The Campaign for Clear Licensing (CCL) has today published a white paper that suggests that Microsoft stunts its own growth through licensing complexity.
The paper collates feedback from over 100 worldwide Microsoft customers on their concerns and challenges with software licensing and recommends five recommendations for positive change.
Thank you to ITAM Review readers who contributed towards this paper, either by providing your feedback via survey on Microsoft licensing or attending our Microsoft licensing workshops in London and New York in 2015. The average organization size was 12,000 seats and respondents originated from USA 37%, UK 20%, Australasia 17%, Canada 7% and other countries 19%.
Whilst Microsoft is a more progressive software publisher compared to Oracle, SAP and IBM – licensing complexity is stunting their opportunities for growth:
“In comparison to similar research by the Campaign for Clear Licensing into Oracle, SAP and IBM – Microsoft is the most progressive software publisher. Microsoft promotes SAM within their partner ecosystem and has lent support to the ISO SAM standard. Feedback from Microsoft customers also suggests less hostile working relationships – especially in comparison to Oracle. However, the overwhelming feedback from our research suggests that Microsoft licensing complexity, designed to give customers choice, is stunting their own growth and getting in the way of customer innovation.
Desktop, mobile, datacenter, perpetual or in the cloud – Tracking the use of Microsoft software is difficult. Microsoft customers tell us it’s difficult to track what Microsoft software is being used in their environments.
50% of respondents had no SAM tool in place and 65% had no solution in place for managing Microsoft SQL Server. Feedback from respondents suggests True-ups and compliance positions are very much desktop centric with SQL server being a significant audit blind spot.
Microsoft offers reviews via it’s partners for customers to establish an effective license position, these are sales driven activities with the aim of identifying any gaps and driving the customers towards new technology and longevity in the contract. We believe these SAM engagements make customers numb to their real licensing requirements and encourage immature software management processes.
Microsoft’s defence for its licensing complexity is flexibility. Microsoft has many different customer types, and licensing flexibility allows them to build solutions for different types of customer at the right price. This is all well and good but there is a dire shortage of clear licensing information to support customers attempting to navigate this complexity.
Microsoft customers claim it’s difficult to unpick product bundles from Microsoft to suit their business requirements. Similarly customers tell us contract renewals are heavily driven towards pushing the latest technology rather than listening to customer requirements.
Microsoft, like other veteran software companies developed in the perpetual era, is trying to swap its customers to a cloud or subscription based model. You could argue they’ve done a good job of this with 50% of respondents reporting having adopted Office 365 as a license model for Office (That is to say they use Office 365 as a license model – they might not necessarily be using Office 365 fully).
The Campaign for Clear Licensing recommends five steps to address the issues above:
We believe that by addressing these issues Microsoft can encourage independent decision-making, increase loyalty, reduce barriers to implementation and ultimately increase revenue.
If you have any questions regarding the report or feedback on Microsoft please contact me.