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 Ways to Reduce IT Staff Augmentation Costs Smita Manjunath
    Analyst, NPI
    09.03.20

    Enterprises have long relied on IT staff augmentation as a way to scale the IT function. But amid the economic fallout of the global health pandemic, we’re seeing expanded utilization by our clients as they submit rate cards to NPI for price benchmark analysis. Uncertainty, tightened budgets and a need to fast-track certain IT initiatives...

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  • SAP Self-Declaration: Annoyance or Opportunity? Jim Hussey
    NPI
    08.25.20

    If you’re an SAP customer, you’re likely familiar with the vendor’s annual contractual requirement to submit an SAP Self-Declaration and Measurement Plan. While this requirement is an annoyance for many customers, it can actually be something far more positive. First, let’s back up and discuss the notion of self-declaration and why it’s interesting in the...

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  • Negotiating an AWS Discount Matt West
    Director of Network Services, NPI
    08.13.20

    As the cloud war wages on and commoditized pricing persists, many enterprises wonder if it’s possible to negotiate a discount with Amazon Web Services beyond what the vendor publishes publicly. For some customers, the short answer is yes – an additional AWS discount is possible. While the numbers steadily evolve, recent data indicates AWS continues...

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  • Yet More Changes to Microsoft’s Firstline Worker SKUs Kevin Glunt
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    08.05.20

    When it comes to the evolution of Microsoft’s Firstline Worker offerings, it’s been quite a journey. First came the K1/K2 offering. The “K” was short for “kiosk” and provided users with limited functionality for Exchange email, Skype and SharePoint. In mid-2017, the K2 was retired, and the K1 was renamed to Office 365 F1. Microsoft...

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  • Demand for Third-Party Support on the Rise as IT Budgets Tighten Rich Staas
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    08.03.20

    With the pandemic putting new financial and operational strain on organizations, NPI has seen an uptick in the demand for third-party support for hardware and software. While there are a few drawbacks to third-party support, cost savings of 50 percent or even more make it attractive during economic volatility. The number of credible options has...

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  • Software Asset Management Best Practices: How to Select the Right SAM Solution Jim Hussey
    NPI
    07.20.20

    As NPI provides SAM-related services to our clients (license position assessments, software audit defense, etc.) and compliance issues are revealed, we’re often asked which SAM solution and tools should be considered to help enterprises up their SAM game. There are many credible solutions available in the SAM community, and the best choice will depend on...

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  • Electronic Signature Solution Pricing on the Rise Kristian Tuinzing
    Client Services Manager, NPI
    06.30.20

    Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, businesses continue to adapt practices to address communication challenges.  Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, GoToMeeting and other remote conferencing solutions have naturally received increased attention given their usefulness. But there is another space experiencing a surge in demand: electronic signature solutions. At the beginning of 2020, many business processes were...

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  • Behind the Microsoft PowerApps Cost Increase Joshua Osborne
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    06.22.20

    Microsoft has a storied history of subtly and not-so subtly making changes to its licensing methodologies. These changes can have variable impacts on cost – sometimes small or, in the case of the latest changes to Microsoft PowerApps licensing, quite material for some customers.

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  • Enterprise IT Security – Should You Pay For an Incident Response Retainer? Michael Schulman
    Client Services Manager, NPI
    06.17.20

    Times of crisis make attractive targets for bad actors, and it’s certainly true for enterprise IT security. The CSO Pandemic Impact Survey indicates 61 percent of security and IT leader respondents are concerned about an uptick in cyberattacks targeting employees who are working from home. As of mid-May, researchers at Check Point Software Technologies reported 192,000 coronavirus-related cyberattacks...

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  • IT Cost Reduction Best Practice: Stop Overspending on Software Maintenance
    NPI
    06.09.20

    Procurement organizations have the opportunity to drive maximum value for almost every budget dollar spent in an enterprise. And in some cases – like software maintenance – procurement’s actions (or inactions) can impact the financials for many years to come. Most procurement organizations are measured by a series of KPIs, one of which is savings....

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  • Amid Economic Volatility, Should You Lease or Buy PC Assets? Kristian Tuinzing
    Client Services Manager, NPI
    05.28.20

    With the coronavirus hitting hardware spending harder than many other areas of IT, PC purchasing habits are shifting as capital concerns hit more enterprises. One result that NPI is seeing from our clients is an increased interest in pricing for leasing, and other considerations around this core question: Should you lease or buy PC assets?

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  • On-Premise vs. SaaS – Enterprise Software Pricing Considerations and Negotiation Insights Rich Staas
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    05.20.20

    While some have said on-premise software is the new legacy, there are plenty of enterprises that are still wrestling with the transition. Two factors are amplifying the debate. First, current economic and industry volatility is accelerating certain IT initiatives – particularly remote workforce and digital transformation initiatives that will improve productivity, efficiency and customer experience....

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  • Healthcare IT: Are You Paying Too Much for Medical Abstraction Services? Chris Vicknair
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    05.06.20

    Healthcare organizations are digging deep for IT cost reductions like never before. One category that’s often overlooked is professional services. It’s an area where NPI regularly finds material savings and negotiates lower pricing and stronger discounts for project consulting and rate cards. One service we’re seeing more often this year is Medical Abstraction Services –...

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  • Cost Implications of ServiceNow Orlando Release – Enterprises Need to Approach Renewals with Caution
    NPI
    05.04.20

    ServiceNow recently rolled out its Orlando release – a healthy update of new features including new predictive intelligence and reporting capabilities, smarter CSM and HR Service Delivery features, enhancements to DevOps, GRC, ITBM and ITSM, and an updated mobile platform. The ServiceNow Orlando Release speaks to the vendor’s responsiveness to market demand. Its ability to...

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  • IBM’s License Metric Tool (ILMT) – Accuracy is Everything Jim Hussey
    NPI
    04.06.20

    This post on software license auditors’ use of IBM’s License Metric Tool was authored pre-COVID-19 pandemic. While many IT vendors are showing empathy to the unprecedented challenges of today’s business climate, NPI has not yet seen any change on the software license audit front. Vendors are still auditing their enterprise customers, new audit notifications are...

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  • What Happens When Your Vendor Won’t Budge on Price During IT Price Negotiations? Chris Vicknair
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    03.27.20

    There is an old saying in business: “Everything is negotiable.” And that’s largely true in enterprise IT price negotiations – but not always. Every now and again, we come across vendors that defy the norm. They set their pricing, and they will seldom (if ever) veer from that standard. Typically, these vendors utilize some type...

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  • 4 Tips for IT Sourcing Pros to Help Protect the IT Budget Amid Uncertainty
    NPI
    03.20.20

    As companies modify their operations in real-time to address the big challenges we are all facing right now, the IT hive is buzzing. Shifting to a “work from home” model is causing many companies to expand – or deploy for the first time – enterprise-grade collaboration technologies. Use of Microsoft Teams is presently 44M daily active users, up from 20M in November(!).

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  • G Suite or Microsoft Office 365? Joshua Osborne
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    03.10.20

    G Suite or Microsoft Office 365? For some enterprises, the answer is easy. For others, however – particularly those eager to rein in Microsoft spend or invest early in Google’s advanced AI capabilities – the answer requires deeper digging. Microsoft’s O365 is certainly the dominant player when it comes to enterprise end-user cloud computing. But...

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  • Will Coronavirus Impact IT Pricing? Kristian Tuinzing
    Client Services Manager, NPI
    03.03.20

    With the unknown but potentially severe global impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19), NPI has begun seeing ripples in the world of IT sourcing with some vendors citing “troubles” in their supply chains. Will coronavirus impact IT pricing? Similar to what we saw when new trade tariffs with China were announced, there’s a mixture of overstatement...

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  • What’s Behind the Increase in PC Pricing? Kristian Tuinzing
    Client Services Manager, NPI
    02.18.20

    Something has been amiss in the enterprise PC market – specifically PC pricing. Over the last three years, NPI has noticed that end-user laptops/desktops are getting noticeably more expensive. What started out as a nascent trend has become a recurring theme in the PC purchase transactions NPI  analyzes for our clients. Our research team recently...

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  • A Cost-Reduction Primer on Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security Pricing and Options Dan Brewster
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    02.10.20

    By now you’ve heard of Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security, and chances are, you’ve purchased the EMS E3 suite under your Enterprise Agreement. But… what, specifically, is this product? And what are Enterprise Mobility + Security pricing and options? Microsoft will tell you that EMS is “an identity-driven security solution that offers a holistic approach...

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  • 4 Ways Vendors Add Mystery (and Margin) to Their Pricing Rich Staas
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    01.28.20

    Many vendors are very secretive with regard to their pricing models and methods – and that serves them well. More complexity and less transparency makes it easier for vendors to negotiate higher fees while making it more difficult for buyers to counter those efforts. “Mystery equals margin” is what we call it at NPI. Here...

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  • 5 Cost Optimization Focal Points for VMware ELA Purchases and Renewals Gregg Spivack
    Vice President of Client Services, NPI
    12.20.19

    Clients submit thousands of purchases to NPI for price benchmark analysis. Because we service large enterprises, there are certain vendors and agreement types we see over and over.  A good example is VMware ELAs (both new and renewals). These deals are typically seven figures and encompass a growing number of offerings. If you have a...

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  • Why Microsoft’s Movere Acquisition Signals a Warning to Customers Joshua Osborne
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    12.04.19

    Back in September, Microsoft announced the acquisition of Movere, an 11-year-old cloud migration startup. It was a move many in the industry saw coming. Movere, formally known as Unified Logic, was founded in 2008 in Bellevue, Washington (where Microsoft also has a significant corporate and senior management presence). Microsoft has used Movere’s tools to assist...

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  • Competition Driving New Behavior in Application Performance Monitoring Pricing Kristian Tuinzing
    Client Services Manager, NPI
    11.15.19

    Back in 2017, when Cisco acquired AppDynamics, it was clear the application performance monitoring (APM) space was in for a shakeup. That assumption has proven true in the two years since the AppDynamics acquisition, and is backed by NPI’s observations in what we consider to be one of the more turbulent areas of pricing in...

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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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...

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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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  • 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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  • 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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