Memo to CFOs: 6 Things IT Didn't Tell You About Microsoft Spend

The pace of change today is to say the least – breakneck.  Leveraging tech to get closer to your customers, drive revenue, and increase margin (i.e., save money) is at the forefront of initiatives for most companies.  At the same time, layer in the levels of complexity in understanding every supplier’s value add in that mission, along with each having their own rules for pricing, agreement frameworks, and  legal terms, it’s no wonder companies frequently have sub-optimized supplier agreements, investments, and relationships. 

One area that I have focused on in the last three decades specifically, is Microsoft.  I’ve negotiated and reviewed thousands of Microsoft agreements.  While there is always more to learn, there is much I can pass on to help guide decision makers in navigating the ever-changing Microsoft waters. 

 So, to make things easy – I’ve made a quick list of six things that CFO’s need to know about their Microsoft spend

1. Shelfware

a. You are paying for a huge amount of “shelfware” – products and services that are not being used, or only a tiny portion of their functionality, or will never be deployed at all.  It may behoove you to inquire with your teams to ensure you’ve done a recent audit to uncover these hidden gems.

2. Compliance

a. There are numerous licensing compliance errors lurking in your infrastructure. Eventually, a Microsoft auditor will find them.  That might be a very unpleasant and expensive day. Note that Microsoft is still among the most audit crazy suppliers in the market today.

3. Technical Support

a. That extra money that you are paying Microsoft for technical support (no, it’s not “included free”), besides being dramatically overpriced, is not being used effectively.

4. Deployment

a. There are at least three different methods of deploying your infrastructure that will drastically reduce your costs while improving your control and compliance, but Microsoft will not bring these to your attention. 

5. Certifications

a. When you hire IT people based on their Microsoft certifications, are you surprised that you don’t hear much about Microsoft’s competitors when it comes to buying technology?

6. Legacy

a. You have more legacy / outdated software in your environment than you probably know about.  Is it a compliance or security risk?  Probably.

To be clear: nobody is imputing bad faith on the part of IT teams.  They are hired based on specific experience with a solution area (usually Microsoft centric). They are then given a massive checklist of functional and governance requirements and told to “handle it”.  So, it’s not bad faith or incompetence when Microsoft offers a bundled solution to all of those checkboxes – its sales and marketing. 

To summarize, if you’re happy with your ROI on technology, and ok with paying Microsoft’s prices, then really there’s no reason to keep reading.  But, if you’d like to consider alternatives, perhaps make sure that very expensive Microsoft contract you pay for is providing appropriate value and the services that you actually need, then ask yourself: who in your staff has the time and expertise to evaluate these all these questions and give real, executable alternatives?   

If you don’t have someone handy or has negotiated hundreds of enterprise Microsoft agreements, drop us a line…that’s what NET(net) has been providing for our clients for 20 years now.  Independent, leading, fact based, actionable, results-driven advice for IT investments. Contact us to have a conversation to see if we can help.


About NET(net)

Founded in 2002, NET(net) is the world’s leading IT Investment Optimization firm, helping clients find, get and keep more economic and strategic value. With over 2,500 clients around the world in nearly all industries and geographies, and with the experience of over 25,000 field engagements with over 250 technology suppliers in XaaS, Cloud, Hardware, Software, Services, Healthcare, Outsourcing, Infrastructure, Telecommunications, and other areas of IT spend, resulting in incremental client captured value in excess of $250 billion since 2002. NET(net) has the expertise you need, the experience you want, and the performance you demand. Contact us today at, visit us online at, or call us at +1-866-2-NET-net to see if we can help you capture more value in your IT investments, agreements, and relationships.

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