I get asked frequently "what should I do in the middle of my Microsoft contract to get ready for the next  renewal?". The answer is long and also depends on your specific situation, and we have a process to work through this. 

The simple answer is: 

1. Have >50% of your cloud workload on AWS, Google or Oracle. More if you're on E5.

2. Have a multiple vendor approach to security and CRM products. 

    People are going to disagree. Mostly for technical reasons. 

    My advice is based on facts and real experience. Negotiating with Microsoft is our core business. It's the only thing we do, and we've literally done hundreds of them. We have lots of evidence and benchmarking data to prove this. 

    More recently there is a noticeable behavior by Microsoft. If you are Single Cloud loyal to Microsoft there is no commercial benefit. Single Cloud loyalty means E5 for everyone and having everything in Azure. A single cloud strategy has no association with getting a good discount, in fact it often means the opposite.  

    We're seeing many renewal proposals for Single Cloud loyal Microsoft customers having lower discounts and higher prices. Why? Because if there is no growth in new services being consumed then the growth needs to come from higher prices. 

    If you are all-in with Microsoft then you will be comparing the commercial disadvantages with any perceived technical benefits. 

    Proof. Take a look at how the US Department of Defense has a multi cloud strategy providing both commercial and technical benefits. Their Azure discounts are double what other customers get with a similar Azure spend and are single cloud. This practice is consistent. 

    When Keystone arrives at a Microsoft renewal the best news we can hear is multi cloud.