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Good Microsoft Customers Beware

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by Louis Pellegrino
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If you’re a loyal Microsoft Enterprise customer, you’ve likely exercised your option to leverage volume licensing agreements. You’ve diligently taken advantage of new offerings, and your environment is a poster child of Microsoft products.

Be careful.

The trouble is, Microsoft account teams are assigned aggressively high bars to grow revenue. In Microsoft’s view, there’s no such thing as a saturated customer. More specifically, there’s no such thing as a customer who shouldn’t produce more revenue this year than the year before.

If you already have a significant installed base of products, your Microsoft account team will likely focus on selling you myriad high-edition value-added products, or they will pressure you to convert your on-premises workloads to their Cloud Services.  If you dutifully sign on and acquire these upgrades, or if you move hastily to online, there’s a good chance you won’t use many of the features, which means you’ll be buying capability you don’t need.

If, on the other hand, you push back and say your existing product suite is adequate for your needs, you will very likely become targeted for a software audit aimed at identifying unauthorized use of licenses and assets and extracting significant fines and penalties.

While audits of enterprise software customers were traditionally an exception, that has changed, and today all software publishers increasingly rely on audits to fill revenue pipelines depleted by declining sales of new products.  For large and established Microsoft customers, the risk is especially high because, by virtue of their size and scope, they are by definition targeted to produce significant revenue growth.

Customers can regain control of their relationship with Microsoft and other software providers by demonstrating compliance and complete and detailed oversight of their software assets.  Equipped with a detailed inventory of volume licensing agreements, deployment landscape and purchase history, you can respond to an audit with confidence, strengthen your negotiation position and improve your relationship.

About the author

After a 20 year career with Microsoft, Louis has compiled a track record of Enterprise client success underpinned by customer focus, strategic thinking, organizational agility, problem-solving acumen and impactful knowledge transfer which has established his reputation as a Microsoft licensing expert.