What is an enterprise agreement, or EA? A quick internet search will tell you it is an agreement allowing customers to purchase software at a discount, company wide for a certain period of time.

That definition is what is fundamentally wrong with how companies look at enterprise agreements. EAs have largely been sold based upon the promise of a discount from the cost of purchasing these licenses as run rate transactions, to the point that there are countless articles about negotiating EAs to reduce the cost.

This paradigm ignores the real value of an EA. Customers are beginning to understand that they hold all the risk in these agreements. It’s up to them to form a strategy to consume the software in a very short window. Customers often find themselves at the end of an agreement, with very little to show for it… other than a few dollars in savings.

It’s time for a new vision of your EA. One that allows you to extract the full value from your EA, not just the meager savings you obtain at the date of signature. To accomplish this, you need to look at several areas:

Are you purchasing the right EA for your business?

Your decision about potential EA should be based upon whether the software and entitlements contained within your EA correspond to your overall business strategy. Make sure that the structure of your EA is in line with your growth plans, budget and overall strategic goals.

Are you educating your team to understand what is contained in your EA?

To maximize the effectiveness and use of the EA, it is critically important that the teams tasked with leveraging the EA are completely educated on what is included, how to order and obtain the software, as well as options available to them to drive adoption of the software.

Have you aligned your current projects to leverage your EA entitlements?

You must immediately take advantage of the EA by leveraging it in direct alignment with any current projects. By educating your team on all the entitlements, you will have a better understanding of how the EA fits into your current initiatives and long-term strategic outcomes.

Do you have a roadmap to prioritize your EA software integration?

Creating a roadmap of how you plan to incorporate the software in your EA ensures you have a plan to drive consumption of the software and also enables you to budget these projects with great accuracy. This also presents an important opportunity to leverage the EA to displace expensive alternatives. This is where very large savings occur, not just pennies over run rate costs.

Do you have a plan to “test” new software in an environment that closely resembles your production environment?

Testing and certifying the software in your EA to ensure compatibility in your production environment are critical. This must be accomplished with a partner who has the ability and testing services that can emulate a multi-OEM production environment, complete with the subject matter expertise to accelerate your implementation.

Do you have a training plan to educate your engineering staff and end users so they can use the software to its fullest potential?

Training is fundamental to the adoption of any new technology. You need a partner who can provide classroom and lab training, to understand not only how the technology works but more importantly, how it operates and integrates with other solutions in your environment.

Do you have a method of tracking your usage or potential “over use” of the software to ensure there are no financial surprises?

To extract the full value of your EA purchase, you need to know throughout the term of the agreement how much you have used, what remains to be used, and what, if any, potential changes may be on the horizon.

Are you updated on changes to your EA or additional options to maximize your agreement?

EAs, although contractual, often carry changes over the course of their term. These can include areas of additional technology options or changes that may be coming up in the renewal.

Do you have the right partner to help you realize all of this?

The right technology partner has your best interests in mind and will guide you through the entire term, staying by your side and helping you capture the full value of your purchase.

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