Planning is key
Signing up for Open License is a no-brainer, provided you are willing to purchase five copies of Microsoft software at once to get started. The other programs require a bit of thought and probably a long discussion with a reseller, plus some number crunching, before a purchase decison is made.
Questions such as, "How many machines do we need to upgrade" and "Does our company like to stay current or do we delay software purchases as long as possible?" are the beginning.
Money also plays a role, with Microsoft offering financing and special offers to get customers into Software Assurance, which may not otherwise be the best choice for them.
Before making a decision, customers should price their needs using all three volume license programs, add in special offers and financing, and choose what's best for their specific circumstances.
Where to buy
Customers interested in Microsoft's volume license programs should contact one of the company's SMB specialist resellers: PC Connection, CDW, PC Mall, Best Buy for Business, Tech Depot, or Staples.
Discounted Microsoft products are also available through local "small business specialist" organizations, who can also provide other services to customers, such as migration and support.
The Microsoft Small Business site offers more details and contact information.
Regardless of the vendor chosen, if your company isn't buying Microsoft products through one of the three SMB volume licensing programs, you are paying too much.