What is a Microsoft License Statement? Why do you need one?

By Daniel Brewster

Director of Client Services - Microsoft

October 22, 2015

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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 term. What about the products you bought four years ago? Or ten years ago?

To achieve a complete view of your Microsoft investment, you need an inventory – something called a Microsoft License Statement (MLS). This little known spreadsheet document is a comprehensive effort by Microsoft to inventory every license transaction made by your company. It’s common to see transactions going back fifteen or twenty years on the MLS.

There are many reasons why achieving this level of clarity on your Microsoft estate is important. The MLS serves as the basis for your license entitlement during any license review, SAM engagement or audit. Do you have a licensing review coming up? You need an MLS. An EA renewal? You need an MLS. An audit? You better believe it! In each of these situations, the MLS is Microsoft’s starting point, and a point of leverage (for either side).

However, the MLS isn’t always easy come to by – nor is its accuracy guaranteed. Account teams sometimes balk at providing this document to customers. This is due in part to the fact that it’s a confusing and difficult document to explain, even for account managers. Furthermore, Microsoft account teams and licensing specialists are typically more focused on new sales versus your licensing history. The MLS also follows a very narrow interpretation of Microsoft’s licensing rules, which may not match up with the reality of your license position. Sometimes there are errors in the data - a mistake in one field of the spreadsheet can easily create a waterfall effect.

The MLS document can be overwhelming to digest at first. Fortunately, we can break it down for you. Check out this 15-minute video that walks you through how to get the MLS from your account team, and how to use it to your benefit.

WATCH WEBINAR NOW >> Why You Should Ask for a Microsoft License Statement, and How to Decipher It