When one approaches an Microsoft Enterprise Agreement renewal its important to understand if money is potentially being wasted to maintain Software Assurance (SA) on non-critical applications. Usually, the first renewal quote your licensing partner will provide to you will be a renewal of all the Microsoft products you own on your current agreement. Clients usually focus on big dollar products like Office, Windows and SQL Server, which is the prudent thing to do. Having said that, it’s easy to overlook products like Visio and Project and just allow their SA to renew.

A closer look shows us that SA on desktop products like Visio and Project is roughly 29% of the license cost on desktop products on an annual basis. Both products are also coincidentally on a roughly 3-year refresh cycle.   I think most of us would agree that Visio and Project are usually a non-core product in our environments yet we are almost paying for a net new license every three years with the maintenance fees.   Here are some rough numbers to consider:

A retail box of Visio Pro from the world’s largest consumer electronics retailer is $271.99.   The annual cost to renewal SA under a level A Enterprise Agreement is roughly $120 per year.  The logic behind maintaining SA on these products really starts to break down doesn’t it?   We’ve seen some larger clients who have maintained SA on hundreds of copies of products like this. Lets look at the math if you have 250 copies of Visio Pro; The annual cost of this scenerio is $30,000 per year.

Every client environment is different but I doubt that many organizations have a true requirement for access to the latest edition of these products.   I should add that SA also provides Roaming Use Rights, which allows the primary user of a licensed device to remotely access Office, Project, and/or Visio via a virtual Environment from a third-party device such as a home or contractor-owned PC.  If you have this particular requirement for these applications, you will then be required to maintain Software Assurance coverage.

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