Are you ready for changes to Microsoft licensing and pricing?

Businesses and their IT suppliers should study the impact of five recent changes to pricing and licensing brought in by Microsoft, according to analyst form Forrester Research.

“Software sourcing professionals should study these changes and work with their
infrastructure, operations, and IT strategy colleagues to evaluate the implications for their firms,” says Forerster

1. Office Pro Plus gets a 5% price increase.

2. Buyers get new licensing options for virtualised, mobile office deployments.

3. Microsoft shakes up Windows virtualisation licensing policies again.

4. Microsoft will cease selling Select agreements after July 1, 2011.

5. Software Assurance no longer has a 30-day grace period.

“While most of these changes are favorable for customers, Microsoft hasn’t done enough to address concerns such as the mismatch between the cost and value of Office upgrades and the licensing complexity of desktop virtualisation,” says Forrester

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Virtualisation offers great benefits and flexibility but can also create gaping holes in corporate liability. In a virtualised environment, inadequate asset information and poor software licensing policies within the IT department could have disastrous implications.

Virtualisation allows an extended number of users access to software. The IT team in charge of the software assets are not necessarily aware of the implications of duplicating applications and it is company directors who will take ultimate responsibility. The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) and ISO 19770 software asset management standards show little sympathy for company directors who disregard software licences, a crime which can now result in a 10 year jail term or hefty fine.

Only by being vigilant and instigating rigorous asset acquisition and disposal policies and recording detailed information about the software loaded, including its serial number, can any company attain real control over virtual software assets. This perhaps daunting task is made simple if the centralised asset register is used to its full potential.

With centrally stored software asset information, organisations can immediately check for unlicensed software and manage user numbers against agreed licenses. Using an accurate software asset register, the IT Manager can also provide the board of directors with a monthly report that proves proper licensing procedures and processes are in place.

It is clear that businesses still need to understand that gaining control over Software Asset Management can save significant sums through reducing the over-purchase of software licenses - an important criteria for those with stringent IT budgets - and help organisations avoid the legal risks associated with under-purchasing.

Karen Conneely

Group Commercial Manager

Real Asset Management