Use Enterprise Agreements properly
If someone gives you something for nothing, there has to be a catch – correct? Well not always. If you have an Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft you get a number of benefits and vouchers that can be used at no cost to you. Well, we all know that it gets paid for somewhere along the lines, but none the less, these benefits are there to be used with no additional outlay at the point of use.
Companies aren’t using them properly and those responsible for servicing the EAs aren’t pulling their weight. It is something that frustrates Microsoft and something that frustrates me too.
The EA benefits can help you with a number of things: Software Assurance to make sure your environment is always up to date; readiness assessments and Deployment Planning Services (DPS). So why aren’t they being used?
Most large globals/ corporates will have a good idea of what is available to them. The very large will be directly managed by Microsoft but smaller than that and you enter a very hit and miss situation. Companies purchase EAs but don’t use them to their maximum potential. LARs sell EAs but don’t generally look at investing effort in to help their client develop strategic plans for the future, and Microsoft doesn’t have the resource to be able to manage every EA sold.
And this is where the frustration kicks in:
If you are a client with an EA you should look to put pressure on your licence reseller to get access to Deployment Planning Services etc. If you are interested in Lync Enterprise Voice, Exchange upgrades, Office 365, SharePoint or upgrading your desktop world, then you can use your EA to start the discussions and understand what is involved. Depending on how many vouchers you have, you can get Pilots, POCs, workshops or even holistic views of the future and all without having to fork out any money at the point of use. You will also get documentation reinforcing what is recommended for your organisation. (What you won’t get is a full design that you can build from – this is often misunderstood). Use these free services to make sure that your organisation gets solutions and a strategy that will meet its needs.
If you are a reseller, you should be working with your clients to get these days used up effectively.
You will be paid by Microsoft, so it is revenue earning.
You will be adding value to your client by showing them how to get advice and assistance from fully qualified Microsoft Certified Professionals in planning for the future.
You will be viewed favourably by Microsoft as a reseller who really is working the EA system and the result will be a client who has direction and trust in you and your company.
If you are the one to help the client define a direction and prepare for the next upgrade or transformation, you will most likely be the one who gets the piece of work (unless you stuff it up of course)
There are way too many resellers who just don’t get it. Invest in your clients and get paid at the same time. Your reputation in Microsoft will not suffer, far from it, Microsoft is crying out for resellers to become more active.
There’s gold in them there hills, in fact it is lying all over the ground waiting for someone to go and pick it up!