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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Microsoft increases seat minimums for corporate Enterprise Agreement

Microsoft Moving Corporate Enterprise Agreement User/Device Minimums From 250 To 500

Earlier this month, Microsoft announced that starting July 1st, 2016 any new corporate Enterprise Agreement (including Enterprise Agreement Subscriptions) will require a 500 user/device minimum. Before we get into the specifics, let’s all take a deep breath.

While at face value this may seem like a major change from Microsoft, in reality, the impact on existing EA customers is minimal. That’s because Microsoft is allowing all current EA customers, including those who sign up now until June, to have the ability to renew one (1) time for an additional 36-month term. That means that customers under 500 seats may still be in an EA for the next 6.5 years (if they sign or renew in June of 2016).

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The complete guide to using Windows 10 in Education

The complete guide to using Windows 10 in Education

This holiday season, teachers and IT professionals will be enjoying some much needed time off. But, we know your 2016 planning doesn’t stop, not even over the holidays. So we’ve prepared some extra holiday reading material, focused on one of the biggest questions for schools: should you upgrade to Windows 10? 

Read on to see how Windows 10 Education is transforming the classroom.

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Did Microsoft just enter the telephony game? Plus, everything else you need to know about Office 365 E5

Did Microsoft just enter the telephony game? Plus, everything else you need to know about Office 365 E5

Enterprises now have access to the new Office 365 E5 Suite, Microsoft’s most comprehensive set of productivity, collaboration, analytics, security and compliance capabilities, of any Office 365 plan ever.

And while the premium SKU – which became available December 1, 2015 – brings with it some impressive new features, it’s the attractive price tag and new communications services that are causing the biggest waves. In E5, Microsoft is rolling out Cloud PBX and PSTN Conferencing services, designed to eliminate the need for legacy telephony systems and third party conferencing providers.

Coming in at $35 for the standard E5 plan, Microsoft estimates it costs just one-third of what enterprises are already paying for all the combined services.

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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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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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