SPLA reporting and Purchase Orders
Q: "We raised a PO with our SPLA reseller for a year to purchase 1000 licenses per month, but the actual license quantity fluctuates monthly. What should we do?"
SPLA reporting does not work well with a traditional procurement process involving raising a PO (purchase order) with every transaction.
Unless you can automate raising POs for SPLA licenses or your manual approval process is extremely quick, you are setting yourself up for trouble, and here is why.
Reporting must be timely
SPLA reporting process requires you to report consumed licences for the previous calendar month, usually in about ten calendar days – it depends on your arrangement with your SPLA reseller.
In those ten calendar days, you must:
Measure and calculate Windows Server core licences for all your hosts and standalone hardware,
Measure and calculate SQL Server licences, choose a more economical model between cores and SALs, exclude passive instances, and more,
Enumerate all users authorised to access Remote Desktop and do the same for each desktop application like Office, Project, Visio or Visual Studio,
Exclude duplicate users, service accounts, and admin accounts as permitted by SPLA,
Perform relevant calculations for all the other Microsoft software deployed in your hosting estate,
As you can see, it's overwhelming enough.
Even if you have a good SPLA licensing tool, there is still significant monthly maintenance to ensure that calculations are correct and up-to-date with all the custom configurations and scenarios.
If, after that, you must go through a PO approval process that takes days, you will be wasting precious time. Every month.
And if you're late with your report and your payment is attributed to the next calendar month in Microsoft's SPLA reporting database, that money is lost. Forever.
Reporting must be precise
Here is the mantra to be repeated monthly:
If you under-report, you will be penalised in an audit,
If you over-report, you will waste money.
One of the frequently asked questions we get is, "But cannot we leverage over-reporting against months when we under-reported?" Sadly, no. If you make an over-reporting mistake, you have 60 days to correct it. But you cannot leverage it to "level out" spikes or dips in license consumption that occurred in preceding months.
Again, uncorrected over-reporting is a waste of money. Unless you have bullet-proof evidence of consumed licence quantities per calendar month in the audit scope, it won't stand as an audit defence argument.
Do not raise annual POs for SPLA licenses with fixed volumes.
If raising POs is compulsory in your organisation, work with procurement on developing a quick and responsive process.
Implement a dedicated SPLA reporting tool and look after it monthly, if not daily.
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