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

  • 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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