Let’s stop overspending on IT purchases.

The SmartSpend™ blog is a resource to help readers save money on IT and Telecom purchases, brought to you by NPI’s consultants and vendor-specific subject matter experts.

The Latest News On IT Sourcing

  • Top 5 Causes for Software License Noncompliance
    NPI
    11.08.19

    Most enterprise software license compliance issues are unintentional. By and large, companies try to walk the line through rigorous software asset management and transparency with software vendors. Despite those efforts, however, most software audits uncover non-compliance – and the penalties associated with these compliance failures can be massive. Fees in the 7- to 8-figure range...

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  • 6 Hidden Telecom Costs Exhausting Your IT Budget
    NPI
    11.01.19

    Telecom costs are notoriously difficult to manage – so difficult that, despite a growing number of telecom expense management solutions in the market, most enterprises don’t have the resources or expertise to adequately manage their spend and instead take an autopilot approach to telecom cost control. Across NPI’s client base of 500+ enterprises, our data...

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  • 5 Questions to Ask Before Renewing an Unlimited License Agreement (ULA) Rich Staas
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    10.23.19

    Do you have an Unlimited License Agreement (ULA) up for renewal in the next six months? If the answer is yes, keep reading. It’s easy to approach ULA renewals with a business-as-usual attitude. We often assume a renewal is a re-signing of a well-negotiated, well-structured deal. Unfortunately, that’s not always (or even usually) the case....

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  • In the Market for Data Science Software? Ask Vendors These Questions Before You Buy. Gregg Spivack
    Vice President of Client Services, NPI
    10.21.19

    Data science software is a hot market. How hot? As things stand currently, VCs are racing to support the hypergrowth happening across the vendor landscape, and new AI solutions are cropping up daily to solve problems ranging from inventory forecasting to fraud detection (and everything outside and in between). Meanwhile, enterprise interest in data science...

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  • The Hard-Dollar Cost of Delays in Wireline Carrier Contract Negotiations Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    09.20.19

    Negotiating a new wireline carrier contract can easily take as long as six months. Why so long? Because it benefits the carrier. In this blog, we review scenarios that explain the critical importance of timing as you negotiate a new contract with your wireline carrier.

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  • Yes, It’s Okay to Overthink IT Storage Renewals
    NPI
    09.18.19

    Overthinking has a tendency to get in the way of progress in most areas of life. But when it comes to IT sourcing, overthinking is a good thing for IT storage renewals and purchases. By default, storage is about as commoditized and un-thrilling as it gets in IT. That makes it incredibly easy for companies...

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  • Deep-dive Into Microsoft E5 Pricing – Is This Bundle Optimal For Your Needs? Dan Brewster
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    09.13.19

    Microsoft loves bundles. Case in point? Microsoft E5, E3, E1, etc. – the list truly does go on. In fact, Microsoft is somewhat of a legend in this regard. Microsoft’s use of bundles dates to 1990 with the release of Microsoft Office 1.0. At that time, the Office bundle included Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and...

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  • The Complexities of Managed Print Pricing Kristian Tuinzing
    Client Services Manager, NPI
    09.11.19

    Over the last decade, managed print pricing and the ecosystems and agreements that govern it have changed quite a bit. Adoption at the enterprise level is past the 33 percent mark and is estimated to grow to 50+ percent by 2020, which is more than double compared to 10 years ago. That growth has translated...

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  • 4 Big Holes in Your IT Budget and How to Plug Them Kim Addington
    Chief Operating Officer, NPI
    08.28.19

    The current IT cost management environment is prompting companies to rethink how they budget IT and reduce overspend risk. Here are four of the biggest IT budget cost pitfalls and how they can be mitigated during the IT budgeting process.

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  • Considering a Move to Google G-Suite? Read This First. Gregg Spivack
    Vice President of Client Services, NPI
    08.21.19

    NPI has seen a slight uptick in the number of enterprise clients considering Google’s G-Suite, which for most is a move away from Microsoft’s O365 platform. As this is usually a big dollar item, it’s extremely important to optimize this first transaction with Google. Why? Because this first purchase is typically when customers have the...

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  • Don’t Underestimate the Power of Team Alignment in IT Vendor Negotiations Rich Staas
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    08.15.19

    The list of things that affect the outcome of IT vendor negotiations is long. We spend a lot of time on this blog talking about licensing and subscription pricing and optimization, as well as what’s driving vendor behavior – all of which critically shape whether your organization will receive a “fair deal” on IT purchases...

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  • How to Avoid Overspending on IT Purchases Kim Addington
    Chief Operating Officer, NPI
    07.11.19

    Despite all of the advancements in IT sourcing (we’re looking at you, SAM!), and despite the pricing transparency promised by an increasingly cloud-dominant IT infrastructure, IT overspending is still rampant across the enterprise sector. NPI’s visibility into IT spending patterns across nearly 500 enterprises indicates that companies overpay for 75 percent of IT purchases, particularly...

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  • 5 Benefits of Software Asset Management Kim Addington
    Chief Operating Officer, Client Services, NPI
    07.09.19

    Software asset management – it’s a term we find ourselves running into at multiple intersections these days. Our clients are talking about it more than ever as they try to wrangle ever-growing software portfolios. So are the vendors our customers do business with (for different reasons… more on that later). The discipline has been around...

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  • Keeping Up with Microsoft 365’s Product Terms and Impending Deadlines Cindy Barron-Taylor
    Director of Client Services, Microsoft, NPI
    06.28.19

    As many of Microsoft’s customers are in hybrid states between cloud and on-premise usage, it’s important to consider Microsoft 365’s Product Terms – specifically how often they change (hint: quite frequently!). It can have a significant impact on your organization’s compliance.

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  • Is Microsoft’s Power BI Premium Right for You? Dan Brewster
    Director of Client Services, Microsoft, NPI
    06.26.19

    Power BI is a super data visualization tool and enterprises of all sizes are using it to share data insights throughout the organization. Microsoft offers three types to meet different customers’ analytics needs – the free Power BI Desktop, Power BI Pro and Power BI Premium. Power BI Desktop is free and gives you the...

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  • Pricing Challenges for Buyers of Application Security Testing Solutions Kristian Tuinzing
    Client Services Director, NPI
    06.20.19

    Application security testing (AST) is a complicated $3+ billion market, particularly when it comes to pricing. The three main classifications of testing tools in this security subcategory are dynamic (DAST), static (SAST) and interactive (IAST). The pricing differences between tools and vendors are complicated to analyze – and it’s easy to fall prey to the...

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  • Tips for Getting the Best Deal on Data Visualization Gregg Spivack
    VP, Client Services, NPI
    06.18.19

    In the age of Big Data and sophisticated analytics, NPI is seeing an increase in the number of deals it reviews for data visualization tools. Below are some of our observations on the players and how to secure the best deal during vendor negotiations. There are several players in this space, but the ones we...

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  • 5 Ways to Optimize Costs and Contract Terms with Infor Rich Staas
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    06.04.19

    As the largest privately held technology provider in the world, Infor has undergone a unique evolution. Originally focused on software ranging from ERP to CRM (and most things in between), Infor began purpose-building its software for specific industry niches and packaging these vertical solutions into its CloudSuite offerings. When looking at Infor in the cloud,...

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  • The End of O365 E4 – What Are Your Options? Cindy Barron-Taylor
    Director of Client Services, Microsoft, NPI
    05.30.19

    Still in an agreement where you’re purchasing Office 365 Enterprise E4 (O365 E4)? You’re not alone. While this offering was retired in 2017 and Microsoft permitted customers to switch to a new plan at any time, Microsoft did not require that switch until renewal time. Now, many enterprises are facing that milestone – a renewal...

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  • Following Microsoft Acquisition, GitHub Gets Tough at the Negotiation Table Chris Vicknair
    Client Services Director, NPI
    05.24.19

    It’s always interesting for NPI to watch what happens when a technology vendor is acquired by another larger company. Will the acquired company fold right into the culture and operations of the acquirer, or will they continue to operate relatively independently and maintain their pre-acquisition culture? Will there be a big push to close lots...

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  • Should You Agree to a Microsoft Audit? Dan Brewster
    Director of Client Services, Microsoft, NPI
    05.22.19

    As previously discussed in another blog post, you should always seek assistance before you agree to a Microsoft audit. Why? It’s simple enough – the findings will rarely be in your favor and preparation is a must. There are two ways in which Microsoft conducts audits. The first is called a Software Asset Management (SAM)...

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  • What’s Driving Changes in Teradata’s Pricing Strategy? Kristian Tuinzing
    Client Services Manager, NPI
    05.08.19

    The analytics giant Teradata is combating falling revenues and the painful transition from on-premise to cloud delivery and fee models. This is one of the factors that have driven changes to Teradata’s pricing strategy. Here’s what you need to know.

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  • Changes to Microsoft 365 Dual Use Rights Cindy Barron-Taylor
    Director of Client Services, Microsoft, NPI
    05.01.19

    The information in this blog post has recently been updated. Please refer to our latest post from 6/28/19 >> Keeping Up with Microsoft 365’s Product Terms and Impending Deadlines With so many changes impacting Microsoft’s flagship on-premise products and the online advanced Microsoft 365 equivalents, we’re seeing regular announcements from Microsoft regarding use right changes....

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  • 2019 Healthcare IT Spending Trends – What We’re Seeing Rich Staas
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    03.29.19

    Healthcare IT spending continues to tick upwards – but how much of that spend is going toward transformational IT initiatives? Industries like retail and banking have been driving (and battling) digital disruption for a few years now. The healthcare industry is now starting to feel (and capitalize on) the impact of digital disruption. Big investment...

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  • Merger Best Practice: Perform IT Asset Rationalization Earlier! Chris Vicknair
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    03.27.19

    If you’ve ever been through a merger, you know how daunting the execution can be. In every area of the business, it’s a lot of work to blend two companies into one. The merging of the two IT estates, what we call IT asset rationalization, is one of many challenges. In most mergers, there is...

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  • Microsoft Azure Hybrid Benefit – Great Way to Save on Cloud or Compliance Trojan Horse? Joshua Osborne
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    03.25.19

    In its quest to outshine Google and AWS – specifically when it comes to cost – Microsoft introduced the Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server. Per Microsoft’s website: The Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server allows you to save up to 40% on Windows Server VMs in Azure by utilizing your on-premises Windows Server licenses...

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  • NPI News: More Ways to Overcome Your IT and Telecom Sourcing Challenges Don Addington
    President, NPI
    03.21.19

    When NPI launched its business in 2003, AWS was three years away from existence, Salesforce.com revenues were a mere $50.9 million (compared to $10.5 billion today), and Yahoo was a popular search engine. Enterprise IT purchasing also looked very different. Mind you, it was difficult and vendor pricing was all over the map. But nothing...

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  • Licensing with the Microsoft Products & Services Agreement (MPSA) Dan Brewster
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    03.08.19

    Are you a large enterprise client with Microsoft who hasn’t bought off on the concept of Software Assurance? If so, the Microsoft Product & Services Agreement (MPSA) may be for you. The Microsoft Products and Services Agreement is a transactional licensing agreement for commercial, government, and academic organizations with 250 or more users/devices. MPSA works...

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  • Microsoft Azure Pricing: Pay as You Go vs. Reserved Instances Dan Brewster
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    02.13.19

    Confused by Microsoft Azure pricing? It’s actually pretty simple – the company offers Azure on a Pay as You Go basis, or you have the option to pre-purchase a “Reserved Instance” for one or three years for many of the Azure products. A Reserved Instance is an upfront commitment for an Azure service, and in...

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  • Microsoft Healthcare: Renewed Focus Offers Rewards and Risks Joshua Osborne
    Director of Client Services, Microsoft, NPI
    02.05.19

    In 2018, Microsoft reestablished and reengineered its focus on the healthcare industry. Sales teams have been restructured, leadership moved to create new alignments and reporting structures, and agreements and guidelines were re-messaged. As a result, we’re seeing a more systematic approach to the sales and pricing process. This is all part of Microsoft’s strategy to...

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  • Enterprise Video Conferencing and Collaboration – Competitive Options to Consider Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    01.15.19

    When it comes to enterprise video conferencing and collaboration, companies have more options than ever. While Cisco WebEx and Microsoft Skype for Business may still get the majority of mindshare based on tight integration with their embedded deployments within the enterprise, a growing number of companies are looking beyond these industry stalwarts to alternative solutions....

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  • The Microsoft Enterprise Agreement Renewal and Enterprise Renewal Form – It’s Worth a Second Look! Cindy Barron-Taylor
    Director of Client Services, Microsoft, NPI
    12.21.18

    When thinking about your upcoming Microsoft Enterprise Agreement Renewal, you’re probably eager to make the process as simple as possible by removing any unnecessary steps and cutting back on the amount of content you, or others in your organization, must review. But there are some things you really need to inspect. The Enterprise Renewal Form...

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  • 5 Overlooked Benefits of Software License Optimization NPI 12.13.18

    On the surface, the aim of software license optimization (SLO) is simple enough: buy only the licenses/subscriptions needed based on current and future business requirements. Cost management is the most obvious driver – software vendors are notorious for trying to sell you more than you need – sometimes to the tune of millions of dollars....

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  • White Box Servers – Are They Worth Considering? NPI 11.01.18

    As server hardware becomes increasingly commoditized, NPI finds enterprise clients looking for ways to lower costs in this area. One solution is the use of white box servers. White box servers are data center servers that are not manufactured by a brand name vendor such as Dell, HPE, Cisco UCS or Lenovo. However, plenty of...

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  • Microsoft O365 F1 – Finally a More Useful K1/K2 Replacement! Joshua Osborne
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    10.29.18

    This year, Microsoft introduced O365 F1 – “a new offering that brings together Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security to deliver a complete, intelligent solution to empower all workers.” This offering is a replacement for the O365 K1/K2 SKUs. The O365 K1/K2 SKU offering was created years ago, mostly as a new...

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  • 4 Questions to Ask Before a Cisco Contract Negotiation Rich Staas
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    10.25.18

    Have a Cisco purchase or renewal coming up? If so, there are a few things you should know before negotiation discussions to better understand and apply your position of leverage, and optimize the outcome of your purchase or renewal.

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  • Microsoft Step-up License: Step Up and Get Your Money’s Worth! Cindy Barron-Taylor
    Director of Client Services, Microsoft, NPI
    10.23.18

    Reducing TCO is an ongoing challenge for Microsoft customers especially as the enterprise Microsoft estate expands. Enter the Microsoft Step-up License. For some customers, it’s a helpful (and cost-effective) way to “grow” into Microsoft’s more advanced technologies.

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  • Understanding the Microsoft EA True-Up Process Dan Brewster
    Director of Client Services, Microsoft, NPI
    09.26.18

    The Microsoft EA true-up process may seem straightforward, but – like many things pertaining to Microsoft – there’s room for confusion (and overspending) if not expertly navigated. Here’s an overview of how the Microsoft EA true-up process works.

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  • Highlights from ServiceNow Knowledge18 Conference Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    09.18.18

    A few months ago, ServiceNow held its annual global conference entitled “Knowledge18 (K18)” in Las Vegas. This event always produces exciting announcements about product direction and key areas of focus for the year, and K18 delivered several newsworthy items. Since so many of NPI’s clients are ServiceNow users we wanted to share some highlights. Best...

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  • Why Microsoft’s Product Terms are Important Dan Brewster
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    08.29.18

    As a former auditor for Microsoft, I’ve seen a lot of creative posturing around Microsoft’s product terms. A common statement often heard from Microsoft customers is: “Microsoft doesn’t say I can’t do it that way.” Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Microsoft (and other software vendors) don’t have to think of all of the potential...

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  • Microsoft License Management and Bi-Annual MLS Inspections Cindy Barron-Taylor
    Director of Client Services, Microsoft, NPI
    08.23.18

    Microsoft license management is tough. At least twice a year, you should take the time to review license purchases and status of software assurance. You might be surprised – and that’s not necessarily a desirable outcome when it comes to Microsoft spend.

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  • Will Artificial Intelligence Impact the Procurement Function? NPI 08.16.18

    As AI (artificial intelligence) works its way into the enterprise, it gives rise to many questions. For many job functions, the question is “Will AI replace my job?” If your job is IT sourcing, that’s doubtful. AI can potentially play a role in making the IT procurement process more efficient. It may have the power...

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  • The Benefits of IT GRC Solutions: A Primer for IT Sourcing Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    08.01.18

    Across NPI’s client portfolio, we’ve seen an uptick in IT GRC (Governance Risk & Compliance) solution purchases such as RSA Archer and ServiceNow Risk Management. This isn’t surprising given how difficult it’s become to streamline internal IT processes for things like audits (internal and external), risk assessments, regulatory scrutiny, vulnerability remediation, security and more. The...

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  • Why Wireless Carriers Want to End Their Device Subsidies Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    07.18.18

    AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless have slowly been trying to wean enterprise customers away from subsidized devices (and offer a much lower cost of monthly service instead). But is this really a good deal for the enterprise customer?

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  • Before Your Microsoft Renewal, Make Sure You Have These Items Cindy Barron-Taylor
    Director of Client Services, Microsoft, NPI
    07.11.18

    Preparation is one key to a successful Microsoft renewal. Rather than reactively allowing the expiration date to sneak up on you, I encourage you to be as prepared as you can with all the data points and documents you will need well ahead of time. This means ensuring that you have your current contracts such...

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  • Managing AWS Costs
    NPI
    06.14.18

    Questions surrounding effective management of AWS spend land upon our desks more and more frequently.  As an increasing amount of workload is being migrated to the cloud and price competition is slowly driving costs downwards (good news), we find many of our clients have difficulty managing their growing AWS costs. “Do you have a firm...

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  • Stay Current with Microsoft’s Product Terms to Avoid License Compliance Issues Dan Brewster
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    06.01.18

    As a former auditor for Microsoft, I’ve seen a lot of creative posturing around Microsoft’s product terms. A common statement often heard from Microsoft customers is: “Microsoft doesn’t say I can’t do it that way.” Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Microsoft (and other software vendors) don’t have to think of all of the potential...

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  • ServiceNow Discovery or Service Mapping? Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    05.31.18

    ServiceNow has emerged in the market as the leader in IT and Enterprise Service Management (ITSM). Over recent years, ServiceNow has grown its IT Operations Management (ITOM) suite of products to complement how customers respond to incidents and manage their environments. Two ITOM products that help customers realize this value are ServiceNow Discovery and Service...

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  • Microsoft Going After Google Chrome Browser and Others…Again Joshua Osborne
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    05.16.18

    A big issue for a lot of us as we use modern internet browsers is continuity across platforms and devices.  Historically, Microsoft has been rather late to the game. Google Chrome and even Firefox have had cross-platform browsers that worked very well across your various devices. Things that are important such as UI, cookies, favorites...

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  • GSG Rebrands as Sakon and Takes on SaaS Spend Visibility Challenge Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    05.15.18

    Telecom expense management provider Global Sourcing Group (GSG) recently rebranded itself to Sakon. Sakon is also the name of the company’s new expense management portal. Sakon is already a market leader in delivering expense management solutions for fixed and mobile communications. The established solutions - WirelineManager™ and MobileManager™ - are now supplemented by the next generation...

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  • Verizon’s Device Upgrade Program Quietly Revised Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    05.10.18

    Recently, a change was made to Verizon’s device upgrade program – one that could substantially impact enterprise clients. Although most enterprise agreements have included incentives that require a 24-month subscription, as a common practice over the past few years Verizon has allowed many enterprise customers to upgrade their device after 20 months (matching other cellular...

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  • NPI Named to Spend Matters 50 Providers to Watch in 2018 Jon Winsett
    CEO, NPI
    05.07.18

    Today, it was announced that NPI has been named to Spend Matters 50 Providers to Watch list for 2018. We’re proud of this accomplishment for many reasons – not the least of which is that we think this is indicative of something bigger happening in IT sourcing.

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  • Security Awareness Training Solutions – How to Get the Best Deal Michael Schulman
    IT/Telecom Delivery Analyst, NPI
    05.04.18

    The Security Awareness market has been steadily growing for years, but enterprise adoption of security awareness training services and solutions in 2018 is looking more like a hockey stick than the gradual adoption NPI has seen in years past. That’s leading to a more crowded vendor marketplace and an expanding portfolio of solutions/services per vendor.In...

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  • ServiceNow Kingston Release Highlights Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    05.02.18

    Since a large number of NPI clients have sizable ServiceNow investments, we wanted to share a few highlights on the ServiceNow Kingston release.ServiceNow announced its latest release in January. As with all ServiceNow releases, there is plenty to be excited about. While Kingston has new features across the product set and platform, ServiceNow talks about...

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  • Want to Cut Microsoft Licensing Costs? Know Your User Profile Options Cindy Barron-Taylor
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    04.27.18

    There are a lot of ways to reduce Microsoft licensing costs – but there’s one that should be at the top of every enterprise customer’s list. If you are continuing year after year to license your organization exactly the same way for all users, it’s probably time for a change! By taking the time to...

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  • Pros and Cons to Consider Before Buying Cloud-based Data Center Backup and Recovery Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    04.13.18

    Thinking about buying cloud-based data center backup and recovery? You’re not alone. As companies seek to store and protect greater volumes of data, cloud storage solutions present an attractive alternative to on-premise data center backup and recovery solutions.Historically, data center backup and recovery has always been important, but hasn’t been a “tier 1” spend item...

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  • Microsoft License Downgrade Rights – Know Them! Dan Brewster
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    03.30.18

    Did you know that Microsoft only sells current versions of its products? What happens if you purchase a current version of Office Professional, yet your firm has not yet deployed that version throughout the organization? What are your Microsoft license downgrade rights? Well, like a lot of things licensing-related, it depends.  If you purchased the...

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  • PCs: When to Lease, When to Buy Kristian Tuinzing
    Client Services Manager, NPI
    03.29.18

    Is it better to buy or lease PCs? It’s a question that comes up often in client conversations as companies try to discern how end-user PC pricing is impacted in either scenario. There’s not a simple answer to this question, and it’s not an area where fair market value rests on price alone. The major...

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  • Has Your IBM Enterprise License Agreement (ELA) Lost Value? Rich Staas
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    03.27.18

    Has your IBM Enterprise License Agreement lost value? Are you still paying maintenance on licenses you don’t need or use? These are two questions IBM customers need to ask. Maintenance is valuable recurring revenue, especially for legacy vendors like IBM, and they work very hard to preserve the run rate with each customer. One tactic...

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  • IT Cost Reductions Ahead for Cloud Access Security Broker Solutions? Kristian Tuinzing
    Client Services Manager, NPI
    03.22.18

    The Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) solution market is heating up. While this could be good news for enterprises seeking IT cost reductions across their cloud ecosystem (competitive pressures have a way of driving down price), it’s also a volatile, nascent marketplace. New technologies that fill a major demand in the market have a way...

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  • Data Center Pricing – Know the Four Basic Elements Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    03.08.18

    More enterprises are migrating their corporate data center(s) to external co-location facilities. One of the many challenges they face is navigating disparate and confusing pricing models. Some providers only charge for power and network while others charge for power, space and network. Some charge different rates for cooling power versus cabinet power and all charge...

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  • What You Need to Know About Windows Server Licensing and External Users Dan Brewster
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    02.15.18

    Microsoft has made many changes in the last several years relating to Windows Server Licensing –specifically as it relates to external user access. First, what is an external user? Look to the Microsoft Product Terms document for the definition: “External Users means users that are not either Customer’s or its Affiliates’ employees, or its affiliates’...

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  • ICYMI: Updates on Microsoft Office 2019 and the Future of Skype for Business Joshua Osborne
    Director of Client Services - Microsoft, NPI
    02.07.18

    In case you missed the news that came out of Microsoft’s Ignite! last fall, here are two items regarding Microsoft Office 2019 and Skype for Business that impact enterprise customers. As we work with clients, we’re finding that they’re not necessarily aware of this news and its implications.First is the release of Microsoft Office 2019,...

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  • Software Procurement Advice for MongoDB Buyers Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    02.02.18

    Software procurement is tough in the best of circumstances – layer in the complexity of open source database software and it’s even more daunting. NPI is seeing an increasing number of these purchases – particularly with MongoDB. MongoDB is a New York-based “startup” that just recently completed a $192 million IPO.The company, which finds itself...

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  • Microsoft Volume Licensing Update: The Fine Print on Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE) Cindy Barron-Taylor
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    01.24.18

    If you’re a seasoned Microsoft Volume Licensing customer, you’re probably familiar with Microsoft’s Enrollment for Core Infrastructure (ECI). This Enterprise Agreement enrollment was originally designed to simplify licensing and help  Microsoft Volume Licensing customers manage their core infrastructure more efficiently. In 2013, Microsoft announced that it would replace the ECI with a new enrollment –...

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  • Customer Experience Software is a Rapidly Growing Niche Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    01.12.18

    As a consumer, you’ve probably noticed that companies today are trying to get feedback on customer experiences any way they can, on any device and at any time. Just think about the last time you ordered a meal from a food delivery service, rented a car or booked a hotel room. There’s a good chance...

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  • Early Renewals: IT Cost Savings Friend or Foe? Tricia Peck
    Program Manager, NPI
    12.06.17

    NPI clients sometimes receive unsolicited early renewal offers from vendors. Are they an opportunity for IT cost savings, or an opportunity to overspend? Here are 5 questions to ask upon receipt of an unsolicited early renewal offer to help you determine the best and most cost-conscious path to renewal:1. Why might this vendor be pushing for...

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  • Excited About Windows Insider Lab for Enterprises? Be Careful Dan Brewster
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    11.30.17

    Microsoft recently rolled out a new program called the Windows Insider Lab for Enterprise or “WILE.” The WILE program is an invitation-only program targeted towards enterprise accounts with a stated goal of having IT pros test-drive services and features in Microsoft’s latest online offerings...

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  • 4 IT Procurement Tips for Amicable Vendor Negotiations Tricia Peck
    Program Manager, NPI
    11.14.17

    As NPI advises clients on negotiation strategy for IT purchases, we find that some IT procurement professionals are comfortable being very aggressive and others are concerned about straining a positive relationship with their vendor by pushing for further pricing discounts and incentives. Many of these vendors are long-term, strategic partners that provide critical infrastructure, tools...

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  • Finally, A Realistic Approach to Telecom Expense Management Jeff Muscarella
    EVP, NPI
    11.07.17

    The global TEM market is positioned to grow 14.2% over the next decade and reach $5.62 billion by 2025. Companies are struggling to manage telecom expenses well, and they need help. Here are the two questions I hear most often from executives tasked with reducing telecom costs...

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  • Why IT Price Benchmark Analysis Should Be Part of Every IT Purchase or Renewal Kim Addington
    COO, NPI
    10.26.17

    Five percent. Those are the odds that enterprises are paying a fair price for any given IT purchase or renewal if they aren’t performing IT price benchmark analysis. Or, put another way, there’s a 95 percent chance that companies are overpaying during an IT buying event. Here’s some context: Of all of the IT purchase...

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  • Oracle and VMware/vSphere Licensing Concerns – Cloudy as Ever… Jeff Muscarella
    EVP, NPI
    10.20.17

    A while back, I wrote a post about the growing number of Oracle licensing audits involving customers’ use of VMware’s technology. What started as murmurs around compliance issues faced when running Oracle technology in a VMware environment has since turned into a roar. In the best of circumstances, Oracle licensing is tough to navigate. Add...

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  • Microsoft Contracts 101 Dan Brewster
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    10.05.17

    It’s no secret that sourcing Microsoft contracts, products and services is a complex undertaking. One of the first things IT buyers should get their head around are the various Microsoft contracts – and the multi-level “architecture” of how they relate to each other. There are several different types of agreement documents to review: The Microsoft...

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  • Are You Paying Too Much for Visual Studio? Cindy Barron-Taylor
    Director of Client Services - Microsoft, NPI
    09.28.17

    If your organization has more than a handful of developers, Visual Studio licenses are likely important to your organization. But what you may not be aware of is whether your Visual Studio licenses/subscriptions have been optimized for actual usage. That begs a larger question: How often do you reassess the needs of your developer team...

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  • Azure Update: Microsoft Acquires Cloudyn for Cloud Optimization and EMS Admin Finds New Home Joshua Osborne
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    09.11.17

    Microsoft’s promise to rapidly grow Azure services continues to play out as the vendor invests heavily in internal development and acquisition. The most recent evidence is Microsoft’s acquisition of Cloudyn, which was finalized at the end of July.Cloudyn helps enterprises and managed service providers optimize their investments in cloud services – a continuing challenge for...

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  • What Is “Fair Market Value” When You’re Buying Enterprise IT? Kristian Tuinzing
    Client Services Manager, NPI
    09.05.17

    What is fair market value (FMV)? It’s certainly integral to what we do here at NPI - let’s dig a little deeper.“Fair market value” is a term used in many fields, IT purchasing included, to describe a ‘fair’ price in a market. The IRS defines FMV based on precedent case law from United States v....

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  • Trending: Token-based VMware Enterprise Licensing Agreements on the Rise Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    08.25.17

    Over the last few quarters, NPI has seen an increasing number of VMware Enterprise Licensing Agreements (ELAs) that include some amount of tokens. For the uninitiated, token-based ELAs include what are essentially “credits” to be exchanged later when the customer needs a new license. The benefits of this arrangement are (1) flexibility for the customer...

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  • Understanding the Evolution of ServiceNow’s IT Service Automation Suite Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    08.18.17

    Let’s cut to the chase. ServiceNow’s evolution over the years has been impressive, but keeping up with its changing product portfolio can be confusing to customers. One reason is that the vendor’s target audience has changed from IT to an Enterprise scope as it creates new products and addresses new problems. This has led to...

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  • The Achilles Heel of Software-defined WAN & How to Leverage It Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    08.09.17

    The hype continues to grow surrounding software-defined (SD) WAN as the future of networking. While it’s true that SD WAN brings better control and efficiencies to corporate networking, its benefits can often introduce new complexities and management issues. One example is its “finding home” technology. SD WAN appliances are pre-configured so that the end user...

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  • Device vs. User – The Microsoft Counting Game Cindy Barron-Taylor
    Director of Client Services - Microsoft, NPI
    07.24.17

    Whether you are a new Microsoft enterprise agreement customer or have been one for years, Microsoft licensing counts are tricky business. How can you be sure that the true up-counts you provide to your Licensing Solutions Partner are correct?

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  • Windows Server Licensing Changes – Cost Neutral or Just Costly? Dan Brewster
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    06.06.17

    You’ve probably heard that Microsoft changed the licensing model for Windows Server with the release of Windows Server 2016 several months ago. Previously licensed on a per processor basis, the new licensing model follows the changes made with SQL Server 2012. All physical cores on a Windows Server must now be licensed on a per...

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  • Signing a Microsoft EA? Two Reasons to Check Your Enrollment Cindy Barron-Taylor
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    05.31.17

    Whether you are a new Microsoft Enterprise Agreement customer or a customer who has renewed their Enterprise Agreement multiple times, it’s important to be sure to review your Enrollment Details prior to signing your paperwork. Here are the top two reasons why...Your enrollment is where you define your enterprise (under section Enrolled Affiliate’s Enterprise). This...

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  • Doing a Large-Volume PC Refresh in 2017? Start Here. Kristian Tuinzing
    Client Services Manager, NPI
    05.05.17

    With the first quarter of 2017 behind us, the PC market continues to be ripe with advantages for both buyers and vendors. Analysts offer differing estimates on whether overall PC shipments increased or declined in 2016 – but all estimates of the change year-over-year are nominal. Analyst group IDC reported that PC shipments actually gained...

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  • Microsoft: Roaming Use Rights Discontinued Dan Brewster
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    05.03.17

    Roaming Use Rights for the Windows Enterprise operating system and the Windows VDA licenses are discontinued on January 31, 2017 or at the end of a customer’s existing enrollment (whichever is later). What are the implications for you if you’ve recently lost Roaming Use Rights for these products? It probably makes sense to first understand...

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