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

  • 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....

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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)....

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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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  • Some Probable (and Maybe Far-flung) IT Sourcing Predictions Jon Winsett
    CEO, NPI
    04.26.17

    How will IT sourcing fare in 2017? The team here at NPI had fun with this brainstorm back in January. While we had no intention of publicizing the conversation at the time, I just came across my notes and found some of the insights to be interesting. Some of our predictions seemed a little far-fetched...

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  • Court Ruling Prompts Warning for SAP Customers Rich Staas
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    04.19.17

    IT vendor audits are a fact of life these days – a fact made more difficult because compliance has become somewhat of a moving target. It can be a full-time job managing your entitlements and matching them with your license utilization. For SAP customers, that job is getting more difficult and risky, especially as it...

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  • Want More Savings From MPLS? Try Burstable. Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    04.13.17

    When MPLS was introduced as a replacement to Frame Relay in the late 1990s, it was deployed in much the same way. Customer Edge (CE) routers were connected to Provider Edge (PE) routers with a fixed bandwidth access line and a fixed bandwidth port speed that generally matched the access line. The only variable was...

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  • Which ServiceNow Implementation Partner is Best for You? Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    03.31.17

    I recently wrote a blog post on how to get a quick ROI on your ServiceNow purchase. Part of that is narrowing the time to value, and that starts with employing the right implementation strategy and partner. In this post, I’d like to focus on the latter. Using an experienced implementation vendor is a must....

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  • Microsoft Azure Blob Storage Gets Huge Upgrade, Big Price Cut Joshua Osborne
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    03.30.17

    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 Hauss, a Microsoft Azure Storage program manager had...

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  • Why Windows 7 and 8 Users Don’t Want a Windows 10-like Upgrade Experience Joshua Osborne
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    03.29.17

    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 a Windows 10-like update process on Windows 7...

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  • How to Determine the Real Cost Savings of Software Defined Networks Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    03.08.17

    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 virtualization. Research firm IDC has estimated the worldwide...

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  • Microsoft Sourcing Insights: Cloud Productivity Suite vs. Secure Productive Enterprise Dan Brewster
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    02.16.17

    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 securing new market wins through bundling. The Secure...

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  • Microsoft and the Decline of the On-Premise Renewal Discount Dan Brewster
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    02.14.17

    (This post was updated on October 24, 2017) Microsoft hit a major milestone in July 2017. For the first time, the vendor’s Office 365 online workplace tools brought in more revenue than its on-premise version of Office. While Microsoft continues to experience growing pains as it tries to replicate this cloud success in other areas...

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  • In a Twist of Irony, Inking a Deal with DocuSign Is Becoming More Complicated Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    02.01.17

    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 to consider: There are two kinds of Premier...

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  • ServiceNow Implementation and Adoption Considerations Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    01.13.17

    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 software applications turn into shelfware or get replaced...

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  • When it Comes to SaaS Pricing, It’s Still the Wild West Michael Schulman
    IT/Telecom Delivery Analyst, NPI
    01.11.17

    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 pros are realizing that those same vendors will...

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  • Oracle Targeting Java Users with Audits Jeff Muscarella
    Partner, IT and Telecommunications, NPI
    12.21.16

    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. While NPI hasn’t seen this activity first-hand, there...

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  • Windows Server 2016: Navigating the Processor-to-Core Transition Joshua Osborne
    Director of Client Services - Microsoft, NPI
    12.20.16

    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 8 cores in the new licensing model. Microsoft...

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  • What’s the Role of Your Reseller When You’re Buying from Microsoft? Dan Brewster
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    12.16.16

    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 third-party such as Dell, Software Spectrum, Insight, PC...

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  • Can You Answer These Questions About Your Key Technology Vendors? Jeff Muscarella
    Partner, IT and Telecommunications, NPI
    12.15.16

    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 a simple question like: What is our agreement...

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  • Microsoft Gets Nod on LinkedIn Acquisition from the European Commission Don Addington
    President, NPI
    12.08.16

    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 for the next five years. With all major...

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  • Flat IT Spending in 2017? Only if Alignment Between IT and Sourcing Improves Don Addington
    President, NPI|Don Addington, President, NPI
    12.07.16

    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 spending and hiring is expected to remain flat...

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  • Know Your Rights – What You Need to Know About Microsoft’s Product Terms Document Daniel Brewster
    Director of Client Services - Microsoft, NPI
    11.09.16

    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 and PUR, and outlines the specific use rights...

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  • What to Expect During Your Next ServiceNow Renewal Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    10.20.16

    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 them. The acquisition was a significant move for...

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  • Legacy Printer Fleets and Print Management Services – Can They Be Saved? Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    09.30.16

    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 claim information you received from your insurance provider?...

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  • Does Your IT Buying Team Have a Strong Defense? Rich Staas
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    09.28.16

    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 the best defense strategies in your negotiation playbook....

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  • Windows 10 Anniversary Update – Early Reactions Joshua Osborne
    Director of Client Services - Microsoft, NPI
    09.08.16

    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 update will have a broad impact – some...

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  • Negotiation and the Timing of a Microsoft Agreement Renewal Dan Brewster
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    08.25.16

    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 deal from Microsoft. Will you get the “best...

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  • Quick Thoughts on SQL Server 2016 Joshua Osborne
    Director of Client Services - Microsoft, NPI
    08.18.16

    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 Microsoft has been chasing down Oracle’s database customers...

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  • Cost Savings in Unexpected Places: Cisco Edition Chris Vicknair
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    07.27.16

    “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 fair share of surprises here at NPI. A...

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  • Paying a VAR for Managed Services? Be Careful.

    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 hardware, software and cloud vendors bundle their offerings...

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  • Windows 10 Anniversary Update Coming Soon Joshua Osborne
    Director of Client Services - Microsoft, NPI
    07.21.16

    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 personal consumer, an enterprise or both, this update...

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  • Dialing Up the Future of Managing Software in the Cloud Jeff Muscarella
    Partner, IT and Telecommunications, NPI
    07.19.16

    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 managing far more cloud-based licenses than perpetual ones....

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  • Healthcare IT Security Overspending – What Are the Culprits? Rich Staas
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    06.23.16

    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 – up from 5 percent in 2013 to 15...

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  • Big Microsoft News on LinkedIn, But Don’t Forget About SAP Jeff Muscarella
    Partner, IT and Telecommunications, NPI
    06.21.16

    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 of my own questions. On the surface, the...

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  • How AWS and Microsoft are Battling for Oracle’s Customers Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    06.16.16

    Microsoft and Amazon Web Services are doubling down on their efforts to unseat Oracle in the enterprise – and things are getting pretty heated. Microsoft recently announced its SQL Server database product is coming to Linux in 2017, a move that makes it easier for Oracle customers to switch to Microsoft. About 25 percent of...

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  • Are There Cost Benefits to Microsoft’s Server & Cloud Enrollment? Daniel Brewster
    Director of Client Services - Microsoft, NPI
    05.09.16

    The Server & Cloud Enrollment (SCE) is the successor agreement to Microsoft’s EAP (Enrollment for Application Platform) agreement, and it’s designed for those customers that are standardizing on Microsoft’s server and cloud technologies. The products offered under the SCE include Biztalk, the Core Infrastructure Suite, many of the CRM products, SQL Server and development tools....

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  • Confused About SAP HANA? Here’s What IT Sourcing Pros Need to Know Jeff Muscarella
    Partner, IT and Telecommunications, NPI
    05.04.16

    What is SAP HANA? Most enterprise IT sourcing pros have heard the name. Many of us have seen the pitch or read a bit about it, and some of us have participated in purchasing it. But there’s still a ton of confusion surrounding SAP’s HANA offerings. Some say it’s a new database while others call...

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  • The Skinny on Fiscal Year-end IT Purchases Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    04.26.16

    In the enterprise IT space, the last two weeks of any given month are the equivalent of Black Friday (or Cyber Monday now). Pick a month and you can bet it’s some behemoth vendor’s fiscal year-end, and deals are to be had for those purchasing with that vendor. These deals are often driven by Wall...

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  • Four Quick Tips to Get a Better Deal on Your Next Human Resource (HR) Solution Purchase or Renewal Rich Staas
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    04.19.16

    “The Workplace” has morphed over the last decade. New generations in the workforce and new trends in performance and human capital management have precipitated a new crop of HR software solutions and vendors. Companies are also searching for better ways to train and educate their workers, and that’s driven advancements in learning management systems (LMS),...

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  • What are the Trends Shaping IT Sourcing in 2016? Jon Winsett
    CEO, NPI
    04.15.16

    What’s driving the evolution of IT sourcing right now? NPI’s research into more than 600 sourcing organizations identified these 6 trends. 1. Licensing complexity outranks pricing. While pricing disparity continues to be a leading culprit of overspending, it’s quickly being eclipsed by vendor licensing complexity (and, for the telecom category, program complexity). 2. Transition to...

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  • Making Sense of BMC’s Remedy Options Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    04.14.16

    While ServiceNow may be the newer darling taking the IT Service Management space by storm, there are a lot of companies still using or considering a BMC Remedy solution. Whether you're considering BMC as a competitive option or revisiting the vendor as an incumbent, it’s useful to understand the various ways they are delivering their...

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