I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again.  Microsoft licensing is a complicated topic to understand.  Those who do understand it fully (yes, there are a few!) will agree that’s it’s a black art in many cases.  For many Partners in the Microsoft Ecosystem, having a dedicated employee who ‘understands’ Microsoft Licensing may be out of scope, and that’s where Partnering up with a Licensing Partner becomes very important.

I’ve been in a number of Partner discussions recently, where licensing crops up, and whilst I can (fairly) easily articulate the Microsoft licensing around virtualisation, when we start to get into specific scenarios, this is where you need a licensing specialist, and if you don’t have one in your organisation, how do you ever give your customers the right answer, or more importantly, the right solution?  One way is to use your benefits as a Partner and contact the licensing helpdesk within Microsoft (  An alternative to this, is to work with a licensing Partner.

Using a licensing Partner, you can more accurately understand what the customer currently has in terms of licenses, and how what they’ve got, maps on to what they need.  This can therefore provide you with a stronger base to propose a solution that meets both the budget, and feature requirements of the customer.

The Expertise You Need to Make Sound Buying Decisions

In today’s tough economic climate, you need to be more confident than ever in your buying decisions. You’ll want to be sure you have the right information to help you stretch your IT budget as far as it will go.  Many organisations will see IT as a cost center, not a business enabler, and whilst Virtualisation will always bring a good ROI, and help those green-ies, implementing Virtualisation is rarely completely free, and if it isn't free, you can guarantee it’s going to get scrutinised when it’s put in front of the board, so it’s important that you’re getting the right technology for your money, whilst maximising the investments you've already made.

Many customers do their own research every time they buy software. Or they may be happy to trust a Microsoft partner to set out your best buying options. Perhaps they ask colleagues, or fellow professionals? Maybe a mix of all three if they have the time. When it comes to getting the best quality of advice to support important buying decisions, who should they turn to?

Proven expertise

One way to be sure a Partner has a high level of how-to-buy expertise is to ask for the Microsoft Licensing Competency. Just like technical competencies, Partners can only earn the licensing competency when they have a minimum number of Microsoft Certified Professionals. So you can be confident that they know their stuff. (Tell me more about partner competencies)

Who has this competency in the UK?

You can find details of partners that have the Microsoft Licensing Competency by clicking on one of the links below:

There are two distinct types of expertise under this competency:

  • Licensing - Advising you on your best buying options
  • Software Asset Management - helping you keep track of and manage your software effectively

You may know exactly what Microsoft licensing options are right for you and your business. But if you would like some expert advice, choose a Microsoft partner with the licensing competency. It could save you a lot of legwork, time and money.

So, in summary, if you’re a Microsoft customer, I’d strongly suggest you have a quick look at the links above, and, should your preferred consultative Partner not have the licensing skills, work with both the consultative and licensing Partners to get the right deal for you.  If you’re a Microsoft Partner, I’d strongly suggest you have a quick look at the links above, and think about cross-partnering with one of the licensing Partners.  It’s gives you an extra, trusted and reliable arm to your business, and at the same time, it gives the licensing Partner someone to recommend should a consultancy type implementation come up after a licensing conversation.