How to determine if you qualify for Office 365 incentives

Microsoft IncentivesTo help more organizations get started with their O365 subscriptions, Microsoft is now offering several financial “carrots” to spur deployment. New customers that purchase more than 150 O365 licenses from Sept. 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015 are eligible for basic onboarding and deployment, as well as monetary incentives aimed to offset the full cost of deployment through a certified Microsoft partner. These incentives can be realized by private and public businesses, government entities, and even some educational institutions that meet certain qualifications.

Microsoft has instituted a handful of O365 deployment incentive programs, and some, like the FastTrack: Getting Started program, have already been exhausted. But don’t get confused. While the FastTrack: Getting Started program is out of funding, the O365 Adoption Offer is still available and can be utilized by customers that begin the process through a certified Microsoft partner. While these programs might sound the same, they offer distinct benefits.

No two organizations are alike, and each has its own needs for O365. For this reason, it’s important to understand how to apply Microsoft’s incentive programs to maximize your savings and mold the platform to your IT environment. Here are four important factors you must know about the incentive program, your eligibility, and the potential cost offsets.

Are you eligible for the Adoption Offer? In order to qualify for the incentives through the Adoption Offer, new customers must purchase at least 150 O365 licenses between Sept. 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015, and must be using 15 percent of the O365 workload. The offer only applies to new customers — even if you only purchased a few trial licenses before Sept. 1, and then purchased more than 150 licenses after Sept. 1, you might not be eligible. Reach out to your account representative to confirm eligibility.

You have two ways to get up and running on O365. Microsoft will contact all eligible customers that purchase O365 licenses within 30 days to offer a basic FastTrack Onboarding (which is distinct from the FastTrack: Getting Started offer). As part of FastTrack, Microsoft can remotely deploy and configure all O365 services, including Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Office 365 Pro Plus, and Yammer, into the cloud.

However, customers also have the option of working with a certified partner to complete the deployment through the Adoption Offer, an incentive program with money available to offset deployment costs. Organizations that work with a Microsoft partner to carry out the Adoption Offer will receive support and deployment for any and all Office 365 workloads, as well as any migration and remediation needs such as email databases and backups, and can receive funds on a per-seat basis.

The Adoption Offer also allows for full email and data migration for eligible customers. The FastTrack option will deploy Exchange, but will not fully integrate email, directories, and contacts.

How the incentives can offset some of the cost of deployment. Microsoft is offering $15 per seat for up to 1,000 seats, and $5 per seat above 1,000, with a total limit of $60,000 per customer through the Adoption Offer. We see average costs of O365 deployment range from $15,000 to $20,000, and while the incentives will not cover the full cost, they can offset a portion of the total bill.

How the Adoption Offer simplifies deployment. Deploying the full complement of O365 workloads and licenses can be a difficult task — many customers don’t know where to start. Each organization has its own needs, so using Microsoft or another provider assures customers receive the full benefits of O365.

Customers that purchase their licenses within the incentive timeframe can not only offset costs, but get a better handle on their IT environments through partner-related onboarding, data migration, remediation, and adoption services. The incentive programs will reduce the total cost of deployment, and customers will accelerate the process of deploying and configuring O365.

Customers should also consider Microsoft’s other deployment incentives, including select Windows Server 2003 end of life migration programs, as well as Active Directory and System Center Configure Manager (SCCM).

O365, one of Microsoft’s most successful services, can help you transition from an on-premises solution into the cloud. But adoption can be difficult and confusing for many customers — it’s why Microsoft is helping, and is offering incentives to begin the deployment process. If you’re new to O365, now is a great time to get up and running.

SHI has a team of experts that can help you determine eligibility and how these incentives might fit your organization’s unique needs, so contact your SHI representative today to begin working on your deployment and these offers.



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