During a Sunday afternoon roundtable discussion focused on Leading Innovation as a CIO, one executive leader at the Spring 2017 Midmarket CIO Forum reclaimed that buzzword tossed about by today’s technology writers in a simple reminder.

“Innovation is change,” said Vicki Harper of Acument Global. “You can’t keep doing the same thing you’ve always done.”

In the context of technology teams continuing business processes in accordance with Microsoft contractual agreements, Harper said Microsoft, “simply doesn’t get it” while she commended Google for their aggressive approach to compete with the software giant’s grip on the global market.

Microsoft licensing is a regular alligator with which CIOs in the midmarket space must wrestle according to Scott Bickley, Senior Research Director, Vendor Advisor at Info-Tech Research Group.

“Understanding Microsoft’s licensing can be like learning a new language and, to add a twist, the rules of the language change from year to year.”

As one of the top five expense items in most enterprise software budgets, Microsoft licensing is a primary target for cost reduction. According to a survey by Cherwell, Microsoft audited 67% of respondents in 2013.

Damian Brennan, VP and CIO at Artco Group International, a niche steel manufacturing company in upstate New York, was recruited to his role by the CEO to lead technology innovation as the company grew rapidly through acquisitions.

An early adopter of Google Apps for Work more than seven years ago, when the company’s headcount was less than 100, Brennan has successfully enabled business users to retain their coveted Excel while implementing Google Apps for email and other business processes.

While a handful of senior executives still view IT as significant cost center, Brennan’s various roles in the company, particularly in working with Operations and Finance to integrate and grow new business lines through M&A activity, prove that IT leaders role is to enable data driven decision making.

For the month of May, Boardroom Events and Info-Tech Research Group are extending a special offer to the Midmarket CIO Forum community – a Microsoft licensing review and strategy toolkit to help IT organizations optimize spend (a $5,000 value!)