Why you should consider Premium Assurance for Windows Server and SQL Server

In today’s rapidly evolving IT landscape, IT organizations are walking a fine line between transitioning to the cloud and retaining on-premises systems. They’re moving applications and infrastructure to the cloud for flexibility and scalability, but also need to maintain stable, secure, workable environments in house for applications that are not yet suited for cloud deployments. These transitions can take time, and often don’t happen in one fell swoop—mission-critical and legacy applications often have to stay on legacy server versions longer, and ensuring their security is vital to providing continuity and a stable environment. Continue Reading…

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The clock is ticking: Are you ready for Microsoft’s Volume Licensing transformation?

Microsoft licensing changesWith only two months left in Microsoft’s Fiscal Year ending June 30, you’re probably wondering why I’m writing a blog post now on Microsoft’s Volume Licensing (VL) transformation. Change is constant in Microsoft licensing, so a firm understanding of Microsoft’s plans to transform its VL models and platforms will be integral to your current and future decision-making process on the acquisition and consumption of software and services.

Let’s dissect the three changes that will have an immediate impact on how commercial organizations acquire Microsoft products moving forward. Continue Reading…

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What the changes in Microsoft’s SPLA mean for you

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For the second consecutive year, Microsoft will make price adjustments to its Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA) in January. The SPLA, which enables service providers and independent software vendors (ISVs) to offer hosted Microsoft software and solutions to their end customers, covers a wide range of products, including SQL Server, SharePoint Server, and Office.

Starting Jan. 1, 2015, Microsoft will update specific products and enact some pricing and licensing changes within SPLA. Understanding these changes will help you manage current licensing agreements and better optimize your product lineup.

With the exception of the one-off January adjustments, the pricing for all SPLA services remains static month to month. Customers should report 2014 usage by Jan. 10, 2015 to use existing December pricing; orders invoiced after Jan. 15, 2015 will be subject to the new pricing benchmarks.

Some of the software upgrades rev up the power behind Windows Server 2012 options. These improvements should increase productivity, and provide additional value that matches the current price offering. Continue Reading…

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How Microsoft Enterprise Cloud Suite licensing affects you

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This post was updated on Dec. 10, 2015.

Microsoft will launch its new Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS) offering on Dec. 1, 2014, the latest step in its broader shift in licensing models to a “mobile first, cloud first” strategy. ECS will be a bundled subscription SKU offering containing Office 365 (O365) Plan E3, Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), and Windows Client OS Per User. This new offering will be available to organizations looking to transition to the cloud mid-term, at renewal, or as part of a new agreement.

ECS provides organizations with a true user-based licensing model, removing the per-device licensing requirements on the Windows Client OS. However, with any new licensing change come requirements on how organizations can procure and manage the new offering in their environment going forward. Provided below is an overview of the ECS offering and important considerations when moving forward.

Understanding the changes to ECS

The traditional on-premises Desktop Platform licensing options — e.g., Office Pro Plus and Windows Client OS — have primarily been device based. The Client Access License (CAL) offered per-user or device licensing depending on how an organization’s users/devices were accessing its server technology. With the introduction of O365, Microsoft initiated user-based licensing for Office Pro Plus, available in the form of a standalone Office Pro Plus for O365 subscription or as an O365 Subscription Plan E3/E4.

In April 2014, Microsoft introduced EMS, which provided even more flexibility to procure cloud services in a user-centric approach. The final transformation comes with the release of Windows Pro Per User subscription license, which shifts from device- to user-based licensing. This change is best illustrated in the chart below. Continue Reading…

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How to prepare for the expiration of your EAP and ECI enrollments

Prepare for EAP and ECI ExpirationA year after Microsoft launched its Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE) volume licensing program, many organizations are preparing to make the switch as their Enrollment for Application Platform (EAP) and Enrollment for Core Infrastructure (ECI) agreements expire. Customers with expiring contracts are facing critical decisions regarding the renewal of their software assurance (SA) into the SCE, which marks a major step in the simplification of Microsoft licensing programs.

The SCE allows organizations to consolidate ECI and EAP licenses into a single enrollment featuring standardized terms and discounts. Its broad product offerings include the Core Infrastructure Suite, SQL Server, BizTalk Server, SharePoint Server, Visual Studio with MSDN, and Azure.

EAP and ECI customers should closely evaluate the SCE option before enrolling in order to fully understand the changes and how their current licensing will shift under the new structure. Here’s what EAP and ECI customers must know and do to prepare for the SCE. Continue Reading…

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3 key takeaways from the latest update to Microsoft’s MPSA

update to MPSAMicrosoft is weaving Software Assurance (SA) into its Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA), effective Sept. 1. This is one of several changes rolled out for MPSA that shed light on Microsoft’s direction for the program and make MPSA more attractive.

The addition of SA comes on the heels of Microsoft’s announcement that it’s retiring its Select Plus program, making MSPA a viable alternative for Select Plus now that it includes SA.

To put it simply, MPSA makes it easier for businesses of all sizes to understand the terms and conditions of their agreement, purchase new products, and receive Microsoft support. The addition of SA now allows for upgrades and support under these licenses as well.

Here’s what current and future customers need to know about the addition of SA to MPSA: Continue Reading…

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

 

Broader availability of MPSA is coming this fall.

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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5 hidden benefits of Software Assurance

Treasure-Chest-OpensMention Microsoft Software Assurance to an IT manager and the first thing he or she will think of is maintenance. While Software Assurance (SA) does enable software upgrades to newer versions of the products it covers, there is a lot more to it than just that. SA provides Volume Licensing (VL) customers access to a variety of tools training, and other resources to aid in the planning, deployment, and support of Microsoft technologies. The benefits available vary based on the type of VL agreement and the specific licenses purchased, but they’re designed to maximize the value IT pros and end users can extract from an organization’s technology investment.

Many organizations often don’t realize the full potential of SA. Here are five of the most commonly overlooked features of your SA benefits. Continue Reading…

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Microsoft’s volume licensing transformation: Here’s everything you need to know about MPSA

Late last year, Richard Smith, GM at Microsoft Worldwide Licensing & Pricing, revealed it would be introducing a “next-generation approach to commercial licensing” to provide customers a more flexible and simplified purchasing experience across all solutions. Dubbed by Microsoft as Next Generation of Volume Licensing (NGVL) or transformation of volume licensing, the initiative takes a multi-phased approach, which began and will continue to be driven by feedback from the different licensing communities–partners, customers, and Microsoft field.

NGVL then entered the pilot phase, for which SHI was proud to be one of the handful of participating partners across the globe. On Dec. 1, 2013 the initiative reached its current phase, a controlled, but broader, launch. This current phase is not the final product. We will likely see the transformation continue for some time to come.

Today’s offering, the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA), is simple but clearly displays the three primary tenets of the transformation. 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:

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

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