There are so many license changes and gotchas with SPLA, Azure, AWS, and all the others that I thought I would highlight for you some of the trends we see when it comes to compliance.
- Licensing Office Standard when Office Professional is installed. In many cases, an IT administrator will inadvertently install Office Pro, report Office Standard to their procurement team who in return reports it to the reseller. The IT admin will leave the company, and the procurement team continues to report Standard not knowing Pro is installed until audit time. In this situation, Microsoft will check when Office was installed, and take the delta of what was reported (STD) v. what should be reported (Pro). Don’t make this mistake. Many partners are only charging their customers for Standard pricing!
- Not reporting SPLA at all. Sounds silly, but many providers focus on developing software and not on the licensing. We have found instances in which the procurement manager (who was in charge of reporting SPLA) left the organization and no one else took over their responsibility. The reseller continues to email the procurement manager but obviously the email goes unnoticed. After many months, their SPLA will be terminated and all licenses will have to be trued up. The problem with this scenario is not just unexpected licensing expense, but when your SPLA terminates, you must sign a new one. When you sign a new SPLA, you must adhere to the latest SPUR use rights. As an example, if you had a SPLA prior to the Windows core licensing change, you could continue to report processors. If your SPLA terminates, you would be forced to license by core now instead of later when your previous agreement (that is now terminated) expired.
- Using a VL copy of Office to deploy Shared Computer Activation (SCA). SCA is specific to Office 365. If you install Office Pro Plus VL, it goes against the product use rights in which Office (without SCA) cannot be installed on shared hardware. It takes a lot of negotiation power and time to prove you are SCA eligible, the customer purchased Office 365, and you inadvertently installed the wrong product.
- Using License Mobility without License Mobility. This is by far the most popular compliance trend. Many organizations do not know what is installed in their datacenter when it comes to customer owned licenses. Be sure to have the right documentation, addendum, and licensing to ensure compliance.
- Leasing an application, hosting the application, and purchasing volume licensing agreement to offer software as a service. A healthcare company may lease an EMR application, host the application to other healthcare organizations, and license the infrastructure through volume licensing. If your organization does not own the application you are hosting, you must license it through SPLA. Self-Hosted for ISV is only eligible for providers who develop and own the application. This means the code, the rights, everything must be owned by the organization. Leasing the application and using other plugins you may have developed does not qualify.
I hope this provides you a little insight into the world of compliance. If you find yourself out of compliant, let us know and we can connect you to the right resource. firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading,