Microsoft Update July 2018

Some principle recent Microsoft solution and licensing updates, for July 2018

  • Technical Dependency- Office 2019 (C2R) and Office 2016 (MSI) cannot run concurrently on either Windows or Mac. https://goo.gl/uuirPq
  • Technical Dependency – Office 2019, there is no MSI version offered. https://goo.gl/uuirPq
  • Licensing –  Office 2019, there is no MSI version offered. “Office 2019 (for both Windows and Mac) is a one-time purchase and does not receive feature updates after purchase. Office 2019 includes a meaningful subset of features found in Office 365, but it is not part of Office 365.” https://goo.gl/uuirPq
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Configuration Manager 2007 reaches the end of its support lifecycle on July 9, 2019. SoftwareONE recommend that customers migrate to the latest version of SCCM (current branch) as soon as possible.
  • Licensing – Microsoft confirm Windows Autopilot licensing requirements https://goo.gl/Z2EjoE
  • Reference – Microsoft publish Windows Autopilot solution documentation at https://aka.ms/WindowsAutopilotDocs
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will be end-of-support in less than 12 months, effective July 9th 2019 https://t.co/qqwPpb83Og
  • Licensing – Skype for Business Online Plan 1 will be available only as part of bundled plans from August (following the same logic as Yammer standalone plan) https://goo.gl/LPbYNH
  • Licensing –Skype for Business Online Plan 1 will be retired from the Cloud Solution Partner (CSP) channel https://goo.gl/LPbYNH
  • Licensing – Please be aware of ‘expansive’ Azure AD Features that could lead to non-compliance “If your organization has a subscription for Azure Information Protection, by default all Windows computers can download the Azure Information Protection policy. The Azure Information Protection client does not do license checking and enforcement.” https://goo.gl/SmkBFv
  • New Feature – for Microsoft Intune – App Protection Features for iOS and Android, based on i.e. Max Pin Attempts, Offline Period, Jailbroken or Rooted Device, Min OS Version, Min App Version, Min SDK, Device Models, https://goo.gl/Lt2Ukf
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Microsoft Teams is released, in Preview, as a free service https://goo.gl/yexrBt offering, to complete with Slack
  • Licensing – The free version of Microsoft Teams is available to both corporate and consumer email addresses. If an existing Office365 customer tried to sign-up, they will be re-routed to a managed experience for their existing tenant. https://goo.gl/yexrBt
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Azure service Azure Data Box enters Preview in new regions across Europe. An appliance for bulk data transfers to Azure https://goo.gl/Cx24Wz and interoperability with ecosystem partners like Veeam and CommVault.
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Azure service Virtual WAN enters Preview to develop Azure networking capabilities https://goo.gl/x9Gn63
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Azure services Azure Firewall enters Preview to develop Azure networking capabilities https://goo.gl/Mtepsq
  • New Feature – Azure SQL Data Warehouse query performance improves 2x https://goo.gl/Kzj4uG with technology developments like adaptive caching https://goo.gl/6YeC7P
  • Licensing – PowerQuery finally makes its move over to PowerBI https://goo.gl/DHVXts
  • Licensing – PowerBI extends support for SSRS and SSAS services from SQL https://goo.gl/Duqsg3 (likely Premium Feature)
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Microsoft announce Azure DB Managed Instance will be generally available in early Q4 of this calendar year. Currently in Preview (a fully managed on-prem SQL instance hosted in Azure) https://goo.gl/qPXio9
  • New Feature – Azure IoT Central now supports PowerBI and Microsoft Flow to visualise and create workflows on insights https://goo.gl/tNmidN
  • Licensing – Azure IoT Central is now available through Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) Subscriptions https://goo.gl/tNmidN
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Azure IoT Edge is now Generally Available https://goo.gl/QsJRm1
  • Licensing – Window and SQL Server are now available through Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) Subscriptions https://goo.gl/c4rWRd
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Microsoft Whiteboard enters Generally Availability for Windows 10
  • Resource – useful resource for comparing MDM for Office365 https://goo.gl/cXweCs and Microsoft Intune https://goo.gl/bRDF1c. For a complete list of licenses that include Intune https://goo.gl/TBqyNv
  • Resource – Discussion of licensing requirements of Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) conditional access, versus Azure AD Conditional Access https://goo.gl/feVbpH
  • Analyst Insight – Gartner publish “RFP Toolkit” for SAM Managed Service selection https://www.gartner.com/doc/3881087
  • Pricing – Azure DB for MySQL Pricing Tiers https://goo.gl/1QbQRB
  • Article – Office365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) working to protect Microsoft Teams https://goo.gl/ouox1w
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Microsoft to align Dynamics365 CRM and ERP on a semi-annual update cadence with Windows 10 and Office https://goo.gl/EG25mv
  • Licensing – Updated Licensing FAQs for Azure Reserved Instances https://goo.gl/n5BeMT
  • Licensing – Be aware of expansive Azure AD Features that could lead to non-compliance “You don’t have to assign licenses to users for them to be members of [Azure Active Directory] dynamic groups, but you must have the minimum number of licenses in the tenant to cover all such users.” https://goo.gl/JXT6w4
  • New Feature – Visio Diagrams can be edited within Microsoft Teams https://goo.gl/kph8yD
  • Partner Insight – Microsoft expand Microsoft Teams ecosystem with service integrations for Jell, RSpace, Zoho Projects, AttendanceBot, Bitbucket, CrewHu, Evernote, Jira Bot, Karmabot, LawBot, Lifeliqe, Ruum by SAP, SignEasy and Woobot, and Survey Monkey. Check AppSource for details on Teams 3rd party integrations. https://goo.gl/6MV67Z
  • New Feature – Microsoft Teams support for eDiscovery for meetings and calls https://goo.gl/H3B5Rn
  • New Feature (Private Preview) – Microsoft Teams now supports eDiscovery, Compliance Content Search, Review and Export for users in organizations that are in an exchange hybrid setup. FYI, this feature is not publicly available but supported for customers on request through Microsoft support https://goo.gl/Uk1eMq
  • New Feature – Microsoft Teams can now be Archived https://goo.gl/GA1QAU (and it does not exclude it from expiry policy)
  • Pricing – Azure Containers pricing update. Microsoft remove creation fees, gone to regional resource prices, and dropped CPU/GB cost from preview. https://goo.gl/YNZmnT
  • Licensing – Product Terms for July 2018 introduce new add-on for CAL Suite Bridge > EMS upgrade path https://t.co/C1dVhNy0fU
  • Licensing  – Microsoft General Availability of  Proposal Manager for Microsoft365 E5 https://goo.gl/CTxUoo
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Microsoft General Availability of  Proposal Manager for Microsoft365 E5 https://goo.gl/CTxUoo
  • Licensing – Office365 service Video service starts transitioning to Stream https://goo.gl/a857oT Office 365 kiosk or frontline users (F1 plan) only have licenses to watch videos. Office 365 E1 and E3 plans include the ability to upload videos. Office 365 E5 includes Stream Plan 2 with automated transcript, people timeline, search of transcripts.
  • Roadmap Lifecycle (Decommission) – Basic Authentication for EWS (Exchange Web Services API for Office365) will be decommissioned https://goo.gl/ojdGtv
  • Licensing –  An updated Dynamics 365 Licensing Guide for June 2018. This includes some minor changes including a clarification to Resource Schedule Optimization https://goo.gl/Syt7Rq and 18 logged changes since March 2018
  • Microsoft Cloud App Security (MCAS) Conditional Access App Control (reverse proxy) is now General Availability for SAML applications: https://goo.gl/CKGkX2
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Microsoft Teams to be available in US Government Cloud (GCC) in July 2018 https://goo.gl/RNkgrD

Thanks All


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is Head of Microsoft Advisory Services at SoftwareONE

If you would like to reach out for a coffee or a meeting under NDA, Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn

 

Copyright – Softspend Limited 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Microsoft Update June 2018

June 2018 saw a number of important licensing and solutions updates, including but not limited to:

  • New Features – Microsoft update the Office ribbon, to focus on the most common features, with one row of buttons rather than two. (Those of you who remember the menu before the introduction of the ribbon in 2007, may be smiling wryly) https://goo.gl/p8dwWE
  • New Features – Microsoft Planner integration improves with Outlook for Calendars, Microsoft Teams for visibility, and SharePoint for files https://goo.gl/WbJxia
  • New Features – Microsoft Teams can now access SharePoint document libraries. There is also new persistent chat with options to mute , hide or leave a chat. New video features support cloud video recording for future playback. https://goo.gl/ooWK2o
  • New Features – Microsoft Sway improves with updates to the App for iOS to enable editing and preview, with better mobile UI features https://goo.gl/25WvuG
  • New Feature – Microsoft365 Admin Center general availability providing a ‘single pane of glass’ for Office365, Enterprise Mobility & Security, and Windows 10. https://goo.gl/7b1De8
  • New Feature – Microsoft release Windows Admin Center providing a complete administration experience https://goo.gl/PFY5th for Windows Server
  • New Feature – Cluster Sets is a new feature coming in Windows Server 2019. Loosely-couple clusters together to allow for VM fluidity. Provide scale without loss of resiliency. https://t.co/FIa45LBuZe
  • Licensing – Updated EA licensing guide for June 2018 https://t.co/x9Ex1Ucbmu
  • Analyst Insight – Gartner “Why Microsoft Teams will be just as common as Outlook” https://t.co/S4Kv53Mq2x
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Microsoft aim to make MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) for Azure AD on by default. Baseline security policy for Azure AD Admin accounts enters Public Preview https://goo.gl/W8fjvn
  • Licensing – BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Pack 3 includes Office 365 adapters, requires Software Assurance https://goo.gl/WhBVam
  • New Feature – Azure Data Factory features for June 2018 https://goo.gl/X16ZdV
  • Licensing – Azure update naming conventions for meter categories and part numbers for EA customers, may break APIs and reporting https://goo.gl/4fe8mL
  • New Feature – New features for Azure File Shares and File Sync expected in Q2 2018  https://goo.gl/cQCMrW
  • Licensing – System Center 2019 expected in 2019, with Semi-Annual release cadence under Software Assurance (SA). Microsoft advocate extending service capabilities to Azure. Ref: Windows Server Summit
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – General Availability and Sovereign Cloud Support of Managed Service Identity for App Service and Azure Functions https://goo.gl/ietsEf
  • Analyst Insight – Gartner position Microsoft in the Leaders Quadrant in 2018 Magic Quadrant for Access Management. Azure AD with Enterprise Mobility + Security. https://goo.gl/1mYsGp
  • Roadmap Lifecycle (Decommission)– Azure Access Control Service (ACS) will remain available for existing customers until November 7, 2018 https://goo.gl/hC5nRV
  • Roadmap Lifecycle (End of Support)- Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will go End-of-Life (EOL) in less than 18 months, on January 14, 2020
  • Licensing – Azure SQL DB purchasing models – selecting between vCore and DTU https://goo.gl/afymx6
  • Competitor Insight – Hyper Grid free SaaS offering takes aim at PyraCloud https://t.co/hib3ZC0xeG
  • Resource – Resource Based Throttling and Prioritization in Exchange Online Migrations https://goo.gl/1CEA8D
  • Resource – Microsoft publish “Office365 security and compliance kit” bundle of white papers and presentations https://goo.gl/eqKm1M
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Azure AD Password Protection and Smart Lockout are now in Public Preview https://goo.gl/HSFrpt
  • Licensing  – Azure AD Password Protection is an Azure AD Premium P1 Feature  https://goo.gl/HSFrpt
  • Licensing – Azure AD Smart Lockout is included in all versions of Azure AD (including those versions in Office365) https://goo.gl/HSFrpt
  • New Feature – New GDPR sensitive information types https://goo.gl/W9XNto
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Microsoft announce two new datacentres in Norway. “Initial availability of Azure is planned for late 2019 with Office 365 and Dynamics 365 to follow” https://goo.gl/NYRsM6
  • Reference – Azure Architecture Reference Guide https://goo.gl/ze5QK2
  • Technical Dependency – Exchange 2010 Support For Windows Server 2016 Domain Controllers [and forest functional level] https://goo.gl/Sr6aqZ
  • New Feature – Azure AD Conditional Access support for blocking legacy auth enters Public Preview (Azure AD Premium Feature)  https://goo.gl/siJKwQ
  • Licensing – Azure AD Conditional Access support for blocking legacy auth enters Public Preview (Azure AD Premium Feature)  https://goo.gl/siJKwQ
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Azure Traffic Analytics enters General Availability https://goo.gl/JPiohx
  • New Feature – Sender Rewriting Scheme (SRS) coming to Office 365 Exchange Online which will help auto-forwarding and relaying emails from being rejected https://goo.gl/kp7zso
  • New Feature – The Office 365 Adoption Content Pack in PowerBI evolves as Office 365 Usage Analytics enters General Availability
  • Partner Insight – Microsoft Teams and Evernote integration. https://goo.gl/qFhjvD
  • Reference – Customers who have Windows Server licences with active SA can take advantage of  the Azure Hybrid Benefit which allows them to assign these licences to Azure.  This is a useful article if you want to see how this is done: http://bit.ly/2tgbUdC
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Customers who have Windows  licences with active SA can take advantage of  the Azure Hybrid Benefit which allows them to assign these licences to Azure.  This is a useful article if you want to see how this is done: http://bit.ly/2tgbUdC
  • New Feature – Windows Defender ATP support for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. in Public Preview. On-board Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 endpoints to surface detections and events in Windows Defender ATP. https://goo.gl/YB7tXX
  • Microsoft News – Microsoft get ahead of the negative press “Microsoft is not working with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or U.S. Customs and Border Protection on any projects related to separating children from their families at the border.” https://goo.gl/c5xx3m
  • Resource – Learn how to set up Calling Plans, Direct Routing, and more cloud voice capabilities in Microsoft Teams here: https://goo.gl/HMMasf
  • Licensing – Security Center Standard Tier – Monitor Identity and Access Feature https://goo.gl/VJXUux https://goo.gl/TD8C59 The Standard tier also adds advanced threat detection capabilities, which uses built-in behavioural analytics and machine learning to identify attacks and zero-day exploits, access and application controls to reduce exposure to network attacks and malware, and more. The Standard tier is free for the first 60 days.
  • Tool – Better late than never. Exchange Online Configuration Wizard copies basic configuration settings from on-prem to cloud https://goo.gl/ALJg79
  • New Feature – Microsoft Cloud App Security now integrates with the Microsoft Data Classification Service to create a consistent policy creation experience across Office 365, Azure Information Protection and Microsoft Cloud App Security (MCAS), and allows you to extend your data classification efforts to those third-party cloud apps that are protected by MCAS, leveraging the decisions you already made across an even greater number of apps. https://goo.gl/5VV9Q9
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Team Foundation Server 2018 will include the deprecated XAML-based build system, contrary to earlier plan. https://goo.gl/moiPHG
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – General Availability for Data Label Activity Explorer in the Data Governance Dashboard https://goo.gl/upWW7o. A good Microsoft reference article is available here: https://goo.gl/6YKuLt
  • Reference – Best practices for managing Office365 ProPlus Channels https://goo.gl/nb78cy
  • New Feature – Admin control for attachments now available in Office 365 Message Encryption (OME) for Azure Info Protection (AIP Plan 1) https://goo.gl/wYqQyG
  • Licensing – Admin control for attachments now available in Office 365 Message Encryption. This is offered as part of Office 365 E3 and E5, Microsoft E3 and E5, Office 365 A1, A3, and A5, and Office 365 G3 and G5. Customers do not need additional licenses to receive the new protection capabilities powered by Azure Information Protection (AIP P1) https://goo.gl/QpNijn
  • Pricing – Microsoft announce European price harmonisation (increase) in Swedish and Swiss currencies coming in August 2018. 12% uplift for on-prem licenses and 11% for online services. https://goo.gl/VE5wMR
  • Article – “Building Zero Trust Networks with Microsoft 365” (licensing implications include: Windows Defender ATP E5, Azure AD Identity Protection, Microsoft Intune, Microsoft Cloud App Security https://goo.gl/i4qano
  • Reference (Licensing) – “Using conditional access requires an Azure AD Premium license” https://goo.gl/UvEWCW
  • Reference (Licensing) – Compare Azure AD Service Plans https://goo.gl/m8ss45
  • New Feature – Office365 Threat Intelligence brings a new feature “Attack Simulator” for spear phishing, brute force, and password spray attacks. Video: https://t.co/17LThS7Nzt
  • Licensing: Windows 10 as a Service Channel Management https://goo.gl/e3ZyaY updated June 2018: https://goo.gl/wcAvJY
  • Reference (Licensing) There are 2 options for Cloud App Security on the EA price file.  This resource details the difference between each offering: https://goo.gl/hXDW2d The Office365 version is the cheaper offering whereas the Microsoft Cloud App Security is the higher level (which is in EMS E5)
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) is now generally available in ten regions https://goo.gl/PHhFa9
  • Article – How Microsoft re-built Microsoft Intune for global scale https://goo.gl/2qNd1e
  • New Feature – Container updates include Custom Health Checks, logging into Azure Monitor https://goo.gl/rexfpo
  • Licensing – Windows SA Per Device VDA rights are entering end-of-life, effective February 2019. Windows User E3 is the recommended route for organisations that do use Windows in a VDI environment.
  • New Feature – OMS portal is moving to Azure https://goo.gl/Gd9Yhd
  • New Feature – Autopilot Reset in Public Preview https://aka.ms/windowsautopilot
  • Resource (Licensing) – Skype for Business Online and Microsoft Teams – tips and scripts for assigning licenses https://goo.gl/WSyRex
  • Licensing – To get Alert Policies in the Office365 Security & Compliance Center you need Office 365 Enterprise E1, E3, or E5 subscription. However, some advanced functionality is only available for organizations with an E5 subscription, or for organizations that have an E1 or E3 subscription and an Office 365 Threat Intelligence or Office 365 Advanced Compliance add-on subscription. The functionality that requires an E5 or add-on subscription is highlighted in this topic. https://goo.gl/aD8xov
  • New Feature – Azure IaaS announcements today, including 12TB RAM VM sizes, biggest in the public cloud: https://goo.gl/yVwR5m
  • Licensing – Microsoft update and make changes to custom application support  https://goo.gl/qzXNDT
  • Partner Insight – New 3rd party apps for Microsoft Teams, including SoapBox, Mural, Workboard, Freshdesk. The full list is available at https://goo.gl/c73w5Q
  • Acquisition – Microsoft acquires GitHub https://goo.gl/L9Dwny
  • Licensing – : System Center Service Manager rights added to Azure AD Premium: http://bit.ly/PT-Jun-18
  • Licensing – Subscribers with selected Visual Studio Enterprise subscriptions receive the Office 365 Developer Subscription benefit. The Office 365 Developer Subscription allows you to develop, test, and deploy add-ins for Microsoft Office and Microsoft SharePoint. This benefit allows for one tenant and up to 25 users. https://goo.gl/BKk9zr

Thanks All


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is Head of Microsoft Advisory Services at SoftwareONE

If you would like to reach out for a coffee or a meeting under NDA, Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn

Microsoft Update May 2018

May 2018 saw a number of important licensing and solutions updates, including but not limited to:

  • Licensing – Hybrid Use Benefit and Azure RI General Availability for Windows Server and SQL Server in Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) subscriptions expand the sourcing and license design options for customers https://goo.gl/eQYhT5
  • Licensing – Windows 10 deployments on Azure Stack require Windows USLs, or purchase through a Qualified Multitenant Hoster https://goo.gl/B3Kf8L
  • Licensing – EULA for Windows Server Container Images https://goo.gl/ax2nyq
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Microsoft Calling Plans with Domestic and Domestic and International Plans available as User Subscription Licences and (all users need to be licensed with a Phone System User SL too), now available in Canada. https://goo.gl/6suzam with full geo availability available here: https://goo.gl/ufc76p
  • Licensing – To take control of Office365 Groups, you will need more than Office365 subscriptions https://goo.gl/7MMn2y
  • New Feature – Microsoft To-Do receives feature updates https://goo.gl/mRgnHo
  • New Features – PowerBI Desktop https://goo.gl/aHY2cb
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Azure GDPR Data Subject Requests processing capability enters General Availability https://goo.gl/xiE4w9
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Azure AD B2B Collaboration improvements to meet GDPR obligations https://goo.gl/P1vtZp
  • Licensing – Mobile device management capabilities improve in the Microsoft 365 Business Plans https://goo.gl/zL2FYn
  • Resource (Licensing) – PowerBI Embedded Reports FAQs addresses licensing and licensing packages questions https://goo.gl/E8X9Lb
  • Resource – Microsoft promote GDPR compliance with the Microsoft Cloud— May 2018 month marked a major milestone for individual privacy rights with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that took effect on May 25, 2018. https://goo.gl/7WkB1K with Compliance Manager and other service features across the Microsoft365 and Azure service ecosystem.
  • Licensing – Updated Microsoft website page comparing Azure Info Protection (AIP) and Windows Server Rights Management (RMS) https://goo.gl/We6ctZ
  • Licensing – Updated Microsoft website page on Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams add-on licensing https://goo.gl/9zcvhN
  • Roadmap Lifecycle (Deprecation) Microsoft announces deprecation of Office365 Activity Alerts in favour of paid-for offerings. To get Alert Policies in the Office365 Security & Compliance Center you need Office 365 Enterprise E1, E3, or E5 subscription. However, some advanced functionality is only available for organizations with an E5 subscription, or for organizations that have an E1 or E3 subscription and an Office 365 Threat Intelligence or Office 365 Advanced Compliance add-on subscription. The functionality that requires an E5 or add-on subscription is highlighted in this topic. https://goo.gl/aD8xov
  • Resource (Licensing) – Selecting vCore service tiers for Azure SQL DB https://goo.gl/awqYGW
  • Resource – Windows OS monitoring comparison of System Center Operations Manager on-premises and Azure Monitoring Services https://goo.gl/JPJMKE
  • Licensing – Updated Visual Studio Benefits and Pricing https://goo.gl/XgJrwN
  • Feature Update – Azure AD B2C feature improvements with https://goo.gl/XVQKSV
  • Tool – SharePoint Migration Tool is Generally Available (Version 2.0) https://t.co/oKCR3tPuNY
  • Technical Dependency – Windows Sever v. 1803 “If you need infrastructure roles, use a Long-Term Servicing Channel release: Windows Server 2016 (available now) or Windows Server 2019 (coming later this year).” https://goo.gl/sqj3LV
  • Resource (Licensing) – compare MDM solutions across SCCM, SCCM with Intune (Hybrid), SCCM w. Exchange https://goo.gl/k7ngdc
  • Resource (Licensing) – FAQs or SCCM branches and licensing https://goo.gl/wFUkt4
  • Licensing – Microsoft add wording to the May 2018 Product Terms document to explain some of the key terms associated with Azure Reserved Instances: Exchange, Cancel, and Reassignment.
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Azure ATP (Advanced Threat Protection) will likely replace ATA (Advanced Threat Analytics) in the future. Azure ATP is a hosted service designed to help organisations discover suspicious activities on the network. Azure ATP has a material deployment impact and extensive user subscription licensing, requiring all users to be licensed in the network, shared mailboxes, not just the admins.
  • Azure offers on-demand M-series VMs that support most SAP workloads. Scale up to 128 virtual CPUs of compute and 4 TB of RAM. Video:  Watch the full demo of SAP HANA on Azure M-series VMs: https://youtu.be/IyLWkM0XJSw

Thanks All


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is Head of Microsoft Advisory Services at SoftwareONE

If you would like to reach out for a coffee or a meeting under NDA, Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn

Microsoft Update April 2018

April 2018 saw a number of important licenisng and solutions updates, including but not limited to:

  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Multi-Geo Tenancies enters General Availability  https://goo.gl/hMroMX
  • Licensing  – Azure  responds to AWS, now offers constrained core VMs enabling orgs to constrain the vCPU count to reduce the cost of software licensing https://goo.gl/B3JT7y
  • Licensing – “What you can do in the Office apps on an Android, iOS, or Windows mobile device with an Office 365 subscription” https://goo.gl/HupJzK
  • Licensing – SharePoint Online storage increase to 1 TB plus 10 GB per user license https://goo.gl/hpibTR In thinking why Microsoft would suddenly be so generous, one obvious factor is the influence Teams and Office 365 Groups have on driving usage for SharePoint Online document libraries. After all, with so many document libraries in use, the old (minuscule) allocation was simply too small.
  • Licensing – “Office 2019 uses device-based licenses similar to previous major versions. Users will be able to sign in if they want to. However, they are not required to do this. Key Management Service (KMS) and Multiple Activation Keys (MAK) activation are available to volume license users for offline licensing. No Internet connection is required to use the product”. https://goo.gl/STzoXZ
  • New Feature – Office 365 Secure Score is now Microsoft Secure Score.. The logic is that the dashboard now includes Windows data as well as Office 365 data.
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Microsoft introduce Commercial Preview of Office 2019. https://t.co/86gngpJZIo
  • Licensing – Office 2019 will only be available as C2R “Click To Run” (FAQs) https://goo.gl/7vfJ2Q
  • Microsoft News – Windows 10 Revenue up 13%, Commercial products and cloud services revenue up 21, Surface revenue up 32% , Windows 10 devices in commercial orgs up 79% yr/yr, Gaming revenue up 18%Xbox Live users up 13% to 59M https://goo.gl/976puR
  • Microsoft News – Microsoft News Revenue up 16% to $26.8B, $6.3B returned to shareholders in dividends and stock repurchase, Commercial Cloud revenue – $6B in quarter, Commercial Cloud margin up 6% to 57% https://goo.gl/976puR
  • Tool – Office Readiness Toolkit for Office Add-In and Macro Compatibility – https://goo.gl/zsjnZk
  • 3rd party PBX systems for Exchange Online unified messaging  will work until April 30th 2019. https://goo.gl/yiEoos
  • Pricing – Azure Pricing Updates for Express Route https://goo.gl/mTVLhR
  • Pricing – Azure Pricing Updates for Application Insights https://goo.gl/XtNjLu
  • Pricing – Visual Studio Team Services Pricing https://goo.gl/1hQrFt
  • New Feature – Password-less Sign-In to Windows 10 & Azure AD using FIDO2 is coming soon https://goo.gl/TyqhBL
  • New Feature – Azure AD Conditional Access policies can now check device health as reported by Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection. https://goo.gl/TyqhBL
  • New Feature – Azure AD access reviews, Privileged Identity Management and Terms of Use features are all now Generally Available. https://goo.gl/TyqhBL
  • New Feature – With the addition of domain allow and deny lists, Azure AD B2B Collaboration now gives you the ability to control which partner organizations you work with. https://goo.gl/TyqhBL
  • Reference (Licensing) Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams Feature Comparison https://t.co/qS44aQxWYg http://aka.ms/skypeandteams
  • Pricing – price changes for Azure monitoring services. Log Analytics, Network Watcher, Azure Monitor, and Application Insights https://goo.gl/5XpJy2

Thanks All


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is Head of Microsoft Advisory Services at SoftwareONE

If you would like to reach out for a coffee or a meeting under NDA, Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn

Microsoft Update March 2018

Some principle recent Microsoft solution and licensing updates, for March 2018

  • Microsoft re-confirm that Inactive User Mailbox licensing is “postponed indefinitely”  – and reiterate Exchange Online Plan 2 or E3/E5 is assigned for Litigation Hold of Inactive Mailbox. Minimum license re-assignment of 90 days.
  • Microsoft announce effective May 1st 2018, Outlook Mobile will become part of all Exchange Online SKU service plans Microsoft also confirm ‘Commercial Use Rights’ for Office Apps will extend to F1 and E1 and Business Essentials. A long overdue and welcome announcement.
  • Microsoft Cloud App Security now looks at disgruntled employee access beyond their credentials, and anomaly detection of ransomware activity.  Microsoft also improve Conditional Access App Controls (Public Preview) http://bit.ly/2HpYSo9
  • Enable GDPR with DSR (Data Subject Requests) in Office365 Data Privacy Tab of Office365, and Azure DSR Portal. http://bit.ly/2qURGVO
  • Microsoft leverage their IP with SQL Hybrid Use Benefit (HUB) to discount new SQL Azure DB Managed Instance https://goo.gl/AFnya4
  • Microsoft market “transparent” pricing, but SQL Hybrid Benefit can mean one customer with VL pricing anchored at Level A, another at Level D, +/- discounts etc. Enabling strong competitive advantage over AWS for Azure SQL DB Managed Instances https://goo.gl/iAhdcH
    • o To right-cost and right-size to cloud: the answer is integrated: connect the data layers – (global) pricing, contract, discount, entitlement, physical and virtual inventory, performance metering, app layer, and target architecture. Not many players can provide all.
  • SQL Information Protection enters public preview. The ‘advanced’ moniker indicates it may be a premium offering in-line with the other notable GDPR enabling features.  https://goo.gl/H7hJZy
  • Microsoft Teams guest access expands to consumer accounts https://t.co/NcDKM1rNxW
  • Azure Migrate is now generally available in March 2018. Microsoft step into commercial TCO with scenario planning inclusive of Azure Hybrid Use Benefit, Right-Sizing, No Charge Dependency Visualization  https://goo.gl/N8CofC   further enabled by https://goo.gl/gAVTYf  Azure Advisor. This does move native functionality of Microsoft services into the PyraCloud space, but do you want commercial and technical governance owned by the vendor, and does this address Multi-Cloud?
  • SQL Server Hybrid Use Benefit emerges in the March 1st Product Terms. Specified use scenarios, with a key limitation on concurrent use when comparing to Windows Server Datacenter. Notably no Azure Analysis Services included. https://goo.gl/DWACNS
  • Microsoft  announce that Azure Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) was generally available on March 1st. Azure ATP resides within EM+S E5. https://goo.gl/k15zXv
  • Common Area Phone in the March 2018 Microsoft Product Terms: https://goo.gl/DWACNS
  • SQL in Power BI in the March 2018 Microsoft Product Terms: https://goo.gl/DWACNS
  • Dynamics NAV and GP 2018 in the March 2018 Microsoft Services Provider Use Rights (SPUR) https://goo.gl/J6UFux
  • Microsoft Qualified Educational User (QEU) definition limits CSP to Academic & Government institutions https://goo.gl/hJF63W

Thanks All


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is Head of Microsoft Advisory Services at SoftwareONE

If you would like to reach out for a coffee or a meeting under NDA, Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn

Copyright Softspend Limited 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Microsoft Update – February 2018

Some principle recent Microsoft licensing and solution updates, for February 2018

  • Azure Information Protection Scanner enters General Availability. Notably aligned within EM&S E5 or AIP P2. Enables GDPR. https://t.co/XWnUXoBpVz
  • Office365 near term roadmap with new features across Planner, Advanced Threat Intelligence and Advanced Threat Protection https://t.co/b6YBT6cw6J
  • If you want to manage group naming conventions and expiry policies for Office365 groups, you will need Azure AD Premium licenses https://goo.gl/x7HzLc
  • Windows Defender ATP now supports Windows 8.1 and 7  https://goo.gl/T8hQPn
  • Microsoft Compliance Manager enters General Availability. Provided natively for Office365 Enterprise Plans for GDPR https://t.co/qtuvmAN5X5
  • Hybrid Azure AD Premium with on-premises MIM now enables hybrid self-service group management and self-service password reset reporting https://t.co/ikUOzvdHoU
  • The United States vs. Microsoft arguments started on February 27th. One to watch for the future of Azure and data privacy.
  • Microsoft enhance cloud spend management ecosystem for Azure with Budgets API (EA customers only), and ARM (Azure Resource Manager) compliant Price List and Marketplace APIs https://goo.gl/RbzfYK Providing additional valuable APIs to PyraCloud.
  • Windows Client OS have been completely re-written in the March 2018 Product Terms. Now 25% shorter.
  • Microsoft  announce that Azure Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) is now Generally Available on March 1st. Azure ATP resides within EM+S E5. #GDPR https://goo.gl/4qVLh2
  • Azure Stream Analytics introduces new pricing model “If your customers have existing Enterprise Agreement (EA) enrollments that were valid as of February 1, 2017, they’ll be able to use Stream Analytics at the previous pricing model until the end of their current enrollment period” https://goo.gl/n4uiZA
  • Amazon cloud lead shrinks as Microsoft Azure growth explodes http://tek.io/2BrRdRH
  • Office 365 Multi-Geo address previous challenges of regional tenant requirements? Read More: https://t.co/IpaehntYfq
  • Dynamics NAV 2018 and GP 2018 in the March 2018 Microsoft Services Provider Use Rights: http://bit.ly/SPUR-Mar-18
  • Common Area Phone, Azure Advanced Threat Protection in the March 2018 Microsoft Online Services Terms: http://bit.ly/OST-Mar-18
  • New Feature for Microsoft Teams : “Anyone with a business or consumer email account, such as http://Outlook.com, http://Gmail.com  or others, can participate as a guest in Teams with full access to team chats, meetings and files.” https://t.co/izBxjLdn41
  • Microsoft Azure Migrate is now generally available. Microsoft step into commercial TCO with scenario planning inclusive of Azure Hybrid Use Benefit, Right-Sizing, No Charge Dependency Visualization  https://goo.gl/N8CofC and further enabled by emerging features for cost and technical optimisation guidance https://goo.gl/gAVTYf within Azure Advisor.
  • Microsoft offer important capabilities around automated classification and encryption of data, GDPR critical features are often enshrined within E5 level services, and the ‘fire hose’ of information available within Office365 Audit Logs are retained for just 90 days within Office365, only extensible for 180 days with ‘premium’ Advanced Security Management (ASM) https://goo.gl/P9QDwL

Thanks All


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is Head of Microsoft Advisory Services at SoftwareONE

If you would like to reach out for a coffee or a meeting under NDA, Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn

Copyright Softspend Limited 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Microsoft Update January 2018

Some principle recent Microsoft solution and licensing updates, for January 2018

  • Managing Office365 licenses becomes easier with group-based subscription assignments, Admins will be able to restrict individual services for staged deployments, and assign multiple service packages https://goo.gl/kTg5Yy
  • Windows Azure VM must enable port 1688 for licensing. To restrict access to Internet IPs, an admin must create an inbound rule in NSG https://goo.gl/pEFRPx to restrict the traffic. A network security group (NSG) https://goo.gl/wQHBoK contains a list of security rules that allow or deny network traffic to resources connected to Azure Virtual Networks (VNet).
  • PowerBI licensing can be expansive – a database managed by the Common Data Service (CDS) could incur all users of the app(s) that access the database to have a Plan 1 subscription. There is a good licensing resource available here: https://goo.gl/Bt6HgC
  • Office365 enables GDPR with auto-data classification (AIP P2 / E5), DLP policies, and Compliance Manager. However, the ‘fire hose’ of Audit Logs are retained for just 90 days, extensible with premium AddOn /E5 Advanced Security Management (ASM) for 180 days https://goo.gl/P9QDwL
  • Azure Info Protection scanner crawls through files in CIFS based file shares and SharePoint (2013-16) sites and apply classification, labelling and protection on files, policies. Note, as always the fancy GDPR content sits in AIP P2 or EMS E5. https://goo.gl/uuPGaz
  • Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams – Setting up Communication Credits https://goo.gl/fL1h8d to enable Pre-Pay access toll-free call-out for Audio Conferencing and Calling Plans https://goo.gl/doHp8n
  • A good resource on Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams add-on licensing https://goo.gl/5trxQ7
  • Impact on Office365 service features support across the various iterations of Skype and Lync desktop clients https://goo.gl/9Hy3Yt
  • PowerBI use scenarios can impact licensing and solution topology e.g. ‘User Owned Data’ vs, ‘App Owned Data’ when the user and app authenticate to access PowerBI APIs (for example for task workers to access a kiosk application) requires PowerBI Pro https://goo.gl/sYmgfW
  • Microsoft announce policy change on End of Support and Premium Assurance. Microsoft are re-evaluating the Premium Assurance offer construct, which provides up to six years of additional support beyond the extended support period. Effective Feb 1st 2018, Premium Assurance SKUs will be updated to lead-status and removed from the published price list. As of now Premium Assurance should no longer be sold, and Redmond are working on plans to announce at a later date. If you have a deal in progress and need guidance, please contact premiumassurance@microsoft.com
  • To allow additional time to deliver the full product and services catalog for software to the modern platform, the Select Plus Retirement suspension will be extended another 12 months. Microsoft will resume shutting down the remaining commercial Select Plus accounts in April 2019. Extensions have been automatically applied to all active commercial Select Plus accounts subject to retirement. Though Microsoft are not actively shutting accounts down, they are advocating moving customers out of Select Plus to a longer-term solution such as EA, CSP (or MPSA as appropriate). Note: Public Sector accounts are not impacted.
  • Microsoft have  announced that for pre-approved SMB customers that cannot transition to CSP, a 12 month Short Term EA Enrollment Extension option available until June 29, 2018.
  • An longstanding issue for Skype for Business,  Common Area Phone SKU will launch March 1, 2018. This new SKU will allow customers with phone devices not assigned to users and used in areas such as reception areas, break rooms, shop floors, or conference rooms to purchase just one SKU in order to enable those devices with the ability to make/receive calls. The SKU will include the service plans for Phone System and Skype for Business Plan 2. This new license will be available in EA, EAS, Open, CSP and GCC and will be restricted for assignment to devices only per updated Product Terms. The SKU will also roll out to EES customers in Q4FY18.
  • Dynamics 365 for Sales, and Customer Service User CALs SA only have 61% discount empowerment until May 31st 2018. Available across Volume Agreement programmes

Thanks All


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is Head of Microsoft Advisory Services at SoftwareONE

If you would like to reach out for a coffee or a meeting under NDA, Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn

Copyright Softspend Limited 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Microsoft EA True Up Guide

Over the term of your Enterprise Agreement (EA), you can equip additional hardware, devices, or users with software and online services that you’ve already licensed, and then account for these changes through an annual reconciliation process known as “True Up”. If you have an Enterprise Agreement Subscription  (EAS), this process is known as an Annual Order, through which you can increase, or decrease your license subscription counts.

Once a year, you are asked to reconcile your Enterprise Agreement (EA) license quantities to account for the total number of licenses you’ve added in the previous 12 months. This effort culminates in an order you place (or an Update Statement you submit) that reconciles all the qualified devices, users, and processor/cores added or used by your organization over the course of the year.

Your annual reconciliation order (or Update Statement) are normally due 30 to 60 days prior to your Enrollment anniversary, supporting Microsoft and your LSP (License Solution Provider) to provide eligible license transitions, but also both with annual commercial forecasts [Ref: Enterprise Agreement True-up Guide for more information]

A principle impact to organisations will be in the approach to the annual True Up. Updated wording in the 2014+ contracts could significantly impact customers that have seasonal or other annual deployment fluctuations to impact the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA). This new approach, effective for customers signing the more recently revised contracts is defined as follows for the Enterprise Agreement enrollment (This wording is reflected in the 2014 and later Enrollments, but please refer to your organisations binding documentation):

“True-up requirements. Enrolled Affiliate must submit an annual true-up order that accounts for changes since the initial order or last order. If there are no changes, then an update statement must be submitted instead of a true-up order.

(i) Enterprise Products. For Enterprise Products, Enrolled Affiliate must determine the number of Qualified Devices and Qualified Users (if ordering user-based Licenses) at the time the true-up order is placed and must order additional Licenses for all Qualified Devices and Qualified Users that are not already covered by existing Licenses, including anyEnterprise Online Services.

(ii) Additional Products. For Additional Products that have been previously ordered under this Enrollment, Enrolled Affiliate must determine the maximum number of Additional Products used since the latter of the initial order, the last true-up order, or the prior anniversary date and submit a true-up order that accounts for any increase.

(iii) Online Services. For Online Services identified as eligible for true-up in the Product  erms, Enrolled Affiliate may place a reservation order for the additional Licenses prior to use.” (Ref: Enterprise Enrollment 2017)

For the counting of Enterprise Products, the wording in the enrollment does have an apparent conflict, that accounts “for  changes” over the term or since the last anniversary, but later also under the term Enterprise Products “at the time the true-up order is placed”. The common perception of many IT professionals was that the Enterprise Agreement offered some seasonal adjustment or allowance for temporary duplicate deployments, the revisited wording would clearly indicate a departure from a ‘trust based model’.

Taken in a wider context for customers renewing other enrollments, this tactical editing of the November 2014 Agreement Pack also extend to the Server Cloud Enrollment :-

“(ii) True-up order. Enrolled Affiliate must determine the maximum number of Products used since the latter of the initial order the last true-up order, or the Enrollment’s prior anniversary and submit a true-up order that accounts for any increase.” [Ref: Server Cloud Enrollment 2014]

The Microsoft True Up Guide reiterates the “high waterfall” model, without the contractual nomencalture above:

“Submit the order for the difference between those used/installed and the last reported count. This includes Licenses for which the Product was used or installed at any time since the last true-up, even if the licenses are not in active use at the time of your true-up” [Ref: EA True Up Guide, Page 4]

This approach has been reflected in other guidance, including deployment of the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit (MAP):

“The Microsoft Assessment Planning (MAP) Toolkit features an IT-based Software Usage Tracker functionality that provides usage reports for the following server products: Windows Server, Exchange Server, SQL Server, SharePoint Server, and System Center Configuration Manager. This automated software asset managementrelated functionality is designed to be used by Microsoft Volume Licensing customers. The Software Usage Tracker provides you with a view of your actual server usage, which can be valuable for comparing with your purchased CALs, or for True-up and agreement renewal discussions.” [Ref: EA Program Guide]

Microsoft have also been advocating adoption of Software Inventory Logging Aggregator (SILA) which uses features within Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 to Windows Server 2016 to collect licensable centric data from your environment on an ongoing basis. This will collect the following information over a period of time (not point-in-time).

  • CPU, Core and vCPU
  • Model and Type of CPU
  • Hyper Threading Enabled/Disabled
  • High Water Mark of Simultaneous Running VMs
  • High Water Mark of Simultaneous System Center Managed VMs
  • Host Locations of SQL VMs
  • Software listed in Add/Remove Programs

This information is all incredibly important for capturing licensing metrics for SQL and Windows Server, and System Center. This could have a material impact of ESX Clusters do not have sufficient licenses assigned to support VMs across a cluster. It is strongly recommend you independently assess the impact of licensable VM distribution across the host layer to identify any commercial risk for your organisation, and understand opportunities for consolidation or control.

This change in written terminology may incentivise Microsoft to request metering of use over the contract term, or final year of a contract, to ascertain ‘maximum use’ therein driving revenues from final year True Up and subsequent renewal; underwriting the business case to move workloads to Azure. 

This audit centric adjustment to the contracts, is further extended under the MBSA (Microsoft Business and Services Agreement). The MBSA now enables Microsoft to verify compliance with a third party auditor. For example, If the auditor identifies more than 5% non-compliance, the organization will have to pay for the cost of the Audit, and 125% of the license price, based on the then-current price list for the customer price level (A-D), and not the agreed pricing of the relevant agreement(s). This can be problematic, not only due to the unbudgeted spend, but that non-compliance could be identified on non-strategic software. (For example, a ‘technical’ shortfall of Project or Visio deployed on a Citrix Environment, secured under AD Security Groups, could impact the budget for ‘strategic spend’.

Recommendations

  • Check the specific terms of your enrollment(s), and any contractual amendments for your enterprise.
  • Microsoft expect either a ‘Zero True Up’, or a True Up declaration 60-30 days prior to the Anniversary.
  • Please work with your existing toolsets, but I would strongly recommend both MAP and RV Tools for your SQL and Windows Server environment.
  • There is some complexity in assessing the optimum license model(s) between CIS Datacenter and Standard Edition, or Individual Components, so I recommend soliciting specialist advice to ensure spend optimisation.
  • SQL Server remains a principle driver of unbudgeted spend, so I would recommend soliciting specialist advice to ensure optimum assignment of license assets, available license model(s), and ensure all optimum licensable metrics, and licensable exclusions are covered. This can have a material impact for complex virtualized environments.
  • There can me material commercial value in leveraging use of existing and legacy licensing assets (contract and maintenance permitting) for Microsoft workloads moving, or deployed, on AWS and Azure. This needs to be managed carefully on an ongoing basis, with specific assignment limits, that require ongoing management.

Multi Cloud – Stay In Control

Multi-cloud is on the rise. In some organisations, individuals and departments adopt various cloud solutions and services over a period of time, resulting in a gradual drift into a multi-cloud scenario. Other organisations deliberately assign workloads to both Microsoft Azure and AWS, seeking to reduce excessive reliance on either vendor, enhance flexibility, improve resiliency and mitigate exit strategy issues. In other cases, sovereignty regulations such as GDPR lead global companies to adopt multi-cloud strategies to keep data in local regions. Either way, multi-cloud is now so prevalent that it’s being referred to by some as the “new normal.”
However, multi-cloud raises challenges as well as benefits. Costs can run out of control, and management complexity can spiral as individuals and teams spin up workload after workload across the organisation, often without involving the IT department. Keeping track of what is under way, where, and for whom can become impossible.

Data and workload fragmentation sets in – silos, much like those we’ve seen for decades in the data centre, but now scattered across the cloud. Also, it’s not uncommon for IT to be unaware of the existence of certain cloud assets, much less where they all are, the resources they’re consuming or the benefits they’re delivering.

Being Wise to Vendor Incentives

Meanwhile, both Microsoft and Amazon are focusing on retaining, as well as attracting, customers. They use contractual devices, but also reward end users for committing more data and heavier workloads to their platforms. Naturally, users take advantage of such rewards, and the greater their reliance on their cloud platform of choice, the greater their inclination tends to be to stick with it.
Unavoidably, a piecemeal approach to multi-cloud results in relentlessly escalating costs, and deteriorating visibility. To effectively leverage multi-cloud’s potential, it is important to improve visibility and bring costs under control. SoftwareONE employs three principal offerings within their PyraCloud platform to help you do exactly that, including:

  • Decision Calculator – define workloads or use cases with a broad range of resource requirement parameters (compute power, network capacity, storage capacity, OS type, and geographical region, for example) then review providers to find the best cloud solutions, by capability and cost.
  • Tag and Resource Manager – discover, structure and govern cloud resources across multiple cloud environments. Consistently track what cloud resources are being used across multiple cloud environments such as Azure and AWS.
  • Cloud Budget Manager – Establish budgets by business units and cloud resources upfront to proactively track spend against budget to identify optimization opportunities.
  • Procurement and License Management – central management for all licenses, covering start, end and renewal dates, quotations, orders, contracts, and more. Consolidate invoices regionally or globally to reduce management complexity and enhance efficiency.

Microsoft Advisory Services

License costs are rising, and increasingly impacting technology decisions. The value of vendor discounts is falling – some 70% of businesses are not confident they will get a good deal at renewal, and just over one in five business decision makers believe they receive accurate licensing advice directly from the vendor. (Ref: website completed in 2017)

Independent advice on Microsoft licensing is rapidly becoming essential, especially in the cloud.

Our Microsoft Advisory Services (MAS) practice provides support and expertise across the board, through Software Asset Discovery, License Analysis, Commercial Analysis, License Design and Negotiation, and Implementation. Working closely with you, we help you ensure you buy the right technology, on the right contracts, at the best price. The savings, both financial and in terms of management simplification, can be extensive.