Any advice on how to minimize the license costs
Our Microsoft contract is also coming to an end soon and 90% of our users are running Windows 7 with Office 2013. We do not use our operating system on the licencing agreement and only do it for Office. I don't see any real or drastic changes in any upcoming Office version, so it appears as if we will not be renewing our Office licences, which is going to be a HUGE saving.
One of the projects I am working on with my team is the use of Linux for non-essential users.
We've taken old/redundant computers and installed a version of Linux which looks very similar to Windows XP. It even has My Computer, Recycle Bin, My Documents, etc. I haven't come across 1 user who noticed they were not using Windows. Secondly, we deployed Libre Office and set it to save files by default in .doc/docx, etc.
When I refer to non-essential users, I'm talking about cashiers, store-keepers, etc. Those users who only use bare minimum features.
We are looking to replace about 50 of these computers and projections shows a saving of about R800000 if you include hardware costs.
I know of a district municipality where this was already done and their savings went into the millions.
Most IT people are scared of Linux, but in reality it is not much different from MsWindows. Yes, back in the days (1996 - 2003), you really had to know your way around Linux, but with the new releases they are very much competing. Ex. in Windows you would run ipconfig command, whereas the same command in Linux is done the same way but only called ifconfig.
Lastly, I must add that Linux have changed so much over the last 5 years, that I know of 15 governments (countries) who have already completely migrated to Linux.
My opinion is to start small, maybe just in you ICT division and then slowly start testing it with 2-3 users.