You already know that Microsoft is raising the minimum number of desktops for the Enterprise Agreement (EA) from 250 to 500 desktops. You’re here because you want to know what to do about it. Well I’ve got news for you: there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution. In fact, your solution could be as unique as your business itself. So although we have suggested that the Microsoft Products and Services Agreements (MPSA) and Cloud Solution Provider (CSP)program are the ideal transitions from the EA, perhaps what we SHOULD do is work backwards; let’s revisit the challenge before suggesting a solution.
The History of Pitching the Enterprise Agreement
Regardless of what size company you are, this move gives us a glimpse into what the future may hold in terms of Volume Licensing through Microsoft. While some may see this as an aggressive tactic, I see it as an opportunity for companies to take back control of their Volume Licensing strategy.
Previously, the mantra was “if you have more than 250 employees, the EA is the most fiscally strategic vehicle,” and that was about as far as the discussion went. That strategy made a lot more sense 6 years ago than it does today.
Now we have companies moving from on-premise/perpetual device-based licenses to subscription/cloud user-based licenses. The roadmap, timeframe, and strategy for this move varies from company to company for a number of reasons:
- Current and future budget
- Existing hardware infrastructure
- Compliance requirements (i.e. HIPAA)
- New requirements from the business (i.e. Business Intelligence)
- Mergers, Acquisitions, & Divestitures
Uncovering those reasons and establishing this roadmap is becoming increasingly difficult as the need and budget for software is moving outside the IT department’s budget; for example, individual departments like sales, marketing, or manufacturing now hold their own software budget. Aligning the strategy for each of these departments is crucial to controlling software spend.
Determine the Problem before Discovering a Solution for Your Enterprise Agreement (EA) Options
The Microsoft Advisory Services (MAS) workshop is the best way to bridge these gaps and develop a comprehensive software roadmap for you company. The workshop is contract agnostic, meaning that by gathering the appropriate information from ALL facets of your business, your software licensing strategy will dictate which licensing vehicle(s) you use, and not the other way around. By learning your future business initiatives and leveraging your existing entitlements, the MAS workshop uncovers the optimal roadmap for where your company wants to be from a software perspective for the next 3-6 years.
Make your Volume Licensing contracts work for you. Even if you don’t plan to move to the cloud or a licensing vehicle other than the EA, the MAS will help optimize the software dollars being spent. If your plan is to remain at the status quo, then as eloquently stated in Gartner’s What to Think of When Considering Office 365 or Google Apps for Work, “The decision not to move [to the cloud] should be as explicit as the one in favor of moving.”