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FEATURED SMARTSPEND™ BLOG POSTS

RECENT SMARTSPEND™ BLOG POSTS

March 30, 2017

by Joshua Osborne, Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI

Last quarter, Microsoft announced a HUGE increase in object storage size within Azure. The vendor has increased the import/export size and it includes the capability to transfer data from a physical storage device. The previous size limit of 195GB has been increased to an enormous 4.77TB. Michael...Read more >

March 29, 2017

by Joshua Osborne, Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI

It’s no secret that Microsoft is over Windows 7 and 8 (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/13853/windows-lifecycle-fact-sheet). OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) can no longer install and sell the popular operating systems and Microsoft itself stopped selling the retail versions long ago. Another development in this story has been Microsoft’s decision to force...Read more >

March 8, 2017

by Matt West, Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI

When it comes to network technology, one of the hottest areas of growth is Software Defined Networks (SDN). The definition of SDN is an elastic one as the market evolves, but it encompasses various network technologies that are capable of enabling functions like automated provisioning and network...Read more >

February 16, 2017

by Dan Brewster, Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI

Have you heard about Microsoft’s Cloud Productivity Suite? Most clients haven’t – and the reason is that Microsoft is too busy promoting its Secure Productive Enterprise at every turn. Regular readers of this blog will know that Microsoft is focused on increasing its cloud market share and...Read more >

February 14, 2017

by Dan Brewster, Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI

Microsoft’s revenues continue to outperform investor expectations. Another area of strength – one that makes the folks in Redmond and on Wall Street very happy – is the jump in gross margin for Microsoft’s cloud offerings, which grew to 49 percent from 42 percent last quarter. The...Read more >

February 1, 2017

by Gregg Spivack, Director of Client Services, NPI

For a company whose electronic signature technology has simplified contracts for thousands of customers around the globe, DocuSign appears to be making its own customer contracts a little more complicated. If you’re a DocuSign customer approaching a renewal, or making an initial purchase, here are some things...Read more >

January 13, 2017

by Gregg Spivack, Director of Client Services, NPI

Congratulations! You’ve purchased this great new service management technology called ServiceNow – now what? It’s like a big box of Legos where anything can be built, so what’s the right approach to take to ensure success? Is there a tried and true model? You’ve seen many other...Read more >

January 11, 2017

by Michael Schulman, IT / Telecom Delivery Analyst, NPI

In the past, most IT Sourcing pros operated on the assumption that SaaS subscription pricing is relatively inflexible. But, things are changing. As much as some vendors would like customers to believe there is a regimented program that defines the price point of their subscriptions, IT Sourcing...Read more >

December 21, 2016

by Jeff Muscarella, Partner, IT and Telecommunications, NPI

Depending on whom you ask, Oracle’s transition to the cloud has been either specious or successful. Last week’s quarterly earnings gives us a little insight into the true state of things – as do recent claims the vendor is increasing software audit activity involving its Java software....Read more >

December 20, 2016

by Joshua Osborne, Director of Client Services - Microsoft, NPI

In October 2016, Microsoft changed its licensing for Windows Server 2016 from processor- to core-based. On the surface the transition is similar to when SQL moved to core-based licensing. Windows Server 2016 now has a core-to-processor conversion ratio of 8:1. This means that each processor converts to...Read more >

December 16, 2016

by Dan Brewster, Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI

Microsoft has several volume licensing programs for large corporate customers – the Select Plus program (which is being discontinued), the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA), and the Enterprise Agreement. The Select Plus and MPSA Programs are known as “indirect” agreements. You are actually buying from a...Read more >

December 15, 2016

by Jeff Muscarella, Partner, IT and Telecommunications, NPI

After working with hundreds of IT and sourcing professionals, I’m still amazed at how difficult it is for all of us to summarize key IT vendor relationships – especially in a format that works for senior business, IT, sourcing and finance executives. The dialogue always starts with...Read more >

December 8, 2016

by Don Addington, President, NPI

When Microsoft makes an acquisition, the world listens. Especially when that acquisition is LinkedIn at a price tag of $26 billion. Earlier this week, the European Commission gave its blessing on the condition that Microsoft allow competitive professional networking sites to integrate with its applications and services...Read more >

December 7, 2016

by Don Addington, President, NPI

It’s that time of year again – when next year’s IT predictions start to feel more…real. There is no shortage of analyst reports and market evaluations to ponder right now, but there is one that recently caught my eye. According to the Computerworld Tech Forecast 2017, IT...Read more >

November 14, 2016

by Jim Haller, Program Director, Transportation Services, NPI

This week, air maintenance workers at UPS voted to strike against the carrier as union negotiations reached an impasse over healthcare benefits. More info from Reuters: Air maintenance workers at United Parcel Service Inc (UPS.N) have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike against the world’s largest package...Read more >

November 9, 2016

by Daniel Brewster, Director of Client Services - Microsoft, NPI

Microsoft’s Product Terms document replaces the vendor’s previously-issued Product List and Product Use Rights (PUR). Microsoft migrated to this then-new single document back in July of 2015. But what exactly is it? The Product Terms document consolidates and distills the content previously published in the Product List...Read more >

October 20, 2016

by Gregg Spivack, Director of Client Services, NPI

ServiceNow’s beginnings may be cloud-based helpdesk, but the company has firmly planted its feet in the ITOM (IT operations management) space. In 2014, ServiceNow acquired Neebula and its acclaimed ServiceWatch offering, which discovers, maps and monitors the dependencies between business services and the IT services that support...Read more >

September 30, 2016

by Gregg Spivack, Director of Client Services, NPI

Printers – not exactly a sizzling hot area of IT, especially when it comes to managing a legacy fleet of printers that print customer-facing documents. Bear with me for a minute longer… You know that brochure for new banking services you received in the mail? Or that...Read more >

September 28, 2016

by Rich Staas, Director of Client Services, NPI

We talk a lot about IT buyer “team alignment” on this blog, and its role in complex IT negotiations (here’s another good post on the topic). It’s critical for determining purchase requirements from different stakeholders across the business – procurement, IT, financial, etc. It’s also one of...Read more >

September 21, 2016

by Jim Haller, Program Director, Transportation Services, NPI

Yesterday, FedEx announced its General Rate Increase (GRI) for 2017 in full detail. Like UPS’s GRI preview earlier this month, the announcement came early compared to years past. That’s a good thing. FedEx customers are going to need time to digest the significance and cost impact. Effective...Read more >

September 8, 2016

by Joshua Osborne, Director of Client Services - Microsoft, NPI

Microsoft recently released a major update to Windows 10 – dubbed the Windows 10 Anniversary Update (side note: Happy 2nd birthday, W10). There are an estimated 350 million Windows 10 users worldwide. So, whether you are using it as a personal consumer, an enterprise or both, this...Read more >

August 25, 2016

by Dan Brewster, Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI

We are asked all the time whether a client should expect a better deal from Microsoft if they happen to be renewing towards the end of a Microsoft fiscal period (quarterly, annually). While timing is important, it’s not the most important consideration when structuring the best possible...Read more >

August 18, 2016

by Joshua Osborne, Director of Client Services - Microsoft, NPI

The release of SQL Server 2016 in June marks an improved release pattern for Microsoft. With the past few releases of SQL Server, Microsoft has delivered a more on-time and consistently updated product. Anyone wondering why need only to look towards Oracle. The SQL Server team within...Read more >

August 11, 2016

by Jim Haller, Program Director, Transportation Services, NPI

When we think about the carriers that dominate the small parcel industry today, the “big three” come to mind: UPS, FedEx and the USPS. So, it’s easy to forget that DHL was once a meaningful part of the conversation. In the ‘90s and ‘00s, DHL handled more...Read more >

July 24, 2016

by Chris Vicknair, Director of Client Services, NPI

“You never know where you’ll find savings” is a phrase I catch myself saying to clients a lot these days. Most IT buyers are aware of the usual suspects of IT overspending – things like overbuying, over-licensing, etc. But, what about those unexpected culprits? We see our...Read more >

July 25, 2016

by Michael Schulman, IT / Telecom Delivery Analyst, NPI

Line item quotes, while tedious, are absolutely critical for ensuring a fair deal for enterprise IT and telecom offerings. NPI advises clients to ask vendors for line item quotes that include OEM part numbers, descriptions, quantities, list and net pricing. This has become increasingly important as more...Read more >

July, 21, 2016

by Joshua Osborne, Director of Client Services - Microsoft, NPI

Microsoft is scheduled to release its next major update to Windows 10 – dubbed the Windows 10 Anniversary Update – on August 2nd (side note: Happy 2nd birthday, W10). There are an estimated 350 million Windows 10 users worldwide. So, whether you are using it as a...Read more >

July 19, 2016

by Jeff Muscarella, Partner, IT and Telecommunications, NPI

SAP recently announced that its cloud revenues will surpass perpetual license revenues in 2017. While not every enterprise software vendor can claim the same, it’s more evidence that the cloud side of many vendors’ businesses are growing quickly. It’s only a matter of time before you’ll be...Read more >

June 23, 2016

by Rich Staas, Director of Client Services, NPI

The healthcare industry has always been a target for data breaches, second only behind retail. However, research suggests that healthcare organizations are eclipsing retailers when it comes to cybercriminals’ focus. In research published by IBM, the healthcare industry represents a growing percentage of all data breaches –...Read more >

June 21, 2016

by Jeff Muscarella, Partner, IT and Telecommunications, NPI

It’s been an interesting month in Microsoft news. The biggest by far was Microsoft’s announcement that it will be acquiring LinkedIn for $26.2B. If you haven’t had a chance to read Peter Bright’s thoughts on the acquisition on ArsTechnica, give it a gander. His observations echo many...Read more >