Recently I assisted a client in reviewing their Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, which is always an interesting exercise. The first step was helping them understand the products included in the renewal and helping them understand the licensing of those products. This particular client had a mix of Windows Server Standard and Enterprise, but no Data Center licenses. Based upon our conversation they will now evaluate their usage to see if leveraging the Microsoft Step-Up program and converting the licenses would be beneficial. For this client, there is likely a short-term and long-term benefit to doing so.
The other interesting item we discussed was their significant under-utilization of the software assurance and Enterprise Agreement perks. While there are 15 different types of benefits available to them, they have only minimally taken advantage of these benefits with only 2 months left on their existing agreement. Some of these benefits, such as Home Use program and TechNet subscriptions, will carry over to their next agreement. Others, however, are “use it or lose it” and will expire when the current agreement expires.
The value of these benefits is still there, however, and I have encouraged the client to focus on taking advantage of them over the next 2 months. For example, they have a bunch of e-learning and training voucher options available, and they are entitled to 9 days of Planning Services. Planning Services are are $1000/day vouchers that can be used to offset the cost of a qualified consulting firm to assist in planning a desktop deployment project, Exchange project or a SharePoint project. As these benefits are “use it or lose it,” they have only 2 months remaining to take advantage of the days before they expire. With their next agreement, of course, they will receive approximately another 9 days of Planning Services to use, but unless they are able to take advantage of their current vouchers, they will have failed to take full advantage of the benefits to which they are entitled under their Microsoft agreement.
I encourage you to take the time to understand your license agreements and the benefits they offer. If you need assistance, talk to your LAR, VAR, purchasing group or the vendor.