When working with a new customer on a Microsoft software license reconciliation, the question that I start with is – how are your Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) licenses being handled? Why, you
ask? They are becoming the quickest way for a customer to save the largest amount of money. These licenses are very expensive and most companies treat them like tissues to be thrown away after one use.
Here is a good example. I was just working with a customer who had their developers managing their MSDN licenses. While this would seem to make perfect sense, there are a lot of details that the
person in charge needs to understand and take into account to manage these licenses effectively. They need to understand what product version is best suited for each developer, know how and where it should be purchased, ensure registration on the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC), manage transfers and renewals, and much more. As you can imagine, your typical developer is not trained on nor focused on these license management issues. And who can blame them, they just want to get their job done.
This customer had a significant overage of MSDN licenses for which Software Assurance was not renewed because most of them were never registered and they were not being tracked or managed. If a developer left the company the software licenses weren’t being reassigned on the VLSC so the new developer would purchase a new license for themselves. Without the Software Assurance (SA) being renewed, if the developer needed the new edition, a new license (and SA) would have to be purchased which would drive up the cost. Purchases were rarely, if ever, being done on the right program – some were done on the Select Program, some on Open and some on the Enterprise Agreement. Lastly, they didn’t take into consideration the actual usage of the MSDN software licenses. More than half the licenses that were purchased weren’t even being used.
All of this resulted in an overspend of about $1.9million over a 2 year period for about 278 MSDN licenses.
The lesson here? Be sure to have a software license optimization program in place to proactively and centrally manage and optimize MSDN licenses. Failing to do so can create a management nightmare and result in significant software overspend.
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