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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • 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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  • 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 of...

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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 with...

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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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  • Microsoft Licensing for Both Apple and Microsoft in the Enterprise Dan Brewster
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    03.31.16

    I often have clients ask how they might integrate Apple devices in the enterprise. Virtually every client has some Apple investment – an iPhone, an iPad, or a Macbook Pro. Fortunately, Microsoft has made great strides on the Mac front in recent years. Microsoft Office 2016 is an elegant solution for Mac users that is...

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  • What the Future of Cloud Pricing Could Look Like Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    03.24.16

    One of the toughest aspects of navigating cloud pricing is that there’s no standard – it’s still the Wild West. This also presents an opportunity for enterprises to shape the future of cloud pricing and subscription models. First, let’s take a look at where we are today with cloud subscription and fee models. Some IaaS...

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  • Will you need to upgrade your System Center Configuration Manager environment to support Microsoft Windows 10? Daniel Brewster
    Director of Client Services - Microsoft, NPI
    03.22.16

    With Windows 10, Microsoft has moved to a SaaS-style update strategy, meaning updates will be issued on a more frequent basis. This is good news for some customers, yet could force them to update their System Center Configuration Manager environment to support new Windows 10 features. Since the Windows 10 launch in July 2015, Microsoft...

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  • Update – Postalized Pricing for Ethernet Access Has Arrived Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    03.21.16

    NPI has been asking for and predicting the coming of postalized ethernet pricing since early 2015. We are now beginning to see it in the marketplace. What is postalized pricing? In telecom speak, to “postalize” means to structure prices so they are not distance sensitive. For example, an enterprise that has more than 100 domestic...

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  • Healthcare IT Sourcing Tips for Purchasing Nurse Communication Systems Rich Staas
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    03.18.16

    With many compliance initiatives completed or well underway, many of our healthcare clients are now investing in new patient-centric IT solutions. One popular area is nurse communications systems, which eliminate inefficiencies in the nursing role and help to improve the quality of care by allowing nurses to spend more time with patients. They’re also a...

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  • Is Oracle Playing Fair in the Cloud? Let’s Hope Not Chris Vicknair
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    03.16.16

    It’s not a secret that cloud computing is the future of IT. Some companies are doing well in the cloud (Microsoft, Google and Salesforce…). But others haven’t quite figure out how to make it work (HP’s enterprise offering, Helion, for example). Oracle is in on the game as well. Oracle CEO, Mark Hurd, in an...

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  • Using Oracle and VMware? An Audit May Be on the Horizon Jeff Muscarella
    Partner, IT and Telecommunications, NPI
    02.25.16

    Will you be audited by Oracle in 2016? If you’re also a VMware customer (which many companies are), the answer could be yes. Oracle has become more aggressive in its auditing pursuits – specifically towards those customers running Oracle’s database in conjunction with VMware’s virtualization software. NPI has seen an uptick in audit activity and...

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  • Should enterprises take another look at Windows Phone? Joshua Osborne
    Director of Client Services - Microsoft, NPI
    02.18.16

    Windows Phone debuted a little more than 5 years ago. Microsoft came into the market well after several other players had established themselves (read Apple and Blackberry) – and the market’s reception was underwhelming. Fast forward to today and many that have tried to dip their toes into the Windows Phone ecosystem have either given...

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  • How Do You Decide Whether to Purchase Microsoft Client Access License Suites vs. Individual CAL Licenses? Daniel Brewster
    Director of Client Services - Microsoft, NPI
    02.15.16

    Microsoft learned a long time ago that it was easier to increase its market share for a particular product by bundling that product into a suite. Microsoft Office 1.0 included Word 1.1, Excel 2.0, and PowerPoint 2.0 and was first available in 1990. The suite offering enable Microsoft to more efficiently compete against products like...

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  • Microsoft Increases Device and User Minimum for Enterprise Agreements (EA) Jeff Muscarella
    Partner, IT and Telecommunications, NPI
    02.11.16

    At the beginning of February, Microsoft announced that it will increase the minimum EA commitment for commercial customers from 250 users or devices to 500. Effective July 1, 2016, the change applies to customers signing new Enterprise Enrollments or Enterprise Subscription Enrollments. Those commercial customers within the 250 to 499 user/device range will be guided...

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  • 4 Things to Optimize Your VMware ELA Renewal Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    01.27.16

    NPI has recently helped clients optimize several significant VMware ELA renewals. Some common themes emerged: Double-check the cost scenarios that VMware brings to the table – they may be exaggerated. VMware loves to underscore the merits of their ELA offer by creating a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario over the same term, which allows the ELA to...

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  • Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Moves to Per-Core Licensing Jeff Muscarella
    Partner, IT and Telecommunications, NPI
    12.21.15

    Microsoft recently announced that it will switch from a per-processor to a per-core licensing model for Windows Server 2016 Standard and Datacenter editions. While these offerings aren’t due to be released until the second half of 2016, Windows Server customers should pay close attention. Microsoft may not be billing this as a price increase, but...

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  • IT Spending Trends for 2016 – A Subcategory Shortlist Rich Staas
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    11.30.15

    In the weeks ahead, the market will be flooded with IT Spending Forecasts for the coming year. While NPI isn’t in the business of producing such forecasts, we do have a close pulse on where our clients are planning to spend their IT budgets and where they’re most concerned about overspending. Here are the top...

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  • 5 Things Observed When Optimizing Recent CA Transactions Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    11.24.15

    NPI regularly helps clients optimize purchases and renewals with CA Technologies, covering both mainframe and distributed environments. While every client situation is unique, here are a few takeaways. 1. Competitive take-out situations still drive aggressive pricing behavior even for deals that are in the low six figures. Customers should go beyond standard discounting expectations and...

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  • NetApp Pricing Trajectory Spells Good News for Patient Buyers Chris Vicknair
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    11.17.15

    NetApp’s health over the last couple of years has some customers nervous. The vendor has seen its market share – which grew steadily from 6.5% in 2005 to 13.1% in 2013 – decline over the last two years. NetApp seems to be suffering primarily from a stagnant product set, coming last to the party for...

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  • What You Need to Know Before Your Next Juniper Purchase or Renewal Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    11.13.15

    Routers, switches, SDN and network management – it may not be exciting, but networking technology is still the heartbeat of enterprise IT. It’s also an area of pricing commoditization among vendors, including Juniper Networks. Juniper’s pricing continues to be very competitive. But that doesn’t mean its customers aren’t overpaying, overbuying and signing sub-optimal agreement terms....

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  • Dear Marketing – If You’re Going to Buy IT, Here Are Some Purchasing Tips Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    11.11.15

    Marketing continues to garner an increased share of companies' IT spend. So much that terms like “multiplatform” and “SMAC” have become CFO jargon. As the line between marketing and IT blurs (thank you, digital marketing), the vendor landscape is getting broader and more complex. New providers are emerging, older providers are evolving, and there is...

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  • Should I Upgrade to Office 2016? Joshua Osborne
    Director of Client Services - Microsoft, NPI
    11.06.15

    Despite being one of Microsoft’s flagship products, Office has been losing its luster and excitement over the years. I mean, how many times can new fonts, art, graphics and other creative features be the most exciting updates to the newest version? It’s no wonder customers are approaching an upgrade to Office 2016 with a yawn....

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  • Microsoft Office Pro Plus or Office Pro Plus for O365? Joshua Osborne
    Director of Client Services - Microsoft, NPI
    10.23.15

    One question we find ourselves answering often these days is “what is the difference between regular Office Professional Plus and Office Professional Plus for O365 (Office 365)?” On the surface both products sound very similar, and from a functional perspective that is true. The difference boils down to this: Office Professional Plus is the perpetual...

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  • What is a Microsoft License Statement? Why do you need one? Daniel Brewster
    Director of Client Services - Microsoft
    10.22.15

    Have you ever asked your Microsoft account team to help you understand what licenses you own? If so, you may have received a spreadsheet listing the contents of your current Select or Enterprise Agreement. While that information is useful, it’s not complete. It only includes data on what you have bought during the current agreement...

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  • Colocation: Retail or Wholesale? Rich Staas
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    09.14.15

    When looking for a colocation (colo) provider for your datacenter needs, there are several things to consider when making the choice. One decision is whether to go with a retail or wholesale provider. Both allow you to rent space for servers and other computing hardware, but their business models and pricing/contracting behavior are very different....

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  • Offshore Development – Assign the Right Tasks, Pay the Right Price Chris Vicknair
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    08.26.15

    So you’ve decided to outsource and/or hire offshore IT developers. The decision was the “easy” part. Now comes the search, research and selection of a vendor. There are lots of things to consider and important decisions to be made. Often, the first thought is, “I’ll use one of the big 3 (Accenture, Deloitte, Atos) and...

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  • SAM Needs to be Watched Jeff Muscarella
    Partner, IT and Telecommunications, NPI
    08.19.15

    Software Asset Management has been with us for well over two decades now. Large companies spend millions of dollars a year on SAM teams, tools and ongoing training. So how is it that fewer than 20 percent of the companies we work with actually have useful deployment data when it comes to a license audit...

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  • It Now Costs Providers Less to Deliver Network Services – But Are Those Savings Being Passed On to You? Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    08.03.15

    We talk about “beware of the bundle” quite a bit on this blog, and for good reason. One example I’ve referenced in the past is the cost of storage provided as part of bundled services. In most cases, the cost of services such as network backup/archive that incorporate storage do not necessarily reflect the spiraling...

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  • Word on the Street: Avaya to Raise Cost of Annual Maintenance Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    07.28.15

    Word on the street is that Avaya is again changing the options and costs of their annual maintenance program for enterprise survivable servers (ESS). The current program includes these options: ESS Co-Delivery – Co-delivery (C/D) support is where an Avaya partner is primarily responsible for monitoring and delivering support. All Tier 1 and 2 support...

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