015. If you haven’t taken advantage of the grant’s offer of free per-core licensing, it’s time to determine if you’re eligible and act.

This offer and deadline are just one piece of a larger update to the way organizations license Microsoft SQL Server. While the new rules were enacted with the release of SQL Server 2012, many organizations are still trying to understand what these changes mean for them.

To help you better understand these agreements, we’ve written a primer explaining the main ways SQL is licensed, and the many other factors you have to consider when determining your licensing requirements. (more…)

Act now before you miss this Microsoft SQL licensing grant

hourglassIf you run Microsoft’s SQL Server, mark April 1, 2015 on your calendar – it could save your organization thousands of dollars.

That’s because April 1 is the deadline for Microsoft’s processor-to-core conversion grant. You might recall that Microsoft updated its licensing policies along with the release of SQL Server 2012. These rules changed the way servers were licensed, shifting from processor-based licensing to licensing the physical core. Now, in order to run SQL 2014, customers with an Enterprise Agreement (EA) must true up their per-core licensing, and doing so before April 1 will grant them blocks of free licenses.

As part of Microsoft’s extended grant incentive, customers that true up their licensing before April 1, 2015 will receive SQL per-core licensing grants for actual cores in use. Organizations that wait to complete this process until after April 1 will receive the minimum grant for only four cores per processor, leaving organizations to cover the rest. (more…)

What education customers must know about Adobe’s licensing changes

Adobe Creative CloudAdobe Creative Cloud burst onto the market in 2012 as an easy way for customers to keep Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and other applications up to date and accessible from anywhere. Over the last few years, subscription-based licensing has been the focus for many manufacturers, and Adobe has become an industry leader with more than 3 million Creative Cloud subscribers. In that time, Creative Cloud has replaced other licensing options for certain customers, and it’s about to become the exclusive source for the Creative Suite updates across all market segments.

Education customers should take note: On Feb. 28, 2015, Adobe will no longer offer Creative Suite 6 (CS6) through the Cumulative Licensing Program (CLP) or Transitional Licensing Program (TLP), with the expectation that customers will move to Creative Cloud.

CS6 was removed from commercial and government buying programs almost a year ago, compelling customers to purchase Adobe’s Creative Suite solely as an annual subscription through its Value Incentive Program (VIP). Adobe is now extending this change to education customers. Here’s what schools and universities need to know. (more…)

5 things to know about Microsoft’s free Windows 10 upgrade offer

UpgradeMicrosoft’s highly anticipated Windows 10 operating system is sounding even better than many expected. When Microsoft presented a deep look at Windows 10 on Jan. 21, it offered customers an added incentive to jump to its newest offering: The company revealed it will offer free upgrades to Windows 10 for qualified new or existing Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows Phone 8.1 devices. For customers who have not yet upgraded to Windows 8.1 from XP or Vista, this provides an excellent opportunity to maximize value, and to modernize their legacy OSes.

Microsoft’s Windows 10 demo and incentive announcement generated a lot of buzz, but also many questions. I’ve detailed five key insights you should be aware of regarding the Windows 10 news, and how it relates to your volume licensing agreements: (more…)

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…)