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

 In Microsoft, Software, Volume Licensing

With 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.

Microsoft licensing changes

Select Plus End of Purchase

As detailed in an earlier blog post, organizations can no longer make purchases under their existing Select Plus Agreement after their first anniversary date following July 1, 2016. Consistent with other program changes, there will be certain exceptions to the rule as defined by Microsoft. However, the majority of organizations will soon have a decision to make on how to acquire software licenses in the future.

Key Considerations:

  • If you acquire products under a Select Plus Agreement, confirm your agreement anniversary date and “shut off” date with your SHI Account Executive.
  • Evaluate alternative VL programs, even though the transition for most Select Plus customers will be to Microsoft Product and Services Agreement (MPSA). However, it is important to understand your current entitlements, future growth/upgrade plans, and cloud strategy to ensure you’ve optimized your licensing model.
  • Make the move before your Select Plus Agreement is shut off. Don’t wait until the last minute to sign an MPSA or other agreement. Ensure you have a path to acquisition of software and services after the Select Plus Agreement shut-off.

EA Agreement Changes

Microsoft will raise the minimum desktop commitment on Enterprise and Enterprise Subscription Enrollments from 250 to 500 devices/users, effective July 1, 2016, and these Enterprise Agreement (EA) program changes will significantly impact organizations that fall within that threshold. Those organizations will have a number of viable options to address this change.

Key Considerations:

  • Extend your existing EA — Existing EA enrollment customers will receive a one-time, 36-month extension option, provided the EA was signed prior to July 1.
    • An extension of an existing enrollment will include signing of a renewal form and designation of product mix, and updated pricing for the 36-month term.
    • All terms of the existing enrollment and corresponding amendments (if applicable) will remain intact.
  • Transition to MPSA – An alternative to extending your EA commitment is transitioning to MPSA. This licensing program represents Microsoft’s transformational VL program, and the associated benefits and offerings may meet an organization’s needs going forward. Some of the benefits include:
    • Single agreement structure to procure both on-premises and online services without making an enterprise-wide commitment.
    • Decentralized agreement structure permits organizations to acquire licenses at affiliate/department level.
    • Multiple duration term options for online services to accommodate customer requirements for acquisition and deployment of these online services.
  • Don’t forget about the SCE – The change to the Enterprise Agreement minimum does not affect the Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE), which is designed to address how organizations procure certain server and application technologies in their environment. For customers not currently under an SCE, this option may be an alternative approach to an EA or MPSA.

MPSA Transformation

MPSA will be the recommended volume licensing program for Select Plus customers and organizations with less than 500 seats that need to move off EA. Since its introduction, MPSA has seen numerous updates across its platform, licensing options, acquisition models, and agreement structure to address how organizations acquire, license, and consume products and services. As always, having a full understanding of MPSA and the value it provides to your organization is imperative as you evaluate your options for the future.

Key Considerations:

  • Built on a new VL platform, MPSA customers will leverage the Microsoft Business Center (MBC) to view, manage, and administer their software and cloud services going forward. The MBC is separate from historical VL portals, so it’s important for customers moving to MPSA to understand how to navigate the portal.
  • Setting up your MPSA Agreement structure — one of the benefits of the MPSA Agreement is the ability for an organization to structure its affiliates and/or departments in such a way as to allow for a decentralized purchasing model. This decentralized purchasing model would still align with a single price level for all entities and a consistent view of licenses (assets) by the organization.
  • Engage your SHI Account Executive to discuss the new offerings that have been introduced in the MPSA.

Hopefully you now have a high-level understanding of the EA and MSPA changes. Still, reach out to your SHI Account Executive so we can provide you with a clearer picture of how these changes impact your organization’s future.

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