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Microsoft Calls Time on SAM and Licensing Competencies – Part 1

by Stephen White  |  April 19, 2016  |  Comments Off on Microsoft Calls Time on SAM and Licensing Competencies – Part 1

IT leaders and their teams often rely on third parties to deliver services and provide guidance. Microsoft last week announced a change which impacts the route through which capable partners and individual specialists can be identified.


Microsoft competencies have been in place as a mechanism for partners, resellers and consultancies to be certified as capable on a range of subject matters. Whilst Microsoft increasingly focuses its business on cloud solutions, capabilities which govern the overall Microsoft portfolio including SAM and volume licensing are being retired, certifications closing in a matter of months and full  retirement scheduled for Jan 30th 2018.

Of course SAM and licensing are more than Microsoft, however it’s possible that software resellers and SAM consultancies will be less influenced by Microsoft, re-aligning resources and efforts.

Is Microsoft removing investments and overheads not directly attributable to selling cloud solutions?  Our research note providing guidance on Microsoft shifting focus from Enterprise Agreements to MPSA for SMEs pointed to the need for more solution orientation in sales efforts as a contributing factor. Commercial impacts may indeed follow, as payments and fees to partners, consultancies and resellers aligned to the retiring competencies are likely to be redirected in favor of cloud focused competencies.

The nature of these changes may not appear to directly impact clients, what is acquired, it’s cost and future availability, they do how however throw up a number of questions;

Will absence of volume licensing competency increase risk of sales without appropriate advice to address complexity?

Is Microsoft stepping away from licensing as the primary vehicle to monetize it’s IP?

Where does this leave Microsoft and SAM?

Will this reduce confusion regarding positioning SAM engagements?

How will the dynamics of acquisition and partner relationships now change?

To be continued in part 2

Additional Resources

Category: asset-management  cloud  it-cost-optimization  licensing  

Tags: cloud-contract  cost-optimization  enterprise-agreement  licensing  microsoft  software-asset-management  

Stephen White
Research Director
4 years at Gartner
16 years IT Industry

Stephen White is a Research Director in Gartner's IT Asset Management, Vendor Management and Procurement team, focusing on strategic licensing and negotiation strategies, asset management, and reseller engagement. Mr. White leverages his experience in software sales and consulting to assist IT leaders through his coverage of best practices in license life cycle strategy and trends, license metric and pricing practices, contract negotiations, optimizing terms and conditions, sourcing, and relationship management. Read Full Bio

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