Five things to remember before you call the license reseller

Too many Windows licenses? Too few? Before you call the reseller, there are five things you need to keep in mind.

So you've discovered that your company has too many or too few Windows licenses, and you need to order more.

Hold the phone.

Before you call anyone, do some homework to ensure that you order the correct number -- and that you spend the right amount of money.

Microsoft Corp.'s license programs, sold through resellers, are notoriously confusing, so preparation is essential before any papers are signed.

Nicole Wengle is director of operations at Softchoice Corp., a Toronto-based reseller that in the past year has helped more than 12,000 admins, CTOs and procurement managers choose the most cost-efficient license programs.

Wengle shared several tips for admins who are considering increasing or decreasing their numbers of Windows licenses. Before admins ring the resellers, they should:

  • Know the exact number of current Windows users.

  • Determine a 2-3-year forecast for the number of Windows users.

  • Decide whether to standardize on a particular Windows platform, with the majority of users on one version.

  • Know your budget for this year, and a have a good estimate of next year's figures. This will help decide whether you buy Windows licenses one time per year in bulk (good for fast migrations) or as needed (good for steady migrations). Price generally decreases as the number of licenses in an order increases.

  • Consider whether to own or lease Windows.

All of these tips would've helped Blaine Busse, IT director at Pegasus Aviation Inc., a San Francisco firm that leases airplanes to carriers. A Pegasus audit, initiated last year by Microsoft, found the company was running 16 Windows 2000 servers but had licenses for seven, and was running 75 machines on Windows NT but was using Windows 2000. Busse had no idea he could've leased Windows.

Ordering new licenses in bulk can shock administrators -- and the finance department.

Pegasus wrote a check for $12,000 to immediately comply with Microsoft.

"It was a considerable chunk of money," Busse said. "The CFO wasn't too happy."

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Article: Windows admins too busy to worry about Licensing 6.0

Interview: BSA enforcer says pirated software not worth the risks

Tip: What to do if your firm gets a software audit

Click here to register for the free Windows Decisions conference May 14-16 in Chicago. Laura Didio, Yankee Group analyst, will dissect Microsoft's latest licensing schemes and provide sound advice for incorporating them into your IT strategy.

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