NET(net), Inc.

IT Sustainability by szolman

Major technology providers are beating street estimates lately as technology spending is seemingly on the mend.

As spending picks up and market conditions change, will Clients and suppliers be able to develop and maintain sustainable agreements that offer best in class pricing, flexible terms and conditions, and serve as a guide on how to do good, long term business together?

The major tenants of IT Sustainability are timeliness and they are published for anyone to see right here

If you are making an investment in IT, find out how you can get maximum value and keep it by clicking the link above.

The Sustainability of your IT investments and relationship is our mission.

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What’s In Store For Microsoft, And How Does It Affect You? by scottbraden

Microsoft is entering a period of new product releases; Windows 7 is widely expected to ship in time for Christmas 2009, and Office “14” along with refreshed versions of key products, such as SharePoint, are expected as well in late 2009 or early 2010.

Since many Microsoft customers are evaluating their Microsoft agreements in the next few months, as many Microsoft deals come due at the end of the calendar year, customers are again being asked to pre-pay Microsoft for planned innovations that may or may not ever reach a product release, and when or if they do, may or may not be of interest to customers, who may or may not be able to effect meaningful ROI by upgrading.

Which key product upgrades should customers expect in the next few years? How can customers best optimize Microsoft investments in light of the coming planned upgrade cycles?

NET(net) has researched and summarized the key upcoming product releases so you can effectively plan your organization’s IT rodamap.

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Microsoft XP “downgrade” from Win 7 update by scottbraden

A closely watched topic for many of our cleints: how long can we continue downgrading our new hardware to XP, after MSFT ships Win7? Answer: April 2011 or upon release of SP1, whichever comes first.

Details from Mary Jo Foley (who’s a great source to keep up with)

Oracle’s Compliance Scheme: Proactively Manage your Licenses by rlachs

It appears Oracle has increased its due diligence in the area of auditing customers.  On the one hand, this exercise may be helpful (as Oracle will profess) in enabling customers to better understand holistically precisely what their entitlements are and to what degree those entitlements are being leveraged.  This is useful information that many customers often struggle to reconcile on their own, and could shed some light on where opportunities for downsizing of entitlements might occur.

On the other hand, customers should be cautious.  In a down economy, where the volume of deals and overall license spending is lower than desired, auditing is a means by which Oracle may be hoping to find opportunities for incremental licensing events.  Especially for customers who either may not have been positioned to actively keep track of utilization trends over time, or who may not be familiar with original agreements and the parameters of utilization in these agreements,  Oracle will be seeking to capitalize whereever possible to bring your license entitlements and utilization back into compliance. 

Resolving compliance issues is likely to be done through a new licensing event.  Unlike a situation where a customer may be giving Oracle an opportunity to earn additional licensing business via a purchase that is not the result of an existing contractual obligation to Oracle, it is more challenging to negotiate a favorable license arrangement to adress compliance matters.  In fact, with certain product families, it is likely that the costs associated with the need to add incremental licenses has already been identified.  With other product families, Oracle is likely to use its standard list pricing as a starting point, and given that the absence of the licenses constitutes a breach of contract in a compliance situation, they are not under as much pressure to discount.  This puts the customer at a disadvantage, not only as it relates to the new license cost, but the associated maintenance costs related with those new licenses too – as the maintenance and support services costs are generally based on the net license value.

Customers would be well advised to invest time in assessing their license entitlements and utilization, and truly ensuring the parameters of their licenses are well accounted for, in advance of Oracle aggressively pursing completion of an audit.  If misalignment is identified, and you find that you will require additional licenses to ensure your utilization needs are met into the foreseeble future, it is better to address that with Oracle proactively with bringing a new license opportunity to them.  Given the possible stakes, this may be an area where enlisting professional help may be a worthwhile investment to either a) ensure you have no exposure; or b) help you address any potential exposure in a way that is most optimal for your organization.

Telecom Carrier Service Going From Poor to Worse by davidjyoung

It was one of those days that are occurring with more frequency, with a couple more clients dumping on me about poor service from their telecom provider.  I spend a lot time engaging with the telecom providers day to day working on behalf of my clients and often experience this poor support first hand.  But I have the benefit of seeing this service from both the client perspective and the perspective of the account representative who is often struggling against the tide to maintain a decent level of support for their various (and increasingly numerous) accounts to manage.

This is nothing new of course.  The carriers have been notorious for poor account support, particularly if you are in the dreaded small to medium business category (which, of course, makes up the majority of the accounts for the telecom provider), and billing issues have always been the bane of the industry with many archaic and legacy billing systems supporting the load.  

However, a comment I received today from a long term client that I respect and whose opinion I value really struck me,  “I’m trying to do some simple things like cancel a couple of obsolete circuits and no one appears to understanding how to handle something so basic”.  He goes on, “I get transferred around and I have to repeat my request to someone that does seem to have even the most rudimentary knowledge to handle my request.”

This is just one example and only the most recent issue I hear of many problems weekly.  I hate to hear this because in our work at my company, NET(net), we are often in the position of recommending a particular carrier for new services or we are working to get an incumbent carrier to provide a better economic and value proposition for our clients. 

Yes, there are telecom providers that do it better than others, but all of them seem to run hot and cold.  And good account support is often a function of a good account manager that can carry the load on behalf of their customer and shield them from all the dysfunction in the carrier organization.  

One thing is seemingly for sure: the industry is moving in the wrong direction and is not endearing itself to the customers.  This sounds like an opportunity to me.   I have a responsibility as a professional to point out these issues whenever the opportunity presents itself as an advocate for my clients in my interactions with the carriers.   But there must be a business model out there waiting to happen to not only provide a relevant, quality and affordable telecom service, particularly from a financially stable provider, but to do so with a high touch, friendly, non-bureaucratic approach.

Is this telecom business out there?   Do you sell wireline, wireless mobility or managed services and think you’ve got it figured out?  If so, I’d like to hear from you.