Right-size your Azure for best financial returns

Azure consumption management

What do Azure and cell phone bills have in common? As it turns out, a lot.

As unfortunate as it is, it’s pretty common to go over your mobile phone voice and data limits. What do most of us do? We pay the bill – regardless of the overcharges. Some of us change to a more appropriate plan or start monitoring data consumption to avoid hefty surcharges.

These are common sense strategies for battling out-of-control phone bills — right-sizing your plan and gaining insight and control.

These are also exactly the strategies needed for proper Azure financial management.

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MPSA: Microsoft’s new licensing vehicle (and what it means for you)

MPSA: Microsoft's new licensing vehicle (and what it means for you)

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:

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Have Azure in your EA and not using it? Here’s where to start

Have Azure in your EA and not using it? Here's where to start

Sorry – no carry over. No roll over. No credits applied next time. I’m not talking about your cellphone plan. I’m referring to an unnerving practice of organizations buying Microsoft Azure via their Enterprise Agreement (EA) — but never using it.

For many organizations, the EA is the easiest way to purchase Azure, preferring the upfront commitments and fixed discount rate over the uncertainty of Pay as You Go. And Microsoft recently improved previous incentives, making it even easier to adopt Microsoft Azure though an EA.

All too often those upfront commitments never come to fruition. Call it overly ambitious, poor planning, or perhaps just getting blindsighted by other priorities, but for whatever reason many organizations have Azure consumption credits just sitting in their EA, never being employed.

This is not a small thing either. We’ve seen upwards of $50,000 worth of Azure sitting on the table. All of which is credit you don’t get back when the agreement expires or the contract year ends.

Any move to the cloud is fraught with uncertainty – so it’s never wise to rush into it. That said, there are a number of easy wins – low impact undertakings – that show business value and improve efficiency by leveraging the public cloud.

If you have Azure in your EA and aren’t using it, here are a few ways we’re seeing clients adopt it for the first time.

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EAP to SCE: How to move from Enrollment for Application Platform to Server and Cloud Enrollment

How to move from Enterprise for Application Platform to Server Cloud Enrolment

Back in early 2012, we saw the majority of our clients transition their SQL environment off of their Enterprise Agreement and onto the now retired, Enrollment for Application Platform (EAP). The EAP offered substantial discounting for new purchases of both SQL Standard and Enterprise, with the requirement that your entire SQL footprint would be licensed with active Software Assurance. As we head into 2015, soon-to-expire EAPs will move to Microsoft’s Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE). Prior to making this switch, there are several considerations clients need to be aware first before they move to SCE. [Read more…]

Why ‘on time, on budget’ Office 365 projects still fail

Why ‘on time, on budget’ Office 365 projects still fail

Months of meticulous planning. Hundreds of hours of hands-on migration and careful configuration. Then finally, one day, it comes: Office 365 launch day. All systems are go without a hitch.

Don’t pop the champagne just yet. Delivering “on time, and on budget” is only half the battle. The real, often over-looked value of any major IT project hinges on one key thing: adoption. For Office 365 — a technology suite designed to change the way your workers do their job — adoption is more important than ever for realizing its desired business outcomes.

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Office 365 “E” SKUs to see price increase in August

Office 365 "E" SKUs to see price increase in August

As we enter a new fiscal year for Microsoft, we traditional see adjustments to pricing, licensing and how Microsoft brings products to clients. And the first change we are anticipating will affect pricing on Office 365 “E” (Enterprise) plans for corporate and government Enterprise Agreements.

Although details have not officially been released, it’s been acknowledged that Microsoft intends to increase the cost of Office 365 Enterprise plans (E1/E3/E4) acquired through volume licensing by roughly 15%. The new pricing is expected take effect August 1, 2014.

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