Microsoft Software Asset Management Best Practices: Understanding License Entitlements

By Cindy Barron-Taylor

Director of Client Services, Microsoft, NPI

March 06, 2019

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If you are following healthy Microsoft software asset management processes, you should be making a habit of reviewing your software inventory once or twice a year. When it’s time to look at Microsoft licenses that you are entitled to (a.k.a, entitlements) across your organization, here are a few items to keep in mind that will make the exercise less daunting.

Don’t rely on the Microsoft License Statement (MLS) in the state it’s provided to you.

Perform the due diligence of reviewing the filters that were used in creating it. There are a few steps you can take to ensure that what you see in the MLS is what you get in terms of entitlements. One is paying attention to “excluded organizations.” If you are in an Enterprise Agreement and trying to determine your entitlements for a specific enrollment, your enterprise-wide commitments must be met for the enrolled affiliate and all affiliates that are included in that enrollment. If you have excluded organizations/affiliates, those entities are not required to meet the same enterprise-wide commitment. So, when looking at entitlements, remember that if these excluded organizations have licenses assigned to them, you would not be able count them towards your entitlements for that enrollment as long as those organizations remain excluded.

For the purposes of mapping entitlements by EA enrollment, be sure you are comparing apples to apples. In the Organization Summary tab, compare these organizations to the ones listed in your EA. Are they the same? If not, for purposes of determining entitlements for that specific enrollment, do not include organizations in the MLS that are/were excluded from the enrollment you are mapping to.

Here’s another good Microsoft software asset management tip – remember there are some situations that might not always be accounted for correctly in your MLS due to the manual nature of the transactions.

A few examples of these are: license transfers (both in and out of your organization), grants provided and revised customer price sheets (CPS). When performing a “health check” of your entitlements, take a holistic view. If you are not sure if certain changes within your organization or Microsoft estate are reflected correctly in your MLS, find someone who can help you navigate this issue. Microsoft software asset management is notoriously complex.

Also, know that step-ups can make your entitlements look higher than they are.

Remember that both components (the original base license PLUS the step-up) are required for the resulting end license. A good example is the step up from Office Standard to Office Professional Plus. If you originally purchased Office Standard and then purchased the step up to Office Professional Plus, this may look like 2 licenses, when in reality, it’s both components that are required to end up with an Office Professional Plus license. Don’t fall into the trap of simply counting quantities on individual product line items. Make sure you are correctly considering all components required to change the character of the license edition and are not double counting.

Yes, this is complicated…..