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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

  • 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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  • Microsoft Server & Cloud Enrollment (SCE): Navigating the Licensing Shift from EAP, ECI and EWA Joshua Osborne
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    07.24.15

    In Microsoft’s continued efforts to consolidate agreement offerings and give customers incentives to commit to Microsoft’s product portfolio, they announced the Server & Cloud Enrollment (SCE). The announcement came back in Q4 of 2013 (you can read more in a separate blog post here), but it’s only now that many companies are facing this change...

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  • MPSA – Where Microsoft Licensing is Going Joshua Osborne
    Director of Client Services - Microsoft, NPI
    07.20.15

    Microsoft licensing is a touchy subject. Many customers’ thoughts or comments on the topic aren’t too positive (to be nice). Even Microsoft employees and channels struggle to fully understand the changing offerings and product use rights across the product portfolio. It’s so complex that Microsoft employs hundreds of staff solely dedicated to product licensing. Will...

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  • Healthcare IT Spending Update Rich Staas
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    07.17.15

    Where are healthcare IT budgets going today? Aside from the costs of “keeping the lights on” (ongoing subscriptions, maintenance and support that consume an average of 72 percent of the budget), there are several areas where NPI is seeing an uptick in transaction activity across our healthcare client constituency. These reflect the numerous demands on...

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  • Cutting Through the Windows 10 Confusion Clay Conklin
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    07.15.15

    Confusion around Windows 10 has been rampant. The company’s attempts at clarification have only muddied the waters (check out this head-scratching blog post), and the vendor continues to catch heat for a series of communication misfires. Let’s get to the bottom of this, shall we? Here’s what you need to know about Windows 10: What...

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  • Microsoft Announces Big Layoff Jeff Muscarella
    Partner, IT and Telecommunications, NPI
    07.08.15

    Microsoft today announced that it will layoff 7,800 – approximately 6 percent of its workforce. It will also take a $7.6 billion charge during its fourth fiscal quarter (ended 6/30). While both of these changes are directly linked to the vendor’s highly-criticized acquisition of Nokia in 2014, they are telling of the state of affairs...

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  • How to Keep Salesforce.com Costs in Check Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    07.06.15

    It’s been an exciting first half of 2015 for Salesforce. Acquisition rumors have been swirling (despite some views that the asking price is far too high) and the company’s financials remain strong. The vendor’s solutions have expanded far beyond the sales department and into other areas such as marketing and development. All of this has...

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  • Healthcare IT Sourcing – Optimizing the Epic EHR Purchase Rich Staas
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    06.24.15

    Bigger isn’t always better. It’s a truism acknowledged by Epic Systems, a reputable provider of EHR and other software solutions for the healthcare industry. The vendor is renowned for its high-value products and services, and the loyalty it receives from a smaller (as compared to Cerner), but devoted (and growing…) customer base. It’s also known...

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  • Microsoft User CAL Price Increase Set for August 1st Clay Conklin
    Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI
    06.01.15

    On August 1st, Microsoft will be increasing its User CAL pricing for the majority of on-premise licenses between 13 and 15 percent. The following Microsoft User CALs will be affected: Core CAL Suite Enterprise CAL Suite Exchange Server Standard & Enterprise CALs Lync Server Standard, Enterprise, & Plus CALs Project Server CAL SharePoint Standard &...

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  • Buying Through a Reseller? What You Need to Know About Registered Deals Rich Staas
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    05.29.15

    Buying IT through a reseller has its advantages – and it also has its pitfalls, one of which is the registered deal. Here’s how it works… Many IT manufacturers, whether hardware or software, only sell through channel partners. When that occurs, the first reseller contacted by a customer will register the deal with the manufacturer....

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  • Are you considering a CLM (Contract Lifecycle Management) system? Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    05.27.15

    We’re in the business of optimizing the business terms of contracts here at NPI – so when our clients bring us in to review a contract lifecycle management (CLM) purchase or renewal, we come to the table with a unique perspective. The success of these CLM initiatives goes well beyond getting the best price or...

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  • IT Sourcing 101: Why is Pricing So Opaque? Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    05.20.15

    IT and telecom suppliers like to keep the details behind pricing as opaque as possible. The more they can bundle, the less the customer can compare pricing to competitors. That helps the vendor at selection time, but it’s even more beneficial down the road. Take the following example – an actual quote. It includes 20,000...

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  • Is Wifi Access Another Leaky Faucet in Your IT Budget? Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    04.23.15

    We spend a lot of time talking about the complexity of IT and telecom spend management on this blog. The pitfalls around sourcing and contract optimization are too numerous to count. But, what about the obvious cost leaks? There are many hidden in plain view. One of those is wifi access. The cost for enterprises...

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  • Considerations When Evaluating Workday or Renewing Your Agreement Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    03.24.15

    As Workday approaches $7B in annual revenue, it’s obvious that this nice cloud ERP/HRM story has become an IT stalwart. One sign of this maturation is the growing number of renewals NPI has reviewed – in the early days, we were just reviewing new purchases. While each contract situation is unique, following some basic tenets...

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  • Break Down the Elements of Cloud Cost Control Rich Staas
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    03.19.15

    As enterprise applications and infrastructure services move to the cloud, it’s important that companies take a different view of the IT purchase. Many of the traditional sourcing considerations that apply to on-premise solutions change with the cloud. Before entering an agreement with a vendor, companies need to understand and analyze potential hurdles to realizing the...

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  • AT&T Replaced by Apple on the Dow Jones – The Times, They Are A-Changing…. Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    03.17.15

    I’m not a Wall Street expert, but I can't imagine that there is anything good about being booted from the S&P DOW Jones industrial average. Yet this is exactly what happened to AT&T on March 6th. The S&P DOW Jones Indices, a subsidiary of McGraw Hill Financial, announced that it would replace AT&T with Apple...

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  • When You Get 200 CIOs in a Room, Here’s What They Have to Say Jeff Muscarella
    Partner, IT and Telecommunications, NPI
    03.11.15

    Recently, I had the chance to speak at the Premier CIO Forum down in Orlando. My colleague and I gave a presentation on “Microsoft License Optimization – Averting Licensing, Cost and Audit Risks” and were thrilled to have two-thirds of the conference attendees in the room. It was a great opportunity to listen first-hand to...

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  • Microsoft’s New Strategy Creates New Licensing and Contracting Challenges for Enterprise Customers Jeff Muscarella
    Partner, IT and Telecommunications, NPI
    02.12.15

    Cloud-first. Mobility-first. Device-agnostic. These are the imperatives that are driving business and innovation strategy at Microsoft today. They’re also driving big changes to Microsoft’s licensing and contracting practices, and enterprise customers are feeling the impact. The gap between Microsoft’s vision and the reality of its core enterprise customers is still wide. The majority of these...

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  • Microsoft Windows 10 – Will Enterprises Get a Good Deal? Jeff Muscarella
    EVP, IT Spend Management Services, NPI
    01.30.15

    Last week, Microsoft gave us a preview of Windows 10. The display of new features and tools was mildly impressive, but the big news has been around the changes Microsoft is making to move its core business to a services-oriented model. As such, Windows 10 isn’t just a new version; it’s an indicator of some...

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  • The Intersection of Technology Business Management and IT Sourcing – What You Need to Know Jeff Muscarella
    EVP, IT Spend Management Services, NPI
    01.22.15

    I recently attended the Technology Business Management (TBM) conference in Miami, FL. Some of you may think “Okay, but what is Technology Business Management?” TBM is a new paradigm for thinking about how IT operates and serves the business. Said more officially by the TBM Council website, "Technology Business Management (TBM) provides a practical, applied...

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  • AWS Unveils Simplified, Flexible (Lower!) Pricing for Cloud Services Jeff Muscarella
    EVP, IT Spend Management Services, NPI
    12.08.14

    For much of 2014, cloud pricing has been a hotbed for transformation (read more here). The latest news from Amazon Web Services (AWS) indicates that more changes may be in store in 2015 as pricing competition increases among vendors. Earlier this week, AWS announced new pricing options for its Reserved EC2 Instances (RIs) – suitable...

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  • Per-User Windows Licensing Will Soon Be Available to Microsoft Enterprise Customers – What You Need to Know Now Forrest Silverman
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    11.18.14

    Microsoft recently announced Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS) – a subscription-based, per-user licensing option for its most popular productivity services. They include Windows and Office (on-premise) as well as Windows Server, Exchange and SharePoint (on-premise or cloud). One very important piece of news embedded in this announcement was the introduction of the User Subscription License (USL)...

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  • Want to Reduce IT Support Renewal Costs? Consider Taking a Fresh Approach Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    10.27.14

    We talk a lot about hardware and software support on this blog – and for good reason. It’s eating up more and more of the IT budget and it’s difficult to manage. One of the main management challenges is that these renewals are often dispersed across the enterprise and handled at various levels in the...

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  • BYOD Reimbursements – Are You Paying Too Much? Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    10.23.14

    According to a recent report from the Yankee Group, the growth of the BYOD is slowing and may have already peaked. The percentage of enterprises with 1,000+ employees that allow BYOD topped out at 81 percent in Q2 2012 and has steadily declined since. The economics of BYOD have also shifted since 2012, especially those...

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  • Salesforce.com and Mobile Healthcare – Get Ready! Rich Staas
    Healthcare, Salesforce.com
    10.22.14

    Earlier this year, Salesforce.com officially ventured into the healthcare industry through a partnership with Philips. The alliance between the world’s top CRM company and a long-time leader in the healthcare technology sector came as a surprise to many. But dig a bit deeper and the partnership is indicative of the numerous transformations and convergences happening...

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  • Navigating the Risks of a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement: Software Assurance Jeff Muscarella
    EVP of IT and Telecom Division, NPI
    10.09.14

    Remember when it didn't take a rocket scientist to navigate a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement? Times certainly have changed. What used to be fairly straightforward perpetual licensing became considerably more complex when Microsoft began adding “strings” to its software assurance (SA) maintenance model. As a result, the task of figuring out whether it makes financial sense...

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  • Tips for Working With Your Vendor to Cut Hardware and Software Maintenance Costs Kevin Davis
    Director, IT Delivery, NPI
    10.08.14

    Some of the maintenance renewals I review for clients blow my mind. Too often, large ($1M+) support renewals for hardware seem out of line with common sense in terms of value given for price paid, or don’t clearly identify which hardware is covered, or include hardware that is no longer used. If this situation sounds...

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  • Improved IT and Telecom Cost Control Fight Declining Hospital Revenues Jon Winsett
    CEO, NPI
    09.19.14

    Hospital revenues are on a sharp downward trajectory, according to a recent report from Moody’s Investors Service on the financial health of nonprofit hospitals. Revenues, as well as rate of revenue growth, are reaching historical lows. For those in the healthcare industry, this doesn’t come as a surprise – it’s one of the consequences of...

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  • What You Can Learn from Monday’s Microsoft Azure Outage Forrest Silverman
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    08.21.14

    What happens when your cloud service provider suffers an outage? The question was on more than a few minds this Monday when Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service experienced a global outage that lasted approximately five hours. If you’re an Azure customer, or are considering migrating to Microsoft’s cloud services, here are a few things to...

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  • Cisco CEO Admits to Bypassing Your IT Sourcing Process Jon Winsett
    CEO, NPI
    08.15.14

    If you don’t think shadow IT is impacting your business, think again. Departmental users that are eager to bypass tedious sourcing processes are doing it at the expense of negotiation leverage – and vendors are admittedly taking advantage of this decentralized purchasing environment. Skeptics need only to check out what Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers...

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  • VIDEO: Maintenance and Support Costs Eating Up Your Budget?

    How much do you estimate you’re spending on maintenance and support across all of your IT assets? “Too much” is the quick answer...but really, think about it for a minute and get a number in your head. If you could shave 5 to 7% off that spend and use the liberated $$$ for unfunded innovation...

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  • For VMware purchases, transparency is half the battle Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    07.15.14

    We all know there are a many keys to a successful negotiation, regardless of what you're buying - IT is one of those categories where this is especially true. Managing vendor communications, leveraging competition, and staying internally aligned throughout the buying process are all important factors. But my recent experiences helping clients with VMware renewals...

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  • How Will You Take Advantage of a More Competitive Telecom Landscape? Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    07.09.14

    If you’re not paying attention to the shake-up in the telecom industry, it’s time to tune in. Here are the highlights: Japan's Softbank wants to buy T-Mobile and roll it into Sprint; AT&T is buying Direct TV, while Comcast and Time Warner Cable want to merge; Level(3) just announced its bid to buy TW Telecom;...

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  • 2014 State of the Internet – Take 5 Minutes to Flip through This Deck – It’s Amazing Kim Addington
    Chief Operating Officer, NPI
    06.17.14

    At the end of May, Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher conducted their inaugural Code conference (having struck out on their own after a decade of producing D: All Things Digital under the auspices of Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal). As always the content, commentary and conversation they assembled was thought provoking and forward-thinking...

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  • 5 Questions to Ask Before You Sign an Oracle Unlimited License Agreement Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    06.16.14

    Attention Oracle customers – are you getting ready to sign an Unlimited License Agreement (ULA) for the first time, or renew an existing one? While the ULA is ideal for some companies, there are risks to consider. Not every company needs or will benefit from a ULA, yet overspending is endemic to customers that pursue...

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