Of the 20 most needed future job skills, Microsoft Office ranks as the third most required skill, explicitly requested in 15 percent of positions, according to a study commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by IDC. Designed to explore the technical and cognitive skills necessary for success in tomorrow’s high-growth, high-salary occupations, the study also found that Microsoft PowerPoint and Word hold the number 11 and number 13 spots, respectively.
With this data in mind, Microsoft will roll out a new program called Student Advantage on Dec. 1, 2013 to equip students of qualifying academic institutions worldwide with the latest version of Microsoft Office 365.
Microsoft introduced the program as a way to help students gain the skills and technical acumen necessary to pursue future occupations in high-growth career fields, such as medical support, sales, marketing, computer programming, and others.
Student Advantage also benefits academic institutions, namely in the form of huge cost savings. Mark Hachman of PCWorld estimates that a large institution such as Pennsylvania State University could save upwards of $2.9 million per year by using Student Advantage to equip students with Microsoft Office.
Beginning Dec. 1, any academic institution that licenses Office 365 ProPlus, Office 365 A3 or A4, or Office Professional Plus for its faculty and staff and does so via Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES); Open Value; Subscription Agreement for Educations Solutions (OVS-ES); or School Agreement will be eligible to provide Office 365 ProPlus to students at no additional cost. To take advantage of this program, institutions must order the $0 Office 365 ProPlus SKU for students through their large account reseller (LAR) or a Microsoft Authorized Education Reseller (AER). Student Advantage will not be available through the Microsoft Online Services Portal. Continue Reading…
Microsoft plans to discontinue support for Windows XP in April 2014, and as a result many businesses are now scrambling to upgrade their operating systems. Inevitably, we’ve seen an influx of questions about the available options, the best methods for transitioning, and most importantly, the applicability of Windows reimaging rights.
Reimaging rights refer to the ability of a Windows software purchaser to copy that software onto multiple devices from a single standard image. Reimaging rights are often utilized when an organization purchases a device, or multiple devices, that are preloaded with the latest version of the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) operating system (OS). More often than not, businesses don’t run the most current software across their IT environments, or they are incapable of supporting multiple versions. In these cases, reimaging rights allow businesses to downgrade the software on the new device by running a standard image in their local environment.
Reimaging rights are directly related to how an organization procures software, whether through a reseller via a volume licensing (VL) agreement, pre-installment on a device purchased through an OEM, or a Full Packaged Product (FPP) purchased from a distributor. These unique ways of acquiring the Windows desktop OS complicate the reimaging rights allowed in certain scenarios. Continue Reading…
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:
- Simplified pricing
- A new consumption allowance that eliminates overage fees
- 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…
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…
For the 10th consecutive year, Microsoft has named SHI a winner of its Platinum Level Operational Excellence Award. This is the 12th time SHI has received the honor, which is given to partners who have demonstrated “market-leading operational excellence” in support of the delivery, deployment, and maintenance of Microsoft technology.
SHI is committed to educating our customers on the Microsoft products, licensing scenarios, and updates they need to be aware of to efficiently manage their tech environments. Through informative blog posts on new software licensing options, hands-on introductions to Microsoft technologies, and our ever-expanding portfolio of Microsoft devices, we strive to help organizations make educated IT purchasing decisions and connect them with the technologies best suited to their needs. We are proud to once again be recognized for these efforts!
Congratulations to all the SHI employees whose hard work and dedication contributed to this award, and thank you to our Microsoft customers for helping to make this possible! If there are any topics you want to read more about or questions you want answered, Microsoft-related or not, please drop us a line in the comments below.
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:
- Core Infrastructure (i.e., Windows Server and System Center)
- Application Platform (i.e., SQL Server. BizTalk and SharePoint can also be included)
- Developer Platform (i.e., Visual Studio)
- 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…
When making a major investment, most consumers want — and deserve — a clear sense of what they’re buying. For example, would you purchase a new car without taking it for a spin around the block? Probably not, and for good reason. Without a test drive, you have little way of knowing whether you’re investing tens of thousands of dollars in a car that will meet your needs, whether for size, comfort, safety, or utility.
In nearly every major purchasing scenario today, consumers have the option to try before they buy. And yet this concept is often conspicuously absent in the technology world. Organizations are frequently required to invest considerable sums in software and hardware without ever being given the chance to test them in a real-world environment.
That’s why SHI has teamed up with Microsoft to offer hands-on introductions to the Microsoft Productivity Suite. In a Microsoft Experience Center (MEC) session, we bring technology decision-makers into our labs to test drive Microsoft software in a number of true-to-life, work-related scenarios, such as working remotely, social networking to locate expertise and share information, and connecting in real time with coworkers and customers via video and voice conferencing, instant messaging, simultaneous SharePoint and document editing, help-desk and IT ticketing. Continue Reading…