Why Are Customers Leaving Enterprise Agreements and Moving to CSP?

Written by: Jason Meilleur
Published: December 6, 2021

UPDATE: Microsoft CSP Program is improving with the Microsoft New Commerce Experience. Read more here.

There was a time, before the emergence of cloud computing in general and software-as-a-service (SaaS) in particular, when medium- and large-sized businesses got the best deal on Microsoft products by entering Microsoft Enterprise Agreements (EAs).

Under an EA, a company would purchase a certain number of licenses for each product, including desktop products (Windows, Office, and so on) and server products (Windows Server, SQL Server, Exchange, and the like). The customer could add users and installations as needed, and “true up” at the end of each year–that is, pay for the additional licenses. Then the cycle started over again.

The Trouble With EAs

Although the EA approach was more convenient than buying and keeping track of individual licenses every time a new installation was needed or a new employee was hired, EAs had (and continue to have) their drawbacks:

  • You can only upgrade a license (for example, to a premium license), not downgrade.
  • If your needs change during the agreement period and you need fewer premium licenses, you are stuck paying for more capability than you need..
  • The true-up costs can be difficult to predict and plan for. A major data center expansion or an influx of developers using expensive Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) licenses can result in budget-busting cost increases.
  • An EA requires a commitment of at least 500 licenses (either user or device licenses), which shuts out many smaller organizations.

The good news is there is now a better option: the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program.

All About CSP

Started in 2015, CSP is a licensing program for cloud-based Microsoft products, such as Microsoft 365. Unlike EAs, which are purchased directly from Microsoft, CSP arrangements are made through Microsoft partners such as 360 Visibility.

The CSP program offers numerous benefits, especially for smaller organizations:

  • CSP enables organizations to add and subtract licenses as needed.
  • You are invoiced monthly, and only for the licenses you use.
  • Support is provided by your local CSP partner, not a generic call center.
  • Whereas an EA requires a minimum three-year commitment, a CSP arrangement can be canceled at any time.

360 Visibility and the CSP Program

As a certified Tier 1 Microsoft CSP partner, 360 Visibility offers a number of value-added services to enhance your Microsoft product licenses. In particular, we provide:

  • A dedicated team with knowledge and experience in your industry and business processes
  • The peace of mind of relying on one partner, one platform, and one bill
  • Tier 1 support with dedicated access to Microsoft resources
  • A self-service license and billing management portal that enables you to add or remove new licenses or products any time
  • Proactive monitoring and optimization of your products and services to ensure you receive maximum value
  • Cloud migration services
  • Cloud security audits

If you are considering a bulk Microsoft licensing arrangement, or are dissatisfied with your current agreement, you owe it to yourself to consider the advantages of the CSP program. Use this guide to see if EA or CSP is right for you and to learn more about and how you can save money with our CSP service offerings.

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