Wish that negotiating with Microsoft wasn’t an oxymoron? Follow this 6-month timeline to ensure that your organization, and not Microsoft, is in charge of your Enterprise Agreement (EA) renewal.
If your organization is a current or former client of Microsoft, you are probably familiar with the strict Enterprise Agreement (EA) renewal process they employ. While it is always in your best interest to maintain control of the renewal cycle with any IT vendor, Microsoft is particularly dogged about making this difficult for you. This shouldn’t surprise you. As long as Microsoft can dictate each step of the process, they can ensure they end up with a slam dunk that further entrenches your company’s reliance on their IT solutions.
As an IT/procurement professional, however, your job is not to ensure Microsoft can brag about its success at your company. You need to level the playing field and take back control to ensure your EA renewal process benefits your organization at least as much as it does Microsoft. This is essential if you wish to safeguard your company’s financial performance, improve your strategic relationship with Microsoft, optimize your Software Assurance (SA) benefits, and protect your IT infrastructure and license compliance management status quo.
In order to ensure you own the renewal process with Microsoft, you will need to follow this 6-month timeline:
- 6 Months before the Renewal: Finalize your internal Microsoft IT Roadmap, including current product usage, license entitlements and SA benefits, and align this with Microsoft’s product release schedule.
- 5 Months before the Renewal: Determine the value you have received from SA benefits to date and complete an internal alignment of final true-up quantities.
- 4 Months before the Renewal: Meet with LAR/Microsoft to ensure you understand all new and updated products. Determine your best renewal options. Discuss your expected go-forward engagement process with Microsoft and communicate your optimal renewal options to them.
- 3.5 Months before the Renewal: Receive pricing based on your optimal renewal options.
- 3 Months before the Renewal: Conduct a top-to-top meeting with Microsoft to clarify your requirements. Request detailed proposals (pricing, commercial terms, flexibility, protections etc…)
- 2 Months before the Renewal: Review proposal responses. Conduct another top-to-top meeting with Microsoft to confirm your expectations.
- 1 Month before the Renewal: Finalize commercial terms and review the provided renewal documents.
Don’t let Microsoft dictate your EA renewal process. Before you execute the renewal documents, ensure that your organization has set itself up for a relationship with Microsoft that is in your best interests. If you do not take charge of this process, your organization will likely be condemned to an ever-growing dependence on Microsoft. Do you worry that this is the path your company is currently on? Stage an intervention and follow this 6-month plan to ensure that your organization regains control over its EA with Microsoft. YOU need to be in charge of how and when your EA renewal is negotiated.
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