Updated: May 6, 2016 (Originally published Sep 2014)
Many organizations have been taking advantage of the Select Plus Agreement over the past few years for ad-hoc purchases that don’t require a standardization across one of Microsoft’s three Enterprise Product sets. And whether using the Select Plus as a companion agreement to an EA, or as the main licensing vehicle, our clients have enjoyed the flexibility and control of their product selection.
Although the Select Plus is an “evergreen” agreement that was to never expire, Microsoft has recently introduced their next generation volume licensing agreement, the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA), that will soon take its place.
The two agreements have many similarities such as both being evergreen, but the main difference is that the MPSA was created to allow purchases of Online Service, which continue to be the focus for Microsoft. If you’re currently enrolled in a Select Plus, or are considering a purchase through an MPSA, here are a few things you should know:
September 2014: Microsoft has introduced Software Assurance (SA) purchases to the MPSA. The introduction of SA was the first step in transitioning customers out of the Select Plus.
July 1, 2015: This was the last day to start a new Select Plus Agreement. After July 1, 2015, any new agreements that would previously be Select Plus, were transacted through the MPSA or similar licensing agreement.
July 1, 2016: Organizations will only have until their next anniversary date to make purchases on their existing Select Plus Agreement. If you’re concerned with your pricing level, rest assured, it will transfer over to an MPSA.
July 1st, 2016 any new corporate Enterprise Agreement (including Enterprise Agreement Subscriptions) will require a 500 user/device minimum. Learn more here.
Watch our latest expert-led webinar to learn more about the latest Microsoft licensing changes, the MPSA and what you may need to do next.
There are three steps that need to occur when setting up a new MPSA:
- Select Partner of Record (Microsoft Licensing Solutions Provider like Softchoice)
- Partner will create MPSA and Purchasing Accounts associated with your organization and send the agreement electronically for approval and signature
- Organization will set up tenant for access to the Microsoft Volume Licensing Center to manage the licenses and Online Services
A Purchasing Account is defined as a buying entity within your organization that has permission to order and manage licenses and services through your MPSA. Purchasing Accounts can be a person, a department, or even an affiliate. This is a welcomed change from the Select Plus and allows you to find a purchasing model that works best for your organization. Some organizations have a decentralized purchasing model, but want to take advantage of the overall pricing discount established by the parent company. That can be accomplished by having multiple Purchasing Accounts.
Similarly to the Select Plus, the MPSA has three product pools: Applications, Servers, and Systems. All licenses, software assurance and online subscriptions have a point values associated to them and purchases made across all of your Purchasing Accounts accumulate to determine your pricing level. Although there is not a minimum entry point required to begin a new MPSA, in order to maintain purchasing eligibility, you must meet a minimum of 500 points within each active product pool by the compliance anniversary date.
Another positive change that comes with the MPSA is the introduction to the Business Center which was built to help simplify the management of your licensing assets. The interface is much more intuitive than its predecessor, the VLSC. Within the Business Center, you will be to view details of your agreement, search through the order and purchase history, download product keys and manage your online services.
Since the original posting, Microsoft has continued to iterate and bring new features of the MPSA online. A few of these include:
- Short-term Online Services Subscriptions (specific Office 365 SKUs)
- Easier SKU transitions
- Azure Monetary Commit option
- Better renewals, notifications and reporting
If you are evaluating how the transition to an MPSA will impact your organization or are interested in starting a new agreement, Softchoice is available to keep you informed. We highly recommend the transition to the MPSA in order to take advantage of the additional benefits Microsoft will be adding moving forward. Reach out to your Softchoice Account Manager – or me directly via comments below – for more information and next steps.