As a Microsoft customer you are accustomed to your account team pushing a seemingly endless stream of offers for new products, upgrades and enhancements – products you are often hard-pressed to find a compelling need for. Since in July we typically see a slew of new cool stuff announcements from Redmond, this should be an especially busy month. Here’s what you need to know to avoid buyer’s remorse later this summer.
First off, it’s increasingly clear that enhancing online solutions is a higher priority for Microsoft than upgrading on-premises offerings. Renewals of Enterprise Agreements include fewer and fewer incentives to remain on-premise, while existing and new online subscribers are pushed to enroll in higher-end service offerings, whether they need them or not. In addition, Microsoft seeks to convert its Software Assurance customer base to online alternatives to reduce entitlements. Meanwhile, the Microsoft online data center network that runs all of these services – and that is in fact a key driver of Microsoft’s evolving sales strategy – requires significant growth in subscriber tenancy to support its substantial global footprint.
In this environment, as new products roll out you can expect an aggressive push to buy added features and enhancements for on-line products, while getting a “maybe” if you ask if and when the same features will be available for on-premise versions. While moving to online services can be a positive experience and yield significant benefits, the migration can be a highly risky endeavor if privacy and confidentiality requirements have to be put on the table.
Bottom line: If you want (or need) to maintain and optimize an on-premise model, you must clearly articulate your requirements and demand concessions that Microsoft will cede only grudgingly. If you’re not adequately prepared for these tough negotiations (and historically most customers are clearly not), you will muddle through the process without a clear sense of your objectives. Ultimately, you’ll be herded in a direction that aligns with Microsoft’s business strategy – rather than with your enterprise requirements.About the author
After a 20 year career with Microsoft, Louis has compiled a track record of Enterprise client success underpinned by customer focus, strategic thinking, organizational agility, problem-solving acumen and impactful knowledge transfer which has established his reputation as a Microsoft licensing expert.