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

  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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)...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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;...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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,...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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....

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more
  • 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...

    Read more