Startup counsels companies on Microsoft licensing |

Startup counsels companies on Microsoft licensing

John Seelmeyer

Bruce Liley figures that the business world can be broken into two groups — those who are paying too much because they’re over-licensed with Microsoft software and those facing legal risks because they’re under-licensed.

Liley’s five-month-old company, Broomstick LLC, looks to carve a position for itself as independent consultant, helping companies ensure that they have just the right licensing. Broomstick is an independent software licensing advisor company that assists companies reconcile what Microsoft software they have installed, own, or optimally may need for their organization.

Some corporations, Liley says, may be able to save tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the size of the organization by understanding their Microsoft licensing environment. Software licensing is complex and often results in companies being under- or over-licensed.

“It’s a pretty pervasive problem,” says Liley, who launched Broomstick LLC in January, shortly after leaving a successful career at Microsoft for 13 years, where he developed and managed the software giant’s licensing and contract-compliance organization in the Americas. Liley was the principal architect for a majority of Microsoft’s customer and partner compliance audit programs.

“We don’t sell software, and we have no intention to sell software There is a market opportunity to help customers without trying to sell them.”

Bruce Liley

Liley started his career as a financial and information-technology audit manager with Ernst & Young in Silicon Valley.

The Broomstick LLC staff of five continues to learn and adjust the company’s message to corporate decision-makers.

“We have a dedicated and passionate team of professionals and a service that has a positive impact and high return-on-investment outcome for customers but like all start-ups, are still working out the optimal messaging to grow the business,” Liley says.

Most recently, the company has focused its marketing on media that reach corporate information officers, as well as chief financial and operations officers who feel the pain of incorrect licensing.

The company’s pitch: Unlike the software resellers who perform the majority of software licensing reviews currently and have a stake in selling more licenses, Broomstick LLC is independent of any kind of sales process with Microsoft or traditional sales channel.

“We don’t sell software, and we have no intention to sell software,” says Liley. “There is a market opportunity to help customers without trying to sell them.”

The company’s staff brings a total of 35 years of experience with Microsoft licensing, including completion of more than 4,000 software-licensing audits during their careers.

When the company is retained, its staff takes a close look at the Microsoft software installed across the client’s organization, reviews historic licensing purchases made, determines if the proper licensing is in place and works to determine if more cost-effective and optimal licensing solutions might be available.

“It’s very difficult for companies to keep track of the licenses they installed and own. Our process allows companies to obtain a full inventory of their software deployment and a consolidated view of their license entitlement and agreement ownership. Microsoft enterprise licensing and agreements are growing increasingly complex with the introduction of new subscription and cloud-based hybrid licensing models. Companies are finding it increasingly challenging to obtain objective software licensing guidance that is independent of the sales ecosystem,” says Liley.

Liley’s team has several contracts in the pipeline, and he says the company probably will become profitable in the third quarter. In the meantime, he continues to watch every nickel and keep overhead expenses to a minimum.

And he’s learning to deal with pressures in a startup that are just as intense as anything he faced in a competitive corporate environment and several years in the military.

Making the transition from managing a software vendor compliance program to working with companies to evaluate noncompliance risk has been a positive and big career change for Liley.

“Helping companies right license and evaluate optimal licensing solutions is a win-win for customers and Microsoft. It’s wonderful to follow your passion and have a positive impact on customers,” he says. “But you have to survive, then thrive.”