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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SHI recognized by Microsoft for a decade of excellence

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.

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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 Experience Center with SHI lets organizations try before they buy

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…

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Learn about Microsoft licensing in upcoming SHI Microsoft webinars

SHI Microsoft Webinar Series

You want the simplest, most cost-effective way to acquire the latest Microsoft technology. Don’t we all?

Do you work for a corporate, academic, charitable, or government organization that prefers to pay for software as you go? Or are you with a small-to-midsize business that wants more control over your investment and access to training, deployment planning, software upgrades, and product support?

Either way, the next webinar in our Microsoft Spring 2013 Webinar Series, “Open Value and Open Business,” is for you. We’ll cover the Microsoft Open Value and Open Business programs from head to toe so you can decide which is the best fit for your organization. Check out this feature comparison chart to get started.

It starts today at 2 p.m. EDT. Simply use these log in credentials to join:

Join online: https://www.livemeeting.com/cc/shi2/join
Meeting ID: G673PH
Entry Code: 2{@kTW9
Call in US/Canada: 877.866.2469
Conference ID: 88386838

Then, come back later this month on April 25 for a webinar on the Microsoft Enrollment for Application Platform (EAP) and Enrollment for Core Infrastructure (ECI). In this session you’ll learn about licensing SQL Server, BizTalk Server (Microsoft recently changed the BizTalk Server licensing model), SharePoint Server, Visual Studio, Windows Server, and System Center, and discover how you can realize additional savings. Sign up by scrolling down to #11.

Want to join these webinars but aren’t available on those dates? Don’t worry. We’ll record the sessions and post the files online for you to watch at your convenience. Or feel free to ask us any questions by leaving a comment below.

Did I mention we’re also raffling off an Xbox 360 after each webinar?

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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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Announcing complete mobility solutions, from SHI Mobility Services

Today marks the official launch of SHI Mobility Services. I say “official” because much of SHI Mobility Services is based on work we’ve been doing for our customers for several years, and now we’ve brought together the complete suite of hardware, software, and services needed to create an integrated and customized mobility solution that meets any need. This is a big move for both SHI and our customers.

The way people look at mobility has changed drastically and quickly. Four years ago, BlackBerry was growing by leaps and bounds, as it fit the need for a tightly controlled enterprise mobile strategy centered on email. Then we gradually started to see companies buying more and more Apple iOS devices, followed by an explosion of interest in Android devices. Email is still important, but mobile is now more about apps and access to information.

SHI Mobility Services reflects this change. SHI still offers BlackBerry, because we think that they remain an important player, but SHI Mobility Services goes across platform – Apple iOS, Android, Windows, and BlackBerry – to provide a completely customized mobility offering for our customers. And it’s not just mobile devices, but also the hardware, software, and services needed to plan, implement, and manage mobile in any size organization. Continue Reading…

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Upcoming SHI webinars: Microsoft Exchange 2013, Licensing 101, and Windows Server and System Center 2012

SHI Microsoft Webinar Series

What’s new in Microsoft Exchange 2013, Windows Server 2012, and System Center 2012? Why should you migrate to any of these products, and how do you license them? Which Microsoft Volume Licensing program is the best option for your organization?

Our Microsoft Spring 2013 Webinar Series will provide the answers to these questions and more. Attendees will learn about new and discontinued product features, supported migration scenarios, and the ins and outs of Microsoft licensing, whether in an on-premise, cloud, or hybrid scenario.

Here is SHI’s March schedule of Microsoft webinars:

  • Exchange 2013. Learn how to increase user productivity, keep your organization safe, and maintain the control you want with the newest version of Exchange. When: March 14 at 2 p.m. EDT
  • Licensing 101. Uncover the ins and outs of Microsoft product licensing for applications, systems, servers, and software-as-a-service. When: March 21 at 2 p.m. EDT
  • Managing your server environment with Windows Server and Systems Center 2012. Learn how organizations of all sizes can cloud optimize their IT. When: March 28 at 2 p.m. EDT

Registration for all three events is open now. “Exchange 2013” takes place this Thursday, so be sure to sign up soon.

As always, if you can’t make it but have questions on any of these products and/or Microsoft licensing in general, drop us a note in the comments section below.

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SHI simplifies Microsoft True-up for Mid America Computer Corporation

Properly licensing software in a virtual environment can be a challenge for many organizations, and I’ve heard the process described as everything from a “minefield” to “a ticking time bomb.”

However, an experienced IT Asset Management (ITAM) partner can help you navigate the virtual terrain. Take this customer case study, for example.

THE PROBLEM

Billing and software solutions provider Mid America Computer Corporation (MACC) was approaching its annual True-up reconciliation for its Microsoft software. To make sure the company’s license inventory was in compliance with its contract prior to renewal, MACC needed an accurate, comprehensive look at exactly what software was being used on what devices.

Kourt Jensen, Network Supervisor at MACC, faced three challenges:

  1. He didn’t have the time to collect a complete inventory himself.
  2. He lacked the confidence in the software inventory tools MACC had in place to provide up-to-date licensing information necessary for an accurate True-up.
  3. And he needed help understanding the licensing requirements for a virtual server environment. Continue Reading…
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Join SHI for a Microsoft Office 365 Webinar on Feb. 28

SHI Microsoft Webinar Series

Whether you’re a small or midsize business, an academic institution, a government organization, or large enterprise with advanced IT requirements, customers agree that Microsoft Office 365 makes it easy to create, communicate, and share in the cloud.

That’s why the next webinar in our Microsoft Spring 2013 Webinar Series is dedicated to showing how your organization can use Office 365 to securely collaborate with anywhere access to email, web conferencing, documents, and calendars. We’ll also cover Office 365 licensing, subscriptions plans, and deployment options.

The webinar is taking place Feb. 28 at 2 p.m. EST, so be sure to register here (scroll down to #5). Oh, and just for attending you’ll receive a chance to win an Xbox 360 to do with whatever your gaming heart desires, such as inviting me over to bust moves with you in Dance Central 3.*

If you can’t make it but have questions about Office 365, let us know in a comment below.

*Disclaimer: Video game and dancing partner not included.

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