Let’s stop overspending on IT purchases.

The SmartSpend™ blog is a resource to help readers save money on IT and Telecom purchases, brought to you by NPI’s consultants and vendor-specific subject matter experts.

The Latest News On IT Sourcing

  • 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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  • Healthcare IT Sourcing Watchlist – Are Your Vendors ICD-10 Ready? Jeff Muscarella
    EVP of IT and Telecom Division, NPI
    06.09.14

    If you’re a CIO or IT sourcing professional in the healthcare provider industry, you may have mixed feelings about the most recent IDC-10 deadline extension. For some providers who have done their best to ready their organization and made investments accordingly, the extension elicits frustration. Others are breathing a sigh of relief. There is no...

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  • Are You Still Paying 2010 Prices for IT Storage? Kevin Davis
    IT Account Manager, NPI
    06.04.14

    NPI estimates that anywhere from 25 to 40 percent of companies overpay for storage. Is your business one of them? If you haven’t benchmarked your storage vendor’s prices, there’s a good chance the answer is “yes.” Over the past 30 years the cost per gigabyte has gone down by half every 14 months. In 1985,...

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  • How Can I Cut My SAP Costs? Jon Winsett,
    CEO, NPI
    05.29.14

    “How can I cut my SAP costs?” It’s a question we hear routinely, and one we expect to hear more of in the coming months. SAP has done a lot to enhance its capabilities. This includes a hyper focus on cloud capabilities, as well as the development and expansion of its HANA data and analytics...

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  • How IBM Passport Advantage Works Rich Staas
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    05.21.14

    IT vendors have long been criticized for the complexity of their licensing agreements and pricing – especially by large enterprises that have to manage large vendor footprints across their organization. In response, some vendors have created enterprise-friendly programs and agreements designed to make purchasing and license management easier and less costly. For IBM, this comes...

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  • Are We Near the End of Mobile Device Subsidies from Carriers? Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    05.08.14

    The wireless carriers in the U.S. have subsidized the cost of mobile devices to both domestic consumers and enterprise customers since the inception of the market. You know the deal - sign a two-year agreement and get a new phone for free. T-Mobile was the first carrier to unbundle phones from plans in mid-2013, but...

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  • Cloud Price War – What’s at Stake? Jon Winsett
    CEO, NPI
    04.23.14

    It’s not often that IT vendors cut prices – much less slash them. But, that’s exactly what’s happening in the world of cloud computing, and a price war between Microsoft, Amazon and Google seems to be heating up. In the last month, Microsoft has cut its Azure prices by 27 to 65 percent; Amazon has...

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  • Shining a Light on Shadow IT Costs Jon Winsett
    CEO, NPI
    04.04.14

    There are many challenges facing today’s IT organizations. Perennial favorites – security and budgets – continue to rank high, as well as newcomers like mobile device management. A new one that’s starting to get some attention is something quite different. Something a little more stealthy.... Shadow IT is the unsanctioned, decentralized technology spending that happens...

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  • Purchasing Complex Software Solutions and Getting a Fair Deal Rich Staas
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    03.28.14

    Complex projects such as ERP, CRM or HR system purchases can be daunting to even the most seasoned IT professionals due to all of the moving parts and the time that it takes to see it to completion. There are many risks and questions that have to be asked when entering into this type of...

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  • Google and VMware Partner to Compete with Amazon Web Services Kevin Davis
    IT Account Manager
    03.14.14

    As of February 12th, Google and VMware entered into an agreement to deliver Windows applications to Google Chromebooks via VMware's Horizon service. VMware undoubtedly wants more people using their remote desktop services and Google of course wants more people using their Chromebooks. TechCrunch’s Fred Lardinois shares more on the agreement: Using VMware’s Horizon desktop as...

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  • Things to Consider When Purchasing Human Capital Management Technology Gregg Spivack,
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    03.05.14

    Most enterprise applications now offer cloud options and, in many cases, companies are taking advantage of them for the purposes of IT cost optimization and ease of management. While enterprises have been cautious in adoption of cloud ERP, NPI has noticed more companies embracing a SaaS model for human capital management (HCM) needs – an...

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  • Reseller Negotiations – What You Need to Know about Registered Deals Rich Staas
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    02.28.14

    If you’ve bought hardware lately, there’s a good chance you’ve purchased it through a reseller. Buying through a reseller has its advantages, but it also adds another layer of complexity to the process. In some cases, it challenges the sourcing best practices many buyers use for direct-from-vendor purchases. For example, many companies' procurement policies require...

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  • AT&T Sponsored Data and Net Neutrality Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    02.13.14

    On January 6, AT&T announced a new way for eligible 4G customers to enjoy mobile content and apps over their wireless network without impacting their monthly wireless data plan. In many ways, the program is the equivalent of toll-free dialing for the subscriber’s data plan. Content or application providers that are willing to "sponsor" their...

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  • Avoiding Professional Services Contract Negotiation Pitfalls Rich Staas
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    01.31.14

    If you’re like most enterprises, you enter into several IT professional services contracts each year. Whether you’re purchasing project implementation services, bespoke solution development, upgrade services or staff augmentation, there are several pitfalls to be aware of before signing your next agreement. Here’s some advice: Service rates are always negotiable. As with almost any IT...

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  • Pros and Cons: Digging into Amazon Web Services Kevin Davis
    IT Account Manager, NPI
    01.29.14

    Most enterprises are aware of Amazon Web Services (AWS), which has hundreds of thousands of customers. But many are unaware of just how extensive AWS’ offerings are across the broad spectrum of IT capabilities. AWS is a wholesaler that delivers compute cycles from their cloud data centers at a very low price. They offer services...

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  • It Saves to Know Your Support Options Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    01.22.14

    Alternative software and hardware support options are becoming more mainstream. If you haven’t considered this option, you could be missing out on substantial cost savings. Third-party support is the typical term used for support provided by companies other than the OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and publishers. The options range from hybrid offerings that combine support...

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  • What Makes a Great IT Purchase? Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    01.10.14

    In a business world where continuous improvement is the name of the game, we often focus on what went wrong and how we can do better the next time around. This is especially true in IT sourcing. But, sometimes it’s refreshing to change the mindset and linger on what went right. That’s something we’ve been...

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  • Are Contingency Workers Driving Your IT Project Over Budget?

    More and more enterprises are turning to contingent workers to power their IT projects. For many, it’s a relatively simple way to temporarily increase staff resources and meet project deadlines. It’s also an easy way to go over budget, and thwart IT cost management. Companies should make sure their current workforce isn’t capable of handling...

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  • Does Check Point’s Competitive Strategy Promote Customer Overspending? Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    12.19.13

    Since pioneering the firewall industry in 1993, Check Point Software Technologies has been a global leader in network security. Its ever-expanding portfolio of solutions span the enterprise network, and are installed in 100 percent of Fortune 500 companies. But, can Check Point keep pace with an increasingly competitive landscape? After 20 years of being a...

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  • Is it a Good Time to Buy Cisco Gear? Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    12.18.13

    If you're making an IT or telecom purchase from a large vendor, it's always wise to scope out financial performance. This vendor intelligence can often have a positive influence on sourcing strategy, or provide leverage at the negotiation table. Take Cisco, for example. For the quarter ending October 31st, the vendor posted revenues of $12.09B....

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  • Is Oracle Doubling Down on Unseating Salesforce.com? Jon Winsett
    CEO, NPI
    11.26.13

    The rivalry between Oracle and Salesforce.com has always been spirited. But, in recent months, the fierce factor has grown considerably. Despite the signing of a nine-year partnership this past summer – one that will integrate the vendors’ cloud computing environments – the competition is more heated than ever before as the vendors battle it out…often...

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  • Will T-Mobile Gain Ground in the Enterprise? Maybe. Matt West
    Director of Telecom Services, NPI
    11.18.13

    When T-Mobile decided to bet the farm on its “un-carrier” strategy, critics wondered if it was “too little, too late” to turn around the wireless giant’s declining business. Early this month, the critics got their answer. By all accounts, T-Mobile is on a tear. On November 5, the mobile provider reported it added 648,000 net...

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  • Dell Goes Private – Second Act Success or More of the Same? Jon Winsett
    CEO, NPI
    10.30.13

    Yesterday, after eight months of contentious battle with players like Blackstone Group and Carl Icahn, CEO Michael Dell and investment partner Silver Lake inked a deal to take Dell private. Forbes has called it the “nastiest tech buyout ever.” Any doubters only need to reference Mr. Icahn’s now infamous tweet: “All would be swell at...

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  • Video Highlights Upcoming Changes to Microsoft’s EA Licensing Jeff Muscarella
    EVP, IT & Telecom Practice, NPI
    10.30.13

    If you have a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement it’s important to assess the impact of the new Server & Cloud Enrollment (SCE) program that goes into effect Q4 2013 – it replaces ECI and EAP. The changes will hit you at renewal time, and there may be things you need to do now to optimize the...

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  • New Microsoft EA Licensing Program – Why Customers Will Pay More Jon Winsett
    CEO, NPI
    10.16.13

    On November 10, 2013, Microsoft will launch its new SCE licensing program – a three-year enrollment under the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) – which will soon replace two of Microsoft’s most popular EA licensing programs, ECI and EAP. If you’re a Microsoft EA customer currently under ECI or EAP, get ready! Some customers may pay...

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  • The All-in-One Telecom Carrier: Which is Best for Your Business? Jeff Muscarella
    EVP, IT & Telecom Practice, NPI
    10.16.13

    Gone are the days of the phone company. In addition to offering traditional wireline and wireless network offerings, today’s telecom carriers have become all-in-one IT service providers, offering a combination of enterprise IT solutions. Carriers like Verizon and AT&T now have offerings for data center, cloud computing, and managed network and security. This has sparked...

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