Your 4-Step Plan for
EA Renewal Success
Why it’s never too early to make a start
Step 1: Lay the Groundwork
If 12 months sounds too far in advance to plan for your Microsoft EA renewal anniversary, consider the amount of work involved in the process.
You need time to build an accurate view of the current state of affairs – to review current entitlements against usage, understand your current agreement structure, and terms and conditions, and to make sure you understand additional benefits such as Software Assurance.
It’s also wise to start looking at recent or anticipated Microsoft product licenses and volume licensing program changes. A lot can happen in three years, and it’s very likely some things will have changed since your last renewal – whether programmatically or within the use rights of your entitlements.
You should also start pulling together the right team. Who will provide the licensing knowledge? Who will be the lead for generating reports on current software entitlements and usage? Who’s going to have input on the needs of the organization for the next three years?
Your CFO will also thank you for thinking about budgeting now, not in nine months’ time.
Build your team with the right stakeholders
Understand current entitlements and usage (see “Optimized License Position” for more information)
Identify underused benefits and entitlements (as well as potential compliance issues)
Understand Microsoft licensing and program changes
Step 2: Strategize for the Desired Outcome
Once you have a clear understanding of where you are (baseline, entitlement review, usage) and you know what the options are in terms of Microsoft’s current or planned licensing conditions, you can start to reconcile that against what you know about your organization’s future IT initiatives and priorities.
By engaging with the right stakeholders (that aren’t already part of the working group) around the organization, it’s easier to plan for what your Microsoft needs might be in two or three years’ time, rather than just the first year of the EA. Think cloud, collaboration, HCI and security.
Working with a partner – or at least a Microsoft license advisory specialist – you can then start to model different options that will best meet these business requirements, building a financial analysis that puts you in a better position to make an informed decision about your aims, and budget for the upcoming renewal.
One distinct benefit of working with a trusted Microsoft licensing advisor like SHI is that you can gain access to much better ‘situational awareness’ than you can get through your own experience or by simply reading analyst reports. A good partner is one that has helped similar organizations achieve their EA goals, knows what has worked for others, and can help you achieve your goals.
Build a view of your future business and technology requirements
Review and compare different program options (See Microsoft License Advisory for more information)
Prepare a financial analysis to explore total cost vs. reward for duration of agreement
Use situational awareness to help inform decision making
Step 3: Structure an Effective Agreement
There is often no single ‘right answer’ to structuring your EA. As part of Step 2, skilled Microsoft licensing specialists will have identified several options for your future Microsoft EA. With Step 3, it’s time to evaluate those possibilities, narrow down your options and start to structure an agreement that fits both your requirements and the constructs of the EA program.
A detailed analysis of the terms and conditions of an upcoming agreement can be performed against the current agreement so that you understand the major changes. This helps avoid any nasty surprises, loss of required entitlements or additional unbudgeted costs.
In short, you know exactly what you’re signing up for, what it will cost and what it will entitle you to use. This is the point when a detailed final financial analysis is performed to ensure all changes during Step 2 and Step 3 have been accurately incorporated.
You’re now ready to go back to Microsoft with your desired EA plan.
Step 4: Finalize the Agreement before Executing
You are entering the final stage, but it’s not quite time to relax just yet. There is often a flurry of activity from both your internal team and Microsoft which will likely demand a skilled team to handle.
In response to your submission in Step 3, Microsoft will issue an EA proposal which will need a thorough review to ensure it fully matches the desired outcome in terms of entitlement and costs today, as well as in the future.
It’s also important to ensure when renewing or entering into a new EA, the existing agreement is ‘closed out’ with no loose ends – no potential contractual obligations, compliance risks or unaccounted costs.
During the last 30 days is when you would typically sign the new EA, and it can go down to the wire, but with the right team on your side, it doesn’t need to. A skilled Microsoft license advisory team will help you avoid a last-minute scramble for the line or any confusion over what you are really signing-up to.
With a team like SHI, you can be sure you know exactly what your costs and entitlements will be, and that you have created the very best Microsoft EA possible for your organization.