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Microsoft’s Gentle Nudge Towards CSP

By Rob O’Shaughnessy, Director, Software Sales & Renewals

Enterprise Agreement 1000 User Minimum

In an effort to streamline consumption products such as Office 365 (O365), Microsoft 365 (M365), Dynamics 365 (D365) and Azure towards consumption-based licensing programs such as its Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program, Microsoft is making changes to the qualification of their Enterprise Agreement. In January 2021, Microsoft increased the minimum requirement for Enterprise Agreements to 1000 users—a jump from 500 users. This means that customers with fewer than 1000 seats of O365, M365, or D365 will no longer be able to purchase their licensing on an Enterprise Agreement. In addition, Microsoft increased the qualification amount for Azure to $600,000 per year.

There may be some concessions to this new change if the Enterprise Agreement has a combination of both on-premise Software Assurance skus and cloud-based skus. However, any concessions would need consent from Microsoft. Also, the new 1000 user requirement is only for cloud products and is not a requirement for on-prem Office, Windows Professional, or Core Cal solutions. The minimum requirement for on-prem is still 500 users.

Moving ahead, if you currently have an Enterprise Agreement that includes only cloud products that is less than 1000 users or sub $600,000 a year in Azure spend, Microsoft is requesting that when your Enterprise Agreement comes to the end of its term, you work with a Microsoft partner to move the subscription to CSP. In most cases, O365/M365/D365 would not require a migration to move the licenses to CSP as it its merely a billing change, however for Azure a migration may be required. The GreenPages’ Licensing Team can consult with you on all the logistics of that potential move to CSP.

It’s not the first time that Microsoft has reset the minimum requirements of an EA: in July 2016 there was a change from a 250-user minimum to a 500-user minimum. Microsoft understands that buying platforms such as CSP are a better model because it allows for month-to-month consumption. Plus, organizations are able to increase or decrease user amounts on the fly. With an Enterprise Agreement, subscriptions are paid annually and the user count can’t be decreased, only increased so you really have to map out your needs each year as there is not much wiggle room.

If you have an Enterprise Agreement that is due to expire this year or if you’re just interested in learning about these changes, please contact your GreenPages Account Executive.

Goodbye Open Business

Starting January 2022, Microsoft will discontinue their 20-year-old Open licensing program. This program was used for small to medium sized businesses looking to purchase Microsoft licensing only products, Software Assurance, and Office 365. In an effort to have a single source to retrieve licensing information, on-prem licenses will now be available thru CSP.

There are great benefits to doing this:

• No more 5-license minimum; you can purchase a single license
• Licenses can be deployed in minutes rather than the standard 24-48 hours
• All licenses, both on-prem and O365, will share a unified management console

This will affect Open Business, Open Charity, Open Academic, and Open Govt license only. If you wanted to purchase a license with Software Assurance, you’ll be able to do so through the Open Value program.

You can continue to renew and purchase new software licenses, Software Assurance, and online services through the Open License program until December 31, 2021. You can also begin to transact on-premise licensing thru CSP today, however on January 1, 2022, you’ll only be able to purchase on-premise, license-only product through the Cloud Solution Provider program.

Again, please contact your GreenPages Account Executive or reach out to us for more details.

A backlit keyboard.

Rob O’Shaughnessy

Director of Software Sales & Renewals