Microsoft’s Enterprise Agreement (EA) was once the go to choice when purchasing Microsoft products and likely is the single largest IT expense in your organization. But that is all in the past. Your business and IT department have evolved, and so has the way you use Microsoft software. So why are you still using an EA? With the shift to the cloud and the rapid pace of innovation in software and new features, 3 year license contracts don’t make sense. It’s about time you rethink EA and look at Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program.
Microsoft CSP licensing is the next evolution in how businesses can purchase and manage their services with Microsoft. As we move to a subscription or consumption-based business model, long-term contracts and upfront capital expenditures limit your ability to react to changing economic conditions and organizational needs. There are 3 critical challenges that legacy Enterprise Agreement licensing models place on your business:
The Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider program opens up a new world of flexibility when it comes to purchasing and managing software licensing. Instead of a 3 year commitment, as is required with Microsoft EA, Microsoft CSP is completely month-to-month. This allows you to add or remove licenses as needed, only paying for what you actually use, which can save you significantly in the short and long run. Most importantly, as CSP agreements are provided though Microsoft Partners, you also receive instant access to Microsoft Premier Support – an additional cost with Enterprise Agreements – along with a dedicated team that knows you and your business so you never have to explain your problem from the beginning every time you need support.
Microsoft developed the CSP partner program to meet the rapidly evolving needs of today’s IT environments. With ever-changing requirements, restrictive budgets, and the need for instant results, the CSP partner program is the ideal choice. Microsoft CSP provides a flexible, cloud subscription model for customers to buy Microsoft cloud solutions such as Office 365, Dynamics 365, and Azure, with complete partner support. The Microsoft CSP licensing platform is seamlessly integrated allowing for instant provisioning of new licenses, consolidated and automated billing, and insightful reporting.
Partnering with a Tier 1 Microsoft Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) for Microsoft Licensing provides:
|Cloud Solution Provider (CSP)||Enterprise Agreement (EA)|
|Commitment||No commitment and the option to cancel at any time||3-Year Agreement, with a minimum commitment of 500 user licenses|
|Invoicing||Monthly||Annually upfront for the full year including being back-charged for users that were added|
|Increase User Counts||Anytime||Anytime|
|Decrease User Counts||Anytime||Once per year – 30 days notice. Need to maintain minimum 500 users.|
|Support||24×7 support from Partner with priority access to escalated Microsoft Premier Support. Dedicated Partner consultants with all details of your account and environment.||Basic support from Microsoft. Additional cost for Premier Support. No dedicated team that knows your account and environment.|
|Product Availability||All cloud subscription licenses (Dynamics 365, Office 365, Azure)||All Microsoft Products|
If you’re looking for a scalable solution that allows your business to evolve as it grows and its needs change, then working with a Tier 1 Direct Microsoft CSP Partner like 360 Visibility is your best bet. The CSP program lets you add or remove users and products instantly and you only pay for the licenses you use. An EA contract limits your flexibility to adapt to changes and typically costs more. We see many organizations making the switch to CSP from EA contracts.
EA’s are typically used by large enterprises that can maintain over 500 user licenses at minimum, and need a fixed price for software and subscription licensing for 3 years. However, large enterprises continue to switch to CSP for its greater flexibility and cost-savings.
Microsoft recommends businesses coming up on their EA renewal look at CSP licensing, in addition to new businesses getting started with Microsoft subscription licenses. CSP is typically used by organizations with less than 500 users, but those greater than 500 can use it as well. Businesses that want the greatest flexibility to add or remove licenses as needed and not pay upfront for all of their services opt for CSP. This allows for predictable monthly usage bills, and shifts expenses from capital expenditures to operational expenditures.
One of the greatest challenges an organization faces with moving to the cloud is uncertainty. Procuring, implementing and managing cloud has a degree of uncertainty that comes with change. Engaging with a CSP partner helps overcome this challenge. A Microsoft CSP, specifically a Tier 1 Direct CSP Partner – like 360 Visibility – not only gives you unprecedented levels of control deploying and fine tuning your Office 365, Dynamics 365, or Azure Cloud through our CSP Customer Portal, but also the added peace of mind of an experienced partner with that truly understands your business and needs and can guide you through the transition and support your ambitions.
An EA model might still be the right choice for your business, but in today’s IT environment, how you buy and consume services has changed. It’s time for a modern approach that reflects how your business operates and gives you the flexibility to adapt to changing conditions on the fly. A Tier 1 Direct CSP Partner can help you overcome operational challenges, transition to the cloud with expert advice, and optimize your IT costs.