LearningCenter Post27

Hiring a Licensing Negotiator: The Whys and Hows

There are many things to not like about negotiations: the tension, the frustration, and the feelings of being overwhelmed or outmatched. Negotiations are an unavoidable element of doing business. Hiring a license negotiator can help ease the discomfort around the whole process.

Software contract negotiations can be quite overwhelming, due to software contracts usually being hyper-complex. There is also an added strain if the software vendor you are negotiating with has mission-critical software that you will need to run your business.

This is why it’s always a good idea when confronted with a software contract negotiation to consider hiring a negotiator who specializes in software contracts. But how do you start looking and what are the qualities of a good licensing negotiator?

At MetrixData360, we specialize in helping organizations negotiate more effectively with software vendors like Microsoft, Oracle, and IBM. Having engaged in this business for many years, we know the professional standards that software licensing negotiators should be held to, which is what we want to share with you today.

Why People Hire Software Licensing Negotiators

Organizations often have talented and experienced people who are sent to sit down and hash things out with the software vendors, however, it is important to consider the following factors when you decide to use internal resources to approach the software vendors:

  • Negotiations are very time-consuming. Microsoft’s EA renewals, for instance, will require a minimum of a month to prepare, but MetrixData 360 suggests that you start preparing at least five months in advance.
  • It’s critical to have a strong understanding of the particular contract that you are negotiating. Not only are these software contracts difficult to understand, they are also subject to change hundreds of times a year when you consider how many times your vendor might update their product line, their policies, etc. For one person to be an expert on even a single vendor would be considered an accomplishment.
  • It will be difficult to successfully negotiate a software contract without a strong understanding of your company’s software assets. It won’t serve your company in the long run if your only negotiation strategy is to fight for a discount. For instance, if you are overspending on software licenses that you aren’t using and your software vendor decides to throw you a bone by giving you a 10% discount, you’re still wasting money on those licenses. Hiring a licensing negotiator will help avoid overspending on licenses you don’t need, even if they are discounted.  
  • If there is a way for you to cut back on spending on your software contracts and you go about removing licenses without the required care, often the vendors will respond by sending you a software audit shortly after the negotiation has concluded in order to make up for the lost revenue of your reduced license count.

What to Look for in a Good Licensing Contract Negotiator

If you’ve decided you need help in this endeavor, the last thing you want is someone who can’t deliver. An attorney might be a good idea when you’re shopping for someone who will have your back during this engagement but is not exactly necessary; instead, you should look for someone who meets the following criteria:

Experience with and Knowledge of Your Specific Vendor

Your negotiator should be able to come to the table having experience negotiating with this vendor before. This will ensure that they will have a strong understanding of your vendor’s current product line, their current contracts, and they can anticipate the typical escalation strategies of that vendor.

Strong Conflict Resolution Skills Paired with Excellent Escalation Strategies

There are times to keep the peace and times to throw down the gauntlets, and your negotiator should be able to tell the difference between the two and how to go about either of these approaches.

An Understanding of the Stakeholders Involved

How do you speak to a group of people when one wants to take your money, another wants to make sure you’re having a great experience as a customer, another who is here to make sure the contracts are legally sound, and someone who just stepped in to bring his boss coffee? It’s difficult, isn’t it?
Sadly though, on the other side of the negotiation table, there are people who are brought in with different goals and different levels of authority (you wouldn’t frame your argument to just please the coffee guy), and a software negotiator must be able to speak to all of them.

A Strong Personality

It takes a certain type of personality to get the right outcomes from a contract negotiation. It takes a tenacious individual who cannot be intimidated while also being able to exhibit patience and humility.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can work on becoming a strong negotiator yourself, you can check out our article: 5 Key Traits to Winning Contract Negotiations.

Your Options for Hiring a Licensing Negotiator

Hire an In-House Software Asset Manger

Many SAM experts come with contract negotiation expertise due to their in-depth knowledge of a company’s software assets. While this will allow you to have someone who shares your company’s goals and values, it will be unlikely that you’ll find a single person who will be able to master every single vendor that you have in your infrastructure. It’s more likely that you’ll need to hire a team of people, which will be significantly more costly.

Hire a Consultant

Outsourcing to a third-party is an excellent way to get experienced professionals the second they walk in the door. They are also handy because you don’t have to keep them on staff for longer than the engagement lasts, often making them a much cheaper alternative.

There is also the possibility of picking the members who will be a part of your team; you only need to pay for the people who will be directly useful to the project.

Why Picking MetrixData 360 as Your Software Contract Negotiator Is a Great Choice

At MetrixData 360, we are experts on the subject of negotiating software contracts on our clients’ behalf and have successfully negotiated over 1.5 billion dollars in software contracts.

Our clients find that bringing a MetrixData360 licensing expert onto their team changes the process dramatically and puts them in control of the software contract negotiation. We like to build multiple licensing models and provide a risk analysis of each. Not only do we have the skills, we also like to teach you what to say and allow you the opportunity to present it as your own findings to preserve the relationship with the vendor.

The MetrixData 360 Edge

When most people are faced with a difficult contract negotiation, they will often need data to prove their stance and to avoid any future audits that might be incurred from the negotiations. At MetrixData 360, we provide you with the solid information you need to present a strong offense and an impeccable defense in the event of a software audit.

The Kind of Support We Offer During the Negotiation Process:

  • We are there and have a plan for every stage of the negotiations phases.
  • Software vendors try to control the negotiation. We change the game and put you in the driver’s seat.
  • Divide and Conquer: We talk to all members of the vendor negotiation team to understand their biases and motivations​.
  • We help you establish a proposal that will meet your goals, if not exceed them.
  • We work as excellent translators for technical jargon and present it to you in a way that is easy to understand.
  • You set the approach, tone, and pace of the meetings​ and we’ll follow your lead.

If you’d like to see some of the end results of our services, you can check out our success stories here!

Hiring the Right Licensing Negotiator For You

Contract negotiations, when it comes to software, can be confusing and seemingly hopeless, especially when your software vendors hike up the pricing every year. It can feel like you have nothing you can say in response other than asking who the cheque should be written out to.

However, it doesn’t have to be like this if you have the right person backing you; someone who understands your software licenses better than the vendors do, and someone who is willing to defend your interests and your goals tenaciously.

At MetrixData 360, we like to hold ourselves to a high standard of excellence when it comes to defending our clients during a software contract negotiation and we want to make sure you find someone who also meets those standards. If you’d like to learn more about how MetrixData 360 can help you realize savings during your next contract negotiation, you can check out our contract negotiation page.

Give Your Microsoft 365 Licensing a Health Check

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