Microsoft’s O365 price change: What every customer needs to know

O365 BannerMicrosoft Office 365 (O365) has seen its fair share of changes, both in features and functionality and in price point. Most notably, in May 2012 and then again in September 2013, Microsoft decreased pricing on O365 by roughly 15 percent in both instances. Now, effective August 1, Microsoft increased pricing by 15 percent on its O365 Service Plans E1, E3, and E4, aligning them with the pricing offered back in May 2012.

This price change affects both Enterprise Agreement direct and indirect programs whereby an organization is adding O365 plan subscriptions to the agreement for net new users or is transitioning qualifying licenses with Software Assurance (SA) to O365 plan subscriptions.

In conjunction with this O365 price change, Microsoft will also be offering a new, discounted SKU for customers that have invested in fully paid perpetual licenses with SA and are looking to transition to O365. This new SKU, called O365 from SA, will be available to purchase at your agreement anniversary date or upon renewal of enrollment. Eligibility is dependent on your organization’s current on-premises entitlements at the time of transition.

The following table illustrates when customers are eligible to apply an O365 from SA user subscription license (USL) to their agreement either at agreement anniversary or agreement renewal. Continue Reading…

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How the retirement of Microsoft’s Select Plus volume licensing program will affect you

Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA)

Broader availability of MPSA is coming this fall.

Since its inception in October 2008, Select Plus has been the recommended transactional volume licensing program for medium-to-large organizations looking to procure Microsoft products and services. But with the introduction of cloud services, such as Office 365, and other new programs, licensing models continued to grow more complex and gain more complicated program terms. For that reason, Microsoft introduced its new volume licensing program vehicle, Microsoft Product and Services Agreement (MPSA).

Now, with a broader release of MPSA — including the availability of Software Assurance (SA) — scheduled for September 2014 and worldwide availability planned for July 2015, Microsoft announced it is retiring Select Plus.

The Select Plus licensing program will be phased out in two stages: Continue Reading…

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Office for iPad: Answers to your most common licensing questions

Since Microsoft’s unveiling of Office for iPad two weeks ago, SHI has been inundated with phone calls and emails from customers asking about how they can get the new offering. This question would seem to have a simple answer given the nature of how easy it is to obtain apps on an iPad — just download it!

However, as organizations assess their current and future mobile device strategy, it stands to reason that the more robust capabilities available for Office for iPad require a more complete and thorough understanding of the licensing and cost models involved. For that reason, we’ve taken the time to address the five most common licensing questions organizations have asked about Office for iPad.

1. Is Office for iPad included in my existing Office 365 (O365) service plan?

In order to edit and create documents with Office for iPad, organizations must have an O365 ProPlus subscription. The following volume licensing (VL) O365 subscriptions include O365 ProPlus:

Microsoft-Office-365--Volume-Licensing-Plans

2. Is Office for iPad included in my existing Enterprise Agreement (EA)? Continue Reading…

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Microsoft updates licensing for Windows desktop operating system

Microsoft announced a change to licensing options for Windows Enterprise edition on March 1. Below I provide an overview of the changes and how they might impact organizations looking to take advantage of the features and functionalities.

Historically, Windows Enterprise edition has been only available through the acquisition of Windows Professional with Software Assurance (SA). Organizations that wanted these capabilities needed to purchase them through one of the following means:

  • A new upgrade License with SA
  • The renewal of existing SA
  • The acquisition of SA only within 90 days of OEM or a Full Packaged Product (FPP) purchase

These procurement options were accompanied by certain restrictions on the type of qualifying volume licensing programs. For example, organizations couldn’t acquire SA within 90 days of OEM or FPP purchase under the Enterprise Agreement program, only via Select or Open. In addition, the ability to renew existing SA depended on keeping maintenance current to ensure continuity of coverage. SA renewal rules are defined in the Microsoft Product List.

Microsoft will now provide Windows Enterprise edition as an upgrade License only offering moving forward, making the features of Enterprise edition available to organizations not invested in Windows annuity licensing or programs. In addition, SA will come standard with the Windows Enterprise edition only, eliminating the Windows Professional Upgrade with SA option. Organizations with active SA on Windows Professional will have the option to renew using the Windows Enterprise SA SKU. Continue Reading…

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4 questions customers are asking about licensing Office 365

Microsoft has attempted to simplify the licensing of Office 365, but the rules can still be confusing, especially when migrating from a perpetual-based licensing model to a subscription. To clear the air, we’ve compiled and answered four of the most common licensing questions organizations ask when looking to transition to Office 365.

What is a CAL Bridge?

Microsoft introduced the Client Access License (CAL) Bridge to help organizations transition their on-premises workloads to the cloud while maintaining their enterprise-wide commitment and licensing rights. Each CAL Bridge consists of CAL Suite workloads that aren’t included in the corresponding Office 365 service plan.

Consider this example. The Core CAL Suite grants all of an organization’s users and devices access to on-premises servers that run any of the following workloads:

  • SharePoint Server
  • Windows Server operating system (OS)
  • Lync Server
  • Exchange Server
  • System Center Configuration Manager
  • System Center Endpoint Protection

When an organization transitions to Office 365 Plan E1, its users gain cloud access to some of those same workloads. However organizations must still remain licensed for the workloads not included in Office 365 plan E1. The Core CAL Bridge accommodates the change in access rights for those users. Instead of licensing users for Core CAL Suite, an organization can license its users for Office 365 plan E1 and Core CAL Bridge for Office 365.

The new licensing configuration divides users’ licensing workloads as follows:

Office 365 Plan E1 gives users licenses to SharePoint Server, Exchange Server, and Lync Server while Core CAL Bridge for Office 365 provides licenses to Windows Server OS, System Center Configuration Manager, and System Center Endpoint Protection. Continue Reading…

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What you need to know about Windows Azure’s pricing and licensing changes

Effective today, Microsoft is changing the way it sells and licenses Windows Azure through the Enterprise Agreement (EA) program. The changes apply to all enrollment programs, including the new Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE), which also goes live today.

The Azure pricing update involves three major changes:

  1. Simplified pricing
  2. A new consumption allowance that eliminates overage fees
  3. A single subscription option

Below we’ll take a look at each of these changes and outline how organizations can license Windows Azure via SCE moving forward. Continue Reading…

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EAP, ECI, EWA, and SCE: The evolving landscape of Microsoft volume licensing

Remember the good old days when you likely had a simple choice between two volume licensing programs to license your Microsoft software: Select Agreement or Enterprise Agreement? Over the past three years, Microsoft has introduced new volume licensing program options that have provided organizations with more flexibility, but have also added another layer of complexity to the decision-making process. Most recently, Microsoft announced a new program called Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE) slated for availability in the fourth quarter 2013, adding even more choices to its volume licensing pool.

SCE is designed to simplify the program terms, pricing, requirements, and decision points for organizations interested in committing to the products and technologies offered under this enrollment. As with any significant change, it is important to understand how organizations currently procure their licenses and how that process will change in the future.

Today, Microsoft offers organizations the ability to procure licenses under single or multiple enrollments depending on various factors, including:

  • License, License and Software Assurance, Subscription
  • Commitment terms (e.g., enterprise wide vs. buy as you go)
  • Price discounts
  • Bundled vs. single SKUs (e.g., Core Infrastructure Suite vs. Windows Server)
  • Program benefits (e.g., Software Assurance benefits)
  • True-up terms (e.g., one year vs. three years)

When you factor in the various volume licensing vehicles that Microsoft offers, IT and procurement managers must weigh a complex set of options during their decision-making process. Today, organizations with more than 250 desktops have the following enrollment types available to them to procure their Microsoft licenses and services: Continue Reading…

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How to prepare for Microsoft’s Server and Cloud Enrollment

Microsoft recently announced its plans to launch a new volume licensing program called Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE). Anticipated to go into effect in the fourth quarter of 2013, this new enrollment offering will give customers the ability to license Microsoft server, applications, and cloud technologies under a single enrollment structure. The server and cloud technologies include Windows Server, System Center, SQL Server, and Azure. Customers will also have the ability to enroll their Visual Studio Developer, BizTalk, and SharePoint Server licenses.

In addition, SCE provides organizations with pricing discounts, standard program terms, and a flexible licensing approach that offers the option to procure perpetual or subscription licenses, depending on deployment needs. Here’s everything you need to know about SCE.

How does SCE work?

SCE is a three-year commitment signed under a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA). It requires an enterprise-wide commitment to Software Assurance (SA) across the installed base of one or more of the components that make up the program. These SCE components are:

  1. Core Infrastructure (i.e., Windows Server and System Center)
  2. Application Platform (i.e., SQL Server. BizTalk and SharePoint can also be included)
  3. Developer Platform (i.e., Visual Studio)
  4. Windows Azure

By joining the SCE program, customers will receive the following benefits:

  • Discounts on new license and Software Assurance purchases
  • Discounts on Software Assurance renewals
  • New subscription-based licensing options, which replace the deferred SA approach offered in the EAP, and that will provide flexibility when retiring workloads or migrating to the cloud
  • Windows Azure pricing discounts
  • Full Software Assurance rights, including License Mobility and version upgrade rights
  • Unlimited problem resolution support for qualifying premier services customers
  • Consolidated enrollment covering both Core Infrastructure and Application Platform components

What does SCE mean for you? Continue Reading…

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Microsoft adds flexible, cost-effective Office 365 purchase option

Effective yesterday, Aug. 1, Microsoft customers have a simpler way to add Microsoft Office 365 to their Enterprise Agreements (EAs). Known as Office 365 Add-ons, the new Office 365 purchase plan will allow new, existing, or renewal EA customers to procure Office 365 as an “add-on” to their existing on-premises Software Assurance (SA) investment.

Why Microsoft Office 365 Add-ons are a breath of fresh air

When Microsoft introduced Office 365 a couple of years ago, the goal was to move organizations to the cloud and transition their on-premises, perpetual license workloads, such as Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, and Office ProPlus, to a hosted subscription-based licensing model. But with thousands of customers already under Enterprise Agreements for these traditional licenses with Software Assurance, the process wasn’t going to be easy.

In order to accommodate organizations that wanted to begin transitioning to Office 365 before the term of their Enterprise Agreement ended, Microsoft offered a purchase option that introduced transitional part numbers (SKUs), Client Access License (CAL) Bridges, and pricing changes that would account for the difference in what customers were paying on-premises versus what they would need to pay in the cloud.

Additionally, Microsoft had to update many of its contractual documents, including Enterprise Agreements, to accommodate terms for online services. The new language used to address minimum purchase order requirements, price level minimums, true-up due dates, and other conditions brought about a whole new set of program terms or changes.

The result: the hybrid licensing model that many customers use today. This licensing approach has its benefits. It allows organizations to transition to cloud services at their own pace, matches online services plans to meet requirements of users within the organization, and amasses no incremental costs in a year for equivalent transitioned users. These benefits make the hybrid licensing model optimal for customers looking for a long-term solution.

However, the new SKUs, licensing options, and product/program terms introduced by the transitional hybrid licensing model add a layer of complexity that can become an unforeseen administrative burden for some organizations. Continue Reading…

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Microsoft makes changes to BizTalk Server licensing model

Earlier this week, Microsoft introduced BizTalk Server 2013 and with it, a new licensing model. Instead of the per-processor licensing model customers had grown accustomed to, BizTalk Server 2013 is now being offered in a new core-based licensing model. This change aligns very closely with the licensing changes applied to SQL Server 2012 last year.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Enterprise, Standard, and Branch Server licenses will be sold in 2-Core Licensing Packs. So, pricing for a single-processor license under the old model is equivalent to four core licenses under the new model. Customers deploying BizTalk Server 2013 on machines with more than four cores in each processor will end up paying more.
  • To license a physical server, you must license all the cores on that server. There is a minimum of four core licenses required for each physical processor in the server. Servers fully licensed with Enterprise Edition core licenses with software assurance (SA) allow for an unlimited deployment of virtual machines (VMs) running BizTalk on the server (or server farm). This is especially beneficial in heavily consolidated virtual environments.
  • As an alternative to licensing all the physical cores on a server, organizations are able to license individual VMs. To license a VM with core-based licenses, count the number of virtual cores allocated within the VM (minimum of four core licenses per VM). Each VM licensed w/SA can be moved frequently within your server farm.

What does this mean for you? Continue Reading…

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