Archive for January, 2011

Microsoft to halve school licence fees in March

January 27th, 2011

Many schools will have their software licence fees cut by more than half as Microsoft changes its method for calculating payment. From 1 March, Microsoft will calculate fees based on the number of teachers working at schools, rather than the number of computer units used.

Alan Richards, IT manager at West Hatch High School in Essex, has piloted the scheme and estimates it has cut licensing costs by 50%. “We have around 600 machines and 140 staff; schools with more PCs could save up to 70%. At the moment we are looking to make cost savings and [without this] would have had to cut some of our services,” he said.

The decision is a pragmatic move by Microsoft not to lose its position in the market. Three years ago 97% of all desktops used Microsoft, now that figure will drop below 90%. This is a deliberate move to get students hooked on Microsoft technologies.

So if you are buying Microsoft licenses for schools in your area, wait until March or get Microsoft to give you the better pricing now.

IT Spend Management in big companies – is cutting that easy?

January 19th, 2011

If you’ve ever worked in IT procurement in a very large organisation, there’s a certain factor you may have observed that used to surprise and annoy me. It was the ‘stickability’ of certain major suppliers. And in particular IT consultants, IT integrators and outsourcing type firms. It seemed that, no matter how hard you worked to reduce overall spend with them, they would pop up elsewhere in the organisation, doing something slightly different!

There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that of course, but frustrating at times if we were in the middle of an IT cost reduction programme.  A similar observation applied to budgets; we’ve probably all seen consulting budgets slashed, only to see very similar looking spend suddenly classified as ‘contractors’, ‘training’ or the ubiquitous ‘miscellaneous’.

Consultants are taught to infiltrate all areas of a corporation and sow seeds such that they can continue to generate new business from that corporation even when the original consulting contract(s) has been completed. And when times are hard, consultants work even harder at embedding themselves into any on-going revenue stream.

So how do you stop them? Simply demand that they report regularly on what they are working on and what they are bidding for. That way, you can get visibility of their work and stop some of the more frivolous activities at source

It’s not just about the money…

January 12th, 2011

So now we’ve crept into 2011, what plans have you got to ‘do better deal’s this year? One thing I often get asked is what areas other than price should procurement be focussing on when negotiating with a software supplier. Well here are a few tips to get you focussed in 2011:

  • Define actual and potential license usage and select the usage terms that best suit your user profiles.
  • If looking to rollout an implementation, set a payent profile that ramps up as you rollout.
  • Include functional definitions of licensed software to avoid unwanted cost hikes later when the supplier re-names the software and tries to claim it is not a new release but a new product.
  • Focus on maintenance protections, particularly the ability to reduce, terminate or park maintenance in a downturn.
  • Software suppliers are doing more audits – ensure you have robust software asset management to avoid exposure.
  • Check invoices and make sure they match your contractual expectations.
  • Some suppliers (such as Oracle) rarely change contract terms and conditions during a negotiation. But they are very flexible on price and discounts; so focus your negotiating time where it will bear most fruit.

So there you go; welcome to 2011. And I make no apologies about the last bullet point above; sometimes it is all about the money, so go for it!

And if you think we can help you in 2011, call or email us.

Happy New Year.

Mark Bartrick

Server virtualisation; cost saving or cost adding?

January 5th, 2011

Most businesses and government departments have investigated or implemented server virtualisation with the aim of saving money. However, many IT departments have discovered that ny savings accrued from virtualisation ave be lost because storage capacity has gone through the roof.

According to various recent articles published in the USA, every $1 spent on server virtualisation requires a $2 to $3 spend on additional storage.

That’s good news for storage vendors but not so good for virtualisation savings advocates.

So do your maths before embarking on a server virtualisation strategy and be careful that you budget for all items that virtualisation will require.