What you need to know about Microsoft’s changes to its Enterprise Agreement program

UpdateMicrosoft will change one of its biggest licensing programs – and your organization might have a decision to make.

Microsoft is raising the minimum desktop commitment on Enterprise and Enterprise Subscription Enrollments from 250 to 500 devices/users on July 1, 2016. The adjustment aligns with Microsoft’s ongoing transformation of how organizations acquire, license, and deploy software and services in their IT environment.

Let’s look at how the change will impact organizations moving forward. (more…)

Technology in the classroom, part 3: Making your new initiatives work

digtal learningThe best teacher you ever had didn’t simply read the textbook better than the teacher in the next classroom. Great educators use out-of-the-box methods and subtle strategies to teach students — without the class even realizing it.

A mature technology plan, developed by a school’s IT staff, will include goals for devices, software, security, and back-end support. The technology used in the classroom may be static from one year to the next, but a strong technology plan that encompasses multiple school years will give teachers and students the resources to succeed every year. (more…)

What Microsoft’s per core licensing policy for Windows Server and System Center 2016 means to you

whats newMicrosoft recently announced details on the upcoming release of Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016, anticipated in Q3 2016. This announcement provides insights into some of the significant changes slated to occur to the Windows 2012 R2 licensing model.

Let’s review these changes, and examine the impact the new licensing agreements may have on your organization. (more…)

Office 365 E5 is here – 4 things you should know

Do you knowMicrosoft has introduced its newest Office 365 (O365) enterprise service plan – E5. It features Cloud PBX, PSTN conferencing, end-user and organization analytics, and advanced security. In conjunction with these new capabilities, Microsoft has added additional features to the existing E1 and E3 plans. As organizations evaluate these new capabilities, it’s important to understand how the introduction of O365 E5 will impact licensing options moving forward.

O365 E5’s availability

  • O365 E5 is now available for commercial and government organizations. However, E5 is not yet available for Government Community Cloud (GCC) and Education customers; availability for these customer segments will be announced at a later date.
  • E5 without PSTN conferencing will be sold separately through all programs where O365 Enterprise Plans are available.
    • Due to limited availability, PSTN conferencing is being offered as a separate add-on SKU to E5 under an Enterprise Agreement (EA) or EA Subscription Agreement only.
    • An E5 with PSTN conferencing single SKU will be offered at a later date.
  •  Updated O365 enterprise service plans consist of E1, E3, and E5. Below is a breakout of each plan’s features:

MS-O365-chart

E5’s licensing options

O365 E5 includes a number of new features that can be licensed as part of the suite or as standalone offerings. How an organization licenses these new features will primarily depend on its current O365 service footprint. There are three purchase order options for licensing E5 or any of its new components.

  1. Step-up: A step-up license allows an organization with active Software Assurance (or service coverage if Online Service, or OLS) to migrate from a lower edition to higher edition of a given product. An example of this would be “stepping up” from O365 Plan E1 to O365 Plan E5.
  2. Add-on: An add-on license provides rights to additional services and features while maintaining an existing license investment. For example, an organization can add on PSTN conferencing to O365 E5 without PSTN.
  3. Full USL: A full user subscription license is applicable when an organization is purchasing online services without any underlying license investment. An example would be purchasing O365 E5 without PSTN full User Subscription License.

An organization’s purchase option carries pricing and licensing implications. With the introduction of E5 and its new services, the number of iterations available for organizations to choose from has increased, and it’s important to understand these various options before making a final decision.

The retirement date for O365 E4 is set

The release of O365 E5 means the impending retirement of E4, slated for June 30, 2016. Organizations currently licensed for E4 can use the current plan under their agreement until renewal. Organizations that fall into this bucket will have two options to move forward with their O365 services prior to or at their renewal date.

  1. Customers interested in moving to E5 prior to their renewal can purchase an O365 E5 step-up SKU for each E4 user licensed. This SKU accounts for the difference in cost between the E4 and E5 service plans.
  2. Customers not interested in E5 can renew into E3, and add the Skype for Business Plus CAL subscription.

The upgraded features in E1 and E3

New features added to O365 E1 include Skype Meeting Broadcast and Task Management. Skype Meeting Broadcast will allow E1 customers to host every kind of meeting, including one-to-one, one-to-many, and one-to-thousands. In addition, Work Management in E1 allows for project management capabilities for teams.

E3 customers will be granted the new features available in E1, and will receive expanded rights to Data Loss Prevention (DLP) and encryption.

Visit Microsoft’s O365 Roadmap for the company’s online services portfolio. As you evaluate your move to O365, or more specifically, the new features and capabilities of O365 E5, it is important to have a partner to help you navigate this path. Reach out to your SHI Account Representative to get started.

Paid for, but not used: Why you’re probably not using some software entitlements

keyboard2Many organizations struggle to keep up with more than just the owned versus deployed positions of their software licensing; additional entitlements, such as software maintenance, are often purchased with the license, but go overlooked and unused. These additional entitlements, the terms of which differ from publisher to publisher, are typically valid for a fixed timeframe, and organizations often fail to act on them within that period. (more…)

Perpetual or subscription licensing for Autodesk? You can choose – for now. [UPDATED]

jan-31-countdown[Editor’s note: This post, originally published on July 9, has been updated.]

It’s the year of choice for Autodesk customers — organizations can either license Autodesk software through perpetual rights or Autodesk’s latest subscription licensing model, called Desktop Subscription. But not for long — the clock is ticking. (more…)

The ONE answer: Cisco’s new licensing suite unlocks the power of software

unlockWe’ve said it plenty of times: Licensing is rarely simple. Cisco is trying to change that.

Enter Cisco ONE, a suite that bundles all available licensing options for a device or platform together in one package. With Cisco ONE, organizations are freed from the requirement of buying licenses on a feature-by-feature basis. Because these licenses are un-coupled from devices, organizations can plan for consistent hardware refreshes without having to buy new licenses. (more…)

How to best prepare for your Office 365 deployment

cloudGoing all in with the cloud requires a big step – just ask any organization that purchased Office 365 (O365) and has yet to deploy its licenses. Moving the litany of Office products to the cloud is a major commitment for any organization, but fear not: Help is on the way through a number of incentive programs run by Microsoft.

Microsoft offers different incentive programs derived from a variety of funding buckets to drive the deployment of O365. As part of these funding vehicles, both Microsoft and certified third-party providers assist organizations in deploying their O365 services, such as mail migration, SharePoint, OneDrive for Business, and Skype for Business, to the cloud. (more…)

Acrobat DC made easy: 5 questions about Adobe’s document manager answered

question mark guyIn April, Adobe released Acrobat Document Cloud (DC), its newest iteration of the document reading and editing application. Unlike Creative Cloud, which is only offered in a subscription-based model, Acrobat DC is available through either a perpetual license or as a subscription. Both licensing models can be purchased for every market segment, depending on an organization’s needs and IT environment.

Perpetual or subscription – what’s the difference? Organizations have struggled with this question and others since Acrobat DC was launched earlier this year, and we want to clear up the confusion about which options are available and other roadblocks users have come across. Here are five common questions we’re asked about Acrobat DC.  (more…)

Office 365 incentives are back – with a new core benefit

Microsoft IncentivesDetails of the next round of incentives for Office 365 (O365) adoption have been released, and there’s one big change for customers.

Microsoft has unveiled the Fiscal Year 2016 incentives, which will kick in for customers who purchase new licenses after Sept. 1 of this year, in order to spur O365 adoption and deployment. For customers who purchase O365 licenses from July 1 through Aug. 31, a bridge period with similar benefits is available as well.

Here is what you need to know about this year’s FastTrack offer, and why you should prepare your IT environment before you contact Microsoft. (more…)