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Interlink Cloud Blog

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All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations or warranties regarding the information from our partners or other external sources.
Max Donaldson

Changes to Microsoft’s Enterprise Agreement (EA) Might Have You Reconsidering Your Renewal

Microsofts-Enterprise-Agreement-EA

Big changes are on the horizon for Microsoft’s Enterprise Agreement (EA).

If your company is currently on an EA for licensing, you may need to rethink your renewal. Back in March of 2018, we published the blog article Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) vs. Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) Licensing Agreement: What's Best for You? and due to the most recent and future changes, the time has come to revisit the topic. SMB customers that currently have a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA will soon be faced with the decision –  or be forced – to say goodbye to the EA and hello to an alternative licensing program like Cloud Solution Provider (CSP).   

The EA has been the flagship licensing program for many years for companies with more than 250 users or devices looking to standardize their organizations on enterprise products like Windows OS, Office Pro, and the CAL Suites. The EA is beneficial because it offers support and other deployment and training benefits via Software Assurance as well as offering predictable pricing for the 3-year duration of the agreement. If you met that criteria, it was hard to argue why you wouldn’t sign up for an EA, as the discounts far superseded the alternatives. Another benefit with the EA is being able to mix on-premise products and cloud products on the same agreement, which was 100% cloud only until Server Subscriptions was recently added to Cloud Solution Provider Licensing Program (CSP). 

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Stephanie Donahue

Microsoft SharePoint - Proving a Return on Investment

microsoft sharepoint proving roi

Every day I speak to clients about how we can solve their communication and content challenges with Microsoft SharePoint. However, no matter how obvious it is that SharePoint can solve their issues, we still run into scenarios where we hear, “We think your team is great and we love your ideas, but we just don’t have the budget this year.” What do you do when you don’t have a budget? You prove the return on investment of Microsoft SharePoint.

No Budget

The challenging thing -- okay one of the challenging things -- about SharePoint is that it too often starts out in the IT budget because it’s considered company-wide software that everyone uses. In addition to not being allocated as part of everyone’s budget, SharePoint also has the issue of being tough to measure in terms of return on investment (ROI). Those of us who have been around SharePoint long enough know the value of what SharePoint can do, but we struggle to communicate how that translates into real money saved. Being frustrated with the no budget answer, I’ve been racking my brain on what the answer is to showing SharePoint’s true ROI. So, I decided to run through a series of recent scenarios I’ve heard about from clients, friends, and even personal experiences. What has been obvious is that it all comes back to communication. Problems stem from communication issues, and conveniently, SharePoint (and Yammer) fix those communication issues.

The ROI Challenge

You can’t estimate SharePoint ROI, or any content management system, in terms of dollars gained during a more efficient process. People are not a manufacturing plant where stats are kept on how much content or value is derived from a single action from a single person. However, what you can measure is the cost of mistakes. People are human and while some mistakes can be contributed to inexperience or a lapse in judgment, it’s more often related to a lack of communication. In some cases, communication can even overcome inexperience and bad judgment.

Think back through the last time your organization lost money on a deal, a new partnership, or a new product. How would effective communication have changed the situation?

Communication Issues Plague Organizations

Scenario 1: A client has a proposal sent out with unclear terms of engagement with a vendor. This client is now ‘on the hook’ for far more work than they should’ve been. Not to mention the initial projected time-frames for the work are now completely irrelevant. Had this proposal been put through a formal review process where the entire team knew about it (rather than it ‘hiding’ in email and file shares), the ambiguity could’ve been caught. Not simply because of a formal approval process being in place, but because of the visibility of the document to someone who may not be directly involved.

The cost: Extra time negotiating what can be accomplished in the contract, lower profit margin on the work, if there is a profit at all, and potential loss of client due to the possibility of expectations not being met.

Scenario 2: A survey was sent out to all users and the number one complaint was a lack of company-wide communication. Employees did not feel properly informed. This same client doesn’t have the budget for SharePoint this year. So they continue to use a home grown intranet application where a developer must provide announcement updates. This slows the time to share those updates and will likely prevent many from being shared in the first place.

The cost: Unlimited and depends on the organization

What is the cost of the lack of rapid communication across the organization?

  • What is the turnover cost of an employee who doesn’t feel engaged or informed and leaves the organization?
  • What is the cost of waiting on an email response only to find out after the person you’ve been waiting on for 3 days is the wrong person?
  • What is the cost of not properly communicating new safety procedures to field engineers on remote sites? Have you dealt with law suits this year?
  • What about health care benefits to those sitting at headquarters? How much time does HR spend explaining things that could be available in a forum or Q&A section?
  • What about new compliance policies to content managers? Have you been through a painful audit recently?

The visibility provided by the social communication channels provided in SharePoint (and also in Yammer) can transform the way an organization works. The speed at which information is communicated is directly tied to an organizations ability to adjust to rapid changes in the market, to the amount of income that can be generated with the same number of people, and most importantly tied to defining an efficient and effective corporate culture that spans many remote locations.

The next time you are faced with the ‘no budget for SharePoint’ problem, it may be time to start discussing the cost of poor communication. From there you should be able to start defining what your return on investment looks like.

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Matt Scherocman

Developing Enterprise Applications with Azure

Application development is a key component for many company’s long-term and   short-term strategies. One of the biggest questions is, what platform do I develop on? Another is will that platform limit my salability and reachability to my customers? Microsoft’s Azure platform supports any operating system, language, tool and framework; from Windows to Linux, SQL Server to Oracle, C# to Java. Not only that, but also, iOS, Android, .NET, Node.js, PHP, Python and Ruby.

MS Azure app dev

Finding tools and development platforms for which to develop on and in Azure is no small list as you can see.  Why is that? Because developing is at the heart of what many companies are doing today to separate themselves from their competition. Apps on iOS, Android, tablets, mobile friendly web pages and then making them all sites that can be revenue producing too! From here companies can now market to their customers in real time about the things they are interested in. Today’s customer has become accustomed to being “in touch” all the time and they want apps that can help them stay in touch, how they want and when they want. 80% of all apps downloaded are used only once and then deleted. Creating apps that are “sticky” is the goal of many companies today. Let’s talk and see how Windows Azure can help your company create the next killer app in the market place!

For more information about Microsoft Azure check out the link here.

Microsoft EA Renewal
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Matt Scherocman

Microsoft Azure Learning Roadmap

Microsoft Azure Learning Roadmap

Microsoft Azure Roadmap

Microsoft’s Azure platform is an every changing platform. We are often asked is there a place I can go to find out what’s going on with Azure, what’s changing and when? Well, today we have that answer for you. Below you will find a small sample from an Azure learning roadmap, some are videos, or demos, tutorials and even sample apps:

  • Deep Dive – a video recording from a TechEd conference in Europe
  • Azure Search scenarios and capabilities – primary scenarios enabled by current functionality
  • Introduction to Azure search – Video recording the explains the architecture and capabilities of Azure search

As you’ll see when you visit the Microsoft site found here, there are lots of ways to keep up with what’s going on with Azure. A notable omission on this site is licensing. If you would like to learn what licensing options you have available give us a call and we can walk you through your options along with information on any Microsoft funding that is available. 

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Matt Scherocman

Which Online Plans Include Yammer?

Microsoft’s purchase of Yammer means that they have a real social collaboration platform.  Plus, they have included it in Office 365 SharePoint and E Plans at no additional cost for Enterprise Agreement (EA) clients.  The bottom line is that any plan with SharePoint now includes Yammer if it is licensed under an EA.  We also predict that Yammer will become available to everyone as Microsoft’s consolidates the licensing tools for Yammer with Office 365 later this year.
http://blogs.office.com/b/sharepoint/archive/2012/11/12/yammer-sku-plan-and-pricing-details-direct-from-sharepoint-conference.aspx

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Welcome to the Interlink Cloud Blog

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations or warranties regarding the information from our partners or other external sources.