I woke up this morning to a great Twitter from a good friend and great coach Jak Plihal (http://www.beingsolutions.com/). It was the quote:
"It is hard to get a man to understand something, if his living depends on him not understanding it." by Upton Sinclair.
To me, this perfectly explains the relationship between resellers (VARs, LARs, and any other acronym that is responsible for selling you software), software publishers and the details of software licensing.
There are details in software licensing agreements and product use rights that can be turned to a benefit for a company in legally reducing their software licensing costs...but you're not going to find them all out by asking your reseller or publisher for help.
Why? Not because they are necessarily trying to mislead you or keep you in ignorance - instead it's because they honestly don't even think of those options...because their living (or magnitude of it) depends on them not thinking of those options.
Now, there are definitely some that are better than others (I love working with Softmart for example as their reps have demonstrated to me a strong ability to keep the customer's needs in focus) but as long as their income relies upon what you buy then Upton Sinclair's quote will continue to apply.
When it comes to negotiating the best deal for licensing - the bulk of the savings opportunities comes from making full use of the product use rights and volume licensing agreements terms - not from the discount you negotiate (or not from the discount you negotiate without knowing these items intimately). Get your advice and education from an independent expert...know in advance who profits from your purchase and what their motivation is so you can better analyze their advice.
Remember, "It is hard to get a man to understand something, if his living depends on him not understanding it." Upton Sinclair.