Microsoft Advisory Services – Continuously Optimizing the Value of Your Microsoft Investment

With significant growth in the adoption of cloud services across every industry, organizations are experiencing increased complexity in their IT environment. This is unfortunate, given most organizations initially invest in cloud solutions to drive more value – but according to Gartner, less than 25 percent of organizations report having a mature strategy for optimizing their licensing spend. That’s a lot of money being left on the table.

However, there is value in these solutions for almost every organization, although locating that value in unfamiliar territory may seem impossible. Think of it as a long hike – not merely a day trip, but a
multi-day adventure where you’ll need a map, a dedicated route, and enough resources to last you from start to finish. On a hike like this, it’s inevitable that you’ll eventually encounter a boulder blocking your path, get sent off-course by poorly marked trails, or experience unfavorable weather.

In these cases, peeking at your map or trying to connect to your GPS might not provide all the help you need. You need a guide who has walked these trails before and can show you how to adapt and move forward. Otherwise, you could make a judgment call that ends up taking you in the wrong direction – and onto a perilous path. Let’s take a look at challenges with optimizing your Microsoft contracts, and see how partnering with a knowledgeable guide can help.

Impasses are Common with Cloud Investments

Microsoft contracts are typically three years long – and if you went on a hike for three years, you could expect a lot of the world to change during that time. In the context of Microsoft investments, organizational and technological changes will be the most common and significant.

For instance, just think about companies that signed a contract with Microsoft back in 2019. Throughout 2020, their technological and organizational needs fundamentally changed as remote work became the standard, rendering some previous investments less valuable. It’s true that 2020 has been an especially unusual year – but change is inevitable, and the next disruptor is always right around the corner.

Even without drastic change, many organizations eventually experience significant challenges over the course of their Microsoft contract. Here are just a few common challenges that your business might experience while optimizing your Microsoft and cloud investments.

  • Poor return on investment – Microsoft spend may seem ever-increasing, and the benefits may seem to be ever-vanishing. This can be due to numerous factors that are difficult to pin down, causing frustration.
  • Lack of expertise – Many organizations are unfamiliar with intricacies like the publisher incentive model or potential cost savings at your contract‘s anniversary. To compound the issue, a lack of insight into the solution’s total value makes negotiations difficult.
  • License non-compliance – It’s difficult to identify and validate the data and information required to use licenses properly and stay compliant. Additionally, many IT teams don’t allot enough time to prepare for an audit.
  • Unfavorable contract negotiations  Many organizations don’t realize how unfavorable their initial contract was until they realize what contract they could have had. Teams need to understand the long-term effects of their contracts and learn how to best renegotiate them.
  • Lack of unbiased information – Ask Microsoft for help and you’ll get a biased answer, but search online and you’ll find private businesses who want you to download their software. A lack of guidance can make the path forward more unclear than it should be.

These challenges can create gaps that organizations will scramble to patch as soon as possible. However, this often results in unwise technological investments. By partnering with an expert guide, you’ll be able to calmly decide the best way to overcome the challenge – whether it’s reworking your contract during the term or providing your employees with more helpful resources.

Get a Guide with Microsoft Managed Services

When you’re traversing unfamiliar terrain, having a guide will ensure you end the journey on a high note. SoftwareONE’s Microsoft Advisory Managed Services can be this guide. We will help you find new value from your Microsoft investment through increased visibility and leading support services, while providing actionable recommendations to help you optimize your current contract.

For instance, we can help you manage all of your Microsoft 365 solutions as well as your Azure deployments by tracking cloud spend, finding areas for potential cost avoidance, and imparting valuable knowledge to help your team learn as they go. We do this through an 11-step process that begins with advisory and ends with ongoing management. Here’s what to expect from our advisory team:

  1. Solution Alignment – We will help your team define opportunities and align your roadmap to fit the Microsoft technology & license stack, ensuring you get only the solutions you need.
  2. User Profiles – We’ll work with you to identify any user technology requirements that should be considered during contract negotiation.
  3. Licensing Options Analysis – We’ll provide a licensing cost analysis, complete with recommendations to ensure your organization understands where and how you’ll be saving.
  4. Pre-Contract Optimization – Next, we will help your team develop an optimum bill of materials and assist with contract design.
  5. Negotiation Support – We’ll help you iron out your negotiation strategy and help ensure your benchmarks are accurate and convincing, giving you the upper hand in contract negotiations.

Next, we will move onto the next phase of the process: Providing managed services for your current Microsoft contract and deployment.

  1. Microsoft 365 Investment Scorecard – In the first step of our managed phase, we’ll help you create a scorecard that ensures you will drive value and cost savings throughout the cloud contract lifecycle.
  2. Cloud Cost Optimization – Next we’ll delve you’re your Azure and Microsoft 365 deployment and optimize spend.
  3. Licensing Helpdesk – Have a tough licensing question? Ask us! We’ll offer you a team of Microsoft specialists to answer any of your licensing questions.
  4. Licensing Updates – We’ll identify opportunities or risks that may come with any future licensing agreements or similar relevant changes.
  5. License Design Advisory – Our managed services team will provide license design and cost impact insights for your upcoming or current IT projects and programs.
  6. Contract Right-Sizing – We’ll help you adjust and optimize your Microsoft contract just in time for your reports and audits.

Through this 11-step process, our team is able to drive value and cost savings from the bottom up, ensuring you’re maximizing the value in your solution and confidently blazing a path forward. If you ever need to make a change in your Microsoft contract or current practices, we’ll find out how to make it happen as soon as possible – and ensure everything goes off without a hitch.

Final Thoughts

Embarking on a cloud journey with Microsoft can seem almost as intimidating as hiking Everest. You’ll need to prepare resources ahead of time, map out your journey, and ensure you’re ready for the long haul ahead. This can look like pouring hundreds of hours into research and best practices, or it could be as simple as hiring a Sherpa to show you the way.

A guide can help you get all the help you need for your Microsoft 365 and Azure deployments the first time around and prevent you from turning around in defeat. Don’t spend exorbitant amounts of money on unused resources that will get lost in the shuffle. Instead, trust SoftwareONE to guide and manage your Microsoft contracts – all while keeping your journey to the cloud on track.

Don’t Traverse Microsoft’s Solutions Alone

Our Microsoft Advisory experts know how to maximize your investments and ensure you’re meeting your goals.

Microsoft Update September 2019

Some of the principle licensing updates for September 2019 –

  •  The Product Terms for September 2019 (Page 57) provide SA parity across Windows Server via CSP and EA Models
    • Azure Hybrid Benefit
    • Disaster Recovery Rights
    • Nano Server
    • Semi Annual Channel (SAC)
    • Self Hosted ISV Applications
  • Windows Enterprise E5 – Microsoft Defender ATP will benefit from new feature, ‘Threat Experts’ Managed Service – Read
  • FastTrack service for over 150 users for Windows Enterprise E3 and E5 – Read
  • Effective October 1st – (Now November) Direct Markets will no longer be able to initiate or renew an Azure-only SCE, introduce Azure services to an current EA that did not previously include Azure, or purchase Azure under a new EA.
  • Effective October 1st –(now November) Dynamics 365 will remove Customer Engagement (CE), Unified Operations (UO), and Dynamics 365 plans
  • New and renewing customers will be able to purchase individual applications as Base and Attach licenses.
  • Windows Virtual Desktop on Azure becomes Generally Available – Read Citrix ‘Day 1’ Support – Read
  • SPLA partners are now considered an “Authorized Outsourcer” unless you are using the IaaS from a Listed provider (AWS, Google, Alibaba, Microsoft).
  • Azure AD partner ecosystem expands with F5 Networks for Conditional Access and Azure Identity Protection, and SSO, with Legacy-Auth (Kerberos or Header-based) Apps enabled with F5 – Read
  • Functionality – Register your SQL Server on Azure VMs self-installations with Azure Resource Provider – Read
  • Azure Reservations are available with Monthly payments – Read
  • Office365 ProPlus License Activation Improvements for activations on new devices for users – Read
  • Microsoft Intune Feature Updates – Read
  • Microsoft announce Dynamics 365 Commerce and Dynamics 365 Connected Store Applications – Read
  • Dynamics Product Updates Roadmap Page – Read
  • Dynamics Virtual Launch Event October 10th – Register
  • Azure Cost Management YouTube Channel – Watch
  • Microsoft have announced :
  • Office 2013 client connections to commercial Office 365 services will not be supported after October 13, 2020.
    • Customers will require Office versions 2016 or Office 365 ProPlus to connect to Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business.
    • Support for Office 2016 and Office 2019 connections to Office365 cloud services will continue until October 2023.
    • Microsoft will not actively block connections, but advise of performance and reliability issues, or compliance issues.
    • Microsoft have published SCCM dashboards to provide visibility and advise on readiness to upgrade to Office 365ProPlus.
  • Microsoft have announced effective October 31st 2020
    • Microsoft will retire ‘Basic Authentication’ to access Exchange Online for EWS, EAS, IMAP, POP and RPS connections.
    • This will not impact SMTH AUTH, but customers should switch to the Outlook app for iOS and Android, newer versions of Outlook 2013 onwards, that fully support OAuth 2.0
    • It is therefore recommended customers move to Outlook 2016 or Office365 ProPlus
    • This is required by October 31st 2020

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 2019. All Rights Reserved.

Microsoft Update August 2019

Some of the principle licensing updates for August 2019 –

  • Microsoft announce retirement of Dynamics 365 Plans – Customer Engagement Plan, Unified Operations Plan, and Dynamics 365 Plan (combining Customer Engagement and Operations) on October 1st
    • Microsoft will move to a new approach, with a base and attach license.
    • For example Customer Service Enterprise ($95) + Field Service Attach ($20) at a total of ($115).
    • Customers must purchase the most expensive ‘base’ license, and ‘attach’ licenses are available with the same functionality
    • To prevent purchase of ‘attach’ licenses, assignment restrictions are technically enforced
    • There are some exceptions, with PSA only as a ‘base’, and Talent is ‘standalone’. Customer Service Pro can be attached to Sales Pro, but not Sales Pro attached to Customer Service Pro.
    • In most cases the costs will increase, once the add on is purchased and omitting prior tiered pricing.
  • SQL Server Enterprise Core Unlimited Virtualization Rights on Azure Dedicated Host with Azure Hybrid Benefit
  • Concurrent use on Azure Dedicated Host for 180 days
  • Windows Server Unlimited Virtualization Rights on Azure Dedicated Host, and allocate Windows Server Datacenter Licenses with SA for all of the Physical Cores available to Customer on that Azure Dedicated Host Server.
  • Academic support for Office 365 ProPlus on Device SL, as a no-cost add-on for EES
  • Microsoft announce Deployment Planning Services is being retired in favor of FastTrack deployments
    • Training Vouchers are being retired and gradually phased out of SA
    • Support eligibility criteria is being adjusted with a minimum requirement of $250K annual SA spend and the ability to upgrade to Unified Support
    • The first of these changes go into effect in February 2020, with the remaining changes gradually rolled-out through January 2022.
  • Microsoft announce on October 1, 2019 Microsoft will release the Teams Meetings for F1 SKU and provides full meetings capabilities and use rights for Office 365 F1 and Microsoft 365 F1 users. SKU will be available through EA/EAS only
  • Microsoft acquire Movere
  • MDOP tools extended support unit 2026
  • Azure Reservations can be purchased up-front or on monthly basis.
  • Microsoft Planner added to F1.
  • Microsoft announce updates to PowerApps and Flow licensing
    • PowerApps per app plan which allows individual users to run apps (2 apps and a single portal) for a specific business scenario based on the full capabilities of PowerApps for $10 PCM
    • PowerApps per user plan which equips a user to run unlimited apps (within service limits) based on the full capabilities of PowerApps for $40 PCM
    • New Microsoft Flow plans include:
    • Microsoft Flow per user plan which equips a user to run unlimited flows (within service limits) with the full capabilities of Microsoft Flow based on $15 PCM
    • Microsoft Flow per flow plan which enables organizations to implement flows with reserved capacity that serve teams, department, or the entire organization without having to license each end user. This plan starts at $500 PCM for 5 flows
    • https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-platform/admin/powerapps-flow-licensing-faq

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 2019. All Rights Reserved.

Microsoft updates licensing rules to compete with Google, AWS, Alibaba, with Azure Dedicated Host

Overview

Note – I have written a Licensing Guide for Google Cloud Platform (GCP), sponsored by Google – it is published on the Google’s website

On August 1, 2019 Microsoft made the following announcement of a new infrastructure service Azure Dedicated Host, and updated their licensing terms to compete with established dedicated host offerings from hyper-scale cloud providers: AWS and Google and Alibaba.

Microsoft have announced Azure Dedicated Host will offer greater visibility and control over the hardware layer and maintenance operations, processor type, number of cores, and different VM sizes within the same VM series on the given host. This addresses a gap in their service offering to compete with established dedicated host offerings from AWS, Google and Alibaba.

Microsoft have also announced that effective October 1st 2019, an material update to their longstanding ‘outsourcer’ licensing terms that will impact customers who have purchased licenses without Software Assurance (SA) and mobility rights on dedicated host infrastructure services, provided by a discrete list of named ‘Listed Providers’: Alibaba, Amazon (including Vmware Cloud on AWS), Google, and Microsoft.

When will the changes apply?

Microsoft have stated that customers that purchase new licenses on or after October 1, 2019, or upgrade to a new product version released on or after that date, the new updated licensing terms will apply.

If you are using software under subscription licenses you are bound to the new terms on the earlier of renewal of your subscription or an upgrade to a version of software made available on or after October 1, 2019.

For licenses purchased before October 1, 2019, you will be able to continue to use the software under the terms of the originally licensed product, or until upgrade to a version of software made available on or after October 1, 2019.

What are the planned changes?

  • Microsoft will expand the scope of License Mobility through SA for eligible licenses with active Software Assurance (SA), to be assigned to dedicated host cloud services from ‘Listed Providers’ who are an Authorized Mobility Partner (AMP), including Azure Dedicated Host. For example, Exchange Server, SharePoint Server, Skype for Business Server, and SQL Server. Formerly, this benefit could only be used in shared tenancy environments and will now be expanded to dedicated hosts.
  • Microsoft will restrict Bringing Your Own Licenses (BYOL) for License Mobility eligible products, when licenses were purchased without SA, or where SA has lapsed, to dedicated host cloud services from ‘Listed Providers’, including Azure Dedicated Host. Formerly, this was permitted on dedicated hosted servers under the ‘outsourcing’ provision.
  • Microsoft will restrict licenses to be assigned to dedicated host cloud services from ‘Listed Providers’ that are not eligible for License Mobility. For example, Windows Server, Windows Desktop OS, Microsoft Office, or software covered under Visual Studio developer subscriptions.
  • Microsoft SQL Server and Windows Server licenses with active SA can be assigned under an expanded ‘Azure Hybrid Benefit’ to Azure Dedicated Host.
  • Microsoft will restrict ‘Unlimited Virtualization Rights’ that enabled unlimited VMs to be scheduled (hardware permitting) for SQL Server Enterprise with SA, and Windows Datacenter on ‘Listed Provider’ dedicated host services from AWS, Google and Alibaba.
  • Microsoft will offer Extended Security Updates for all SQL Server and Windows Server workloads on Azure Dedicated Hosts at no additional charge.
  • To ensure continued security updates for SQL server 2008 and 2008 R2, and Windows server 2008 and 2008 R2 workloads at end of extended support on Alibaba, AWS and GCP, you will need to upgrade, or maintain active SA on the licensed servers to purchase Extended Security Updates.
  • Microsoft software is still available to you through ‘License Included’ offerings from ‘Listed Providers’ that participate in the Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA) program, and ‘License Included’ services available through Microsoft Azure.
  • This will not apply to other dedicated hosting providers and SPLA partners. The planned licensing changes only apply to Microsoft, AWS (Including Vmware on AWS), Alibaba, and Google.

What are my licensing options?

Table 1 – Options for Microsoft Customer’s based on upcoming October 1st Licensing Changes

Listed Providers – Dedicated Host Azure Dedicated Host Only
Product Group Licenses Purchased before October 1, 2019 Licenses Purchased On or After October 1, 2019 Licenses Purchased On or After October 1, 2019
Bring Your Own Licensing (BYOL) for Windows Server Assign licenses to Dedicated Hosts

(Until version end of support, or an upgrade to a version of software made available on or after October 1, 2019.) †

Not permitted. *

Select ‘License Included’ offerings.

Permitted via ‘Azure Hybrid Benefit’ –

Assign licenses to ‘physical cores made available to you’ for Datacenter Edition, or Individual VMs for Datacenter and Standard Edition.

BYOL for SQL Server, and MS Application Servers. ‡ Assign licenses to Dedicated Hosts

(Until version end of support, or an upgrade to a version of software made available on or after October 1, 2019.) †

Permitted, but now requires active Software Assurance (SA).

 

BYOL for Office Professional Plus Assign licenses to Dedicated Hosts. † Not permitted. *

Select ‘License Included’ offerings.

BYOL for Windows Enterprise (Desktop OS) Permitted with Windows Enterprise SA and Windows Enterprise E3/E5 User Subscription Licenses (USLs) † Not Permitted. *§

Option to purchase VDA E3/E5 USLs at renewal.

 

Unlimited Virtualization Rights Unlimited VMs permitted with Windows Server Datacenter and eligible SQL Server Enterprise licenses when assigned to all physical cores on dedicated host. Not permitted. * Permitted with ‘Azure Hybrid Benefit’ –

Assign licenses to ‘physical cores made available to you’

Windows Server CAL Requirement Required. Select ‘License Included’ offerings. Not Required with ‘Azure Hybrid Benefit’.
Visual Studio MSDN Permitted. † Not permitted. Not permitted.

[Reference: Please refer to the published Microsoft FAQs documentation and the Microsoft Product Terms. The Microsoft Product Terms, August 2019, have been updated for Azure Dedicated Host]

  • * Please refer to your Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA), and other binding Volume Agreement contract documentation, and Microsoft Product Terms, as applicable.
  • †If you are using software under subscription licenses you are bound to the new terms on the earlier of renewal of your subscription or an upgrade to a version of software made available on or after October 1, 2019.
  • ‡ This includes, but is not limited to: SharePoint Server, Exchange Server, and Skype for Business Server. Please refer to MS application server products that are ‘License Mobility’ eligible in the Microsoft Product Terms for all impacted products.
  • §Microsoft provide a limited ‘grace period’ exception for customers renewing Windows Enterprise SA, or USLs, between October 1, 2019 and October 1, 2020 to move their Windows Enterprise workloads off the “Listed Providers’” dedicated offerings by October 1, 2020.

Recommendations

SoftwareONE is offering two distinct solutions to help guide you through this announcement:

Use our Microsoft Advisory Services (MAS) to stay on your existing cloud provider or understand options with Azure. Ensure you have a strategy and understand the commercial impact ready for the upcoming changes beginning October 1, 2019.

I have written a Licensing Guide for Google Cloud Platform (GCP), sponsored by Google – it is published on theGoogle’s website

References

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 , Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn

Copyright – Softspend Limited 2019. All Rights Reserved.

Microsoft Update July 2019

Some of the principle licensing updates for July 2019 :

  • Microsoft announced that Skype for Business Online will be retired on July 31, 2021, and after that date the service will no longer be accessible. Between now and then, current Skype for Business Online customers will experience no change in service, and they’ll be able to continue to add new users as needed. However, starting September 1, 2019, MS will onboard all new Office 365 customers directly to Teams for chat, meetings, and calling. Please note that the Skype Consumer service and Skype for Business Server will both be unaffected by this announcement.
  • What does this announcement mean for you?
  • Current Skype for Business Online customers will experience no change in service through July 31, 2021. After that, customers will no longer be able to access the Skype for Business Online service.
  • Skype for Business Online customers and those with Hybrid (online and on-premises) configurations will have until July 31, 2021, to transition to Microsoft Teams. We encourage partners to continue customer dialogue to start their upgrade planning and execution.
  • •Support for the integration of third-party party Audio Conferencing Providers (ACP) into Skype for Business Online has been extended to July 31, 2021, with limited support for remaining active tenants to allow additional time for transition. This is an update in the ACP timeline that was originally announced April 2018.
  • Ref: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Microsoft-Teams-Blog/Skype-for-Business-Online-to-Be-Retired-in-2021/ba-p/777833
  • Effective July 1, 2019, Stream Plan 1 standalone offers will no longer be purchasable for new customers
  • From July 1, 2019, Stream Plan 1 standalone offers will no longer be sold to new customers, as Microsoft streamlines the Stream Plan 1 and Plan 2 offerings. Microsoft is rebranding the Stream Plan 2 offers to “Microsoft Stream” which will continue to have all the existing Plan 2 functionality. Customers who have already purchased Plan 1 will have access to the service through the end of their contract.
  • Run Office365 ProPlus on Windows Server 2019.
  • With the release of Windows Server 2019 Microsoft announced that they won’t support Office365 ProPlus.
  • This will change and Microsoft will support Office365 ProPlus on Windows Server2019.
  • Microsoft know some customers rely on Windows Server to provide virtual desktop services for your users. For those still needing to migrate from Windows Server 2008/R2 before it reaches end of support in January 2020, or from Windows Server 2012/R2 before the October 2020 end of support for connectivity to Office 365 data, Microsoft will support Office 365 ProPlus running on Windows Server 2019.
  • This enables customers to take advantage of the Files On-Demand capabilities coming to Windows Server 2019, and to leverage the latest Windows Server platform.
  • https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2019/07/01/improving-office-app-experience-virtual-environments/

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 2019. All Rights Reserved.

Microsoft Update June 2019

Some of the principle licensing updates for June 2019

  • The Office Professional Plus Home Use Program offering for Software Assurance has been retired.
  • Starting July 9th, the Teams client will be added to existing installations on the Office365 ProPlus Monthly Channel, and as a modern online service, Teams will continue to auto-update on a regular cadence – here
  • Microsoft Teams now supports group chat for 100 users – here
  • In a U-turn, Microsoft will allow Office 365 ProPlus on Windows Server 2019 rather than nudge customers towards Multi-Session or VDI on Windows Virtual Desktophere
  • Resource – a good video series on how Office365 handles incident management, access control, audit and logging – here
  • Resource – a overview of Windows Defender E5 ATP – here
  • Resource – SharePoint Online Limits by Plan – here
  • Power BI: “One important difference with the Viewer role is how licensing is enforced.“ If the workspace is in Premium capacity, free users can browse the content without a pro license. If it’s not in Premium, they will still need a Pro license. – here
  • General Availability of Azure premium files aimed high performance, low latency, IO-intensive workloads (not a general file share in the cloud, access control is key) – here
  • Microsoft release OneDrive Personal Vault for consumers adds enforced MFA and encryption at rest, transit and AI for behavior analytics for suspicious behavior monitoring, ransomware protection, mass deletions. Expands to 2TB with incremental storage options – here
  • Resource – updated list of Microsoft online subscription plans – here
  • Resource – 3rd party licensing guide for PowerApps and Flow here
  • Resource – FAQs for Azure Info Protection Licensing here
  • Visual Studio 2019 updated list of software by subscription level (Excel Download) – here
  • SharePoint Online – “When you use eDiscovery features, the licensing requirement for a plan that permits that feature applies to all end users that are part of the eDiscovery action (Search, Hold, Export).” – here
  • Resource – Office 365 Groups Infographic – here
  • Resource – Approach for Office 365 ProPlus activation when device changes user or tenant – here
  • Effective July 1, 2019, Microsoft Forms Pro will be generally available (GA) to Dynamics 365 and Office 365 customers.
  • Forms Pro will be included with Dynamics 365, and will be available as a paid capacity-based add-on for Office 365 commercial and EDU customers. (Some information on how to purchase Microsoft Forms Pro – here )
  • There is a 4th Update to the Dynamics Licensing Guide for June 2019 – here
  • Effective July 1, 2019, Dynamics 365 for Customer Service Chat will be generally available to Dynamics 365 for Customer Service Enterprise customers.
  • Use of historical Supervisor reporting through Omnichannel Intraday Insights, Omnichannel Chat Insights and Omnichannel Sentiment Insights Dashboards requires Power BI Pro license or higher.
  • Empowerment expanded to add additional tenants – Self-Serve Option: Use Multiple M131 Amendment forms or work with Microsoft CEP
  • Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) Basic standalone SKU.
    • What is changing? Starting July 1, 2019, new customers will no longer be able to purchase Azure AD Basic. In addition, any Open License customers currently licensing Azure AD Basic will no longer be able to renew Azure AD Basic or add more Azure AD Basic licenses.
    • Why is this changing? Azure AD Basic was originally designed for task / Firstline workers – this SKU provides a subset of the functionality of Azure AD Premium. This SKU has been superseded by the Azure AD Premium Kiosk SKUs, Enterprise Mobility + Security Kiosk SKUs and Microsoft 365 F1 SKU. All SKUs provide the security and productivity functionality that Azure AD Premium provides at a cost-effective price for task / Firstline workers. Following the release of these SKUs, very few customers purchased Azure AD Basic, favoring the Kiosk and Firstline worker SKUs.
    • What is not changing? All customers except Open License customers who are currently using Azure AD Basic can continue use to the service, renew and/or add/remove users like they can today. Open License customers who are currently using Azure AD Basic can continue to use the service until their license expiration.
    • What happens next? Starting July 1, 2019:
    • Azure AD Basic will not be available to purchase for new customers. Azure AD Basic will be removed from pricelists and all Azure AD Basic messaging will be removed from websites and collateral. Customers can purchase Azure AD services through Azure AD Premium P1/P2, Enterprise Mobility + Security E3/E5 and M365 E3/E5 SKUs; task / Firstline workers should be licensed using the corresponding Kiosk and Firstline F1 SKUs.
    • For existing customers who are currently using Azure AD Basic: they can continue using the services, and all can also renew in the future except Open License customers.
    • All purchase mechanisms including the ability to purchase licenses through the Office portal or Azure portal will be disabled.
  • Data Retention for E1 and F1
    • When applying or making available data retention policies to their users, customers must license the person setting the policies in Security & Compliance Center or Exchange Admin Center and the end users to which the policies apply or are made available
    • For F1/E1 users, these can include manual retention policies across workloads (including Preservation Hold Library in SharePoint Online). This means that F1/E1 users can manually apply retention tags and labels that are made available to them to their content.
    • The following retention capabilities are not included for F1/E1 users:
      • Automatic retention
      • Litigation Hold
      • In-Place Hold
      • eDiscovery Hold
      • Public-facing documentation on docs.microsoft.com–including the Service Descriptions for Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Security & Compliance Center–will be updated to accurately reflect this policy.
      • One recommended work-around is Exchange Online Archiving
  • Updated Dynamics 365 Licensing Deck
    • What’s New! Dynamics 365 Call Intelligence – new capacity
    • Please find the updated deck: Partner
    • Please find the updated guide: Partner

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 2019. All Rights Reserved.

EA Qualified User Definition – Microsoft EA Renewal

If your organization is delivering services to external users, you should assess whether the users should be licensed from Microsoft under your Enterprise Agreement (EA).

In the order of precedence, you should first look at the Enterprise Agreement, as this will govern how licenses under the Enterprise Agreement may be assigned. The EA ‘Agreement’ (2018) document states that EA licenses can be assigned to users or devices “within the Enterprise“. Accordingly, If the users or devices are not “within the Enterprise”, one could argue they need to be licensed under another agreement, or you should determine the service description and delivery topology meet the requirements for SPLA.

Microsoft do not explicitly define “within the Enterprise”, the ‘Enterprise’ is defined by the affiliates declaration in the Enterprise Enrollment. Normally, a business will select “all and future affiliates” to incorporate planned acquisitions. Microsoft would normally classify an enrolled affiliate as an organization that is more than 50% owned, however, there are exceptions where a ‘participation amendment’ has been signed to expand on this minimum ownership requirement, for example, to support partnerships in the legal sector or insurance market.

If the users could be characterized as “within the Enterprise”, you should confirm by assessing whether the users meet the criteria of ‘qualified user‘ under the EA ‘Enrollment’, specifically users working from a ‘qualified device‘, and that device is “used by or for the benefit of the enrolled’ affiliates enterprise” [Ref: Microsoft Enterprise Agreement Enrollment, February 2018]

Microsoft expand on the ‘qualified user’ beyond employees alone, to a “person, (e.g. employee, consultant, contingent staff)” [Ref: Microsoft Enterprise Agreement Enrollment, February 2018] , with the criteria for the end-users to be considered ‘qualified users’ for licensing under the EA, as follows:

Read moreEA Qualified User Definition – Microsoft EA Renewal

Licensing Apple Macbooks under Microsoft 365

Microsoft Volume Agreements do not offer licenses for the full Windows Desktop OS. This is an ‘upgrade license’ and requires the associated device to be already licensed with an ‘Qualifying Operating System’. Accordingly, this can impact how Apple Macs are licensed for your organization under a Microsoft 365 subscription model.

The ‘qualifying’ desktop OS is purchased pre-installed through an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), or System Builder, as a retail packaged product. This is commonly available as ‘Pro Edition’ as an OEM license.

Windows Pro OEM licenses alone do not confer virtualization rights to run Windows Desktop OS remotely.

An ‘upgrade license’, or a ‘full’ VDA subscription license must be purchased via a Volume Agreement with active Software Assurance to enable access remotely from your own data center, or to bring your licenses to a third-party dedicated host.

Accordingly, to support users with MacOS devices, the correct licensing model for Windows Desktop OS must be selected, this article will provide guidance on the appropriate licensing model to support your Apple Macs.

Read moreLicensing Apple Macbooks under Microsoft 365

Microsoft Update May 2019

Some of the principle licensing updates for May 2019 –

  • Microsoft U-Turn (Again) on Dual Use Rights for Microsoft 365 From SA – here
  • Microsoft move to digital Product Terms and OST https://www.microsoft.com/licensing/terms/productoffering with EoL of old documents September 1st
  • RedHat and Suse Linux available with Azure Reserved Instances from May 1st on 1 Year Plans and 1-4 vCores or 5 vCores+ options
  • Microsoft announce Microsoft Customer Agreement (MCA) in CSP from October 1st (later deferred to November 2019)
  • Microsoft Partner Agreement for CSP in preview from July 1st and available for acceptance from September 1st, and mandated by January 31st 2020
  • 25% Discount for Dynamics Sales Professional offer in CSP (May 1st to October 1st) Limited Geos.
  • Microsoft update the Dynamics 365 Licensing Guide for May 2019 (3rd release this year) https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=866544&clcid=0x409
  • Dynamics365 For Customer Service Insights, and a 4th Dynamics licensing deck https://www.yammer.com/softwareone.com/#/files/56488329216
  • Dynamics 365 for Customer Service Insights in May 2019 Product Terms, and OST
  • Grandfathering rights for Dynamics 365 Team Members SAL in the May 2019 SPUR
  • Forms Pro in Preview for Office365 and Dynamics 365 – July 1st GA
  • Dynamics365 for Customer Service Chat – July 1st GA
  • Office 365 Multi Geo Minimum Commit of 500 users, reduced from 2,500
  • New Information Barriers (Preview) and Advanced Message Encryption, coming to Office 365 Advanced Compliance and Compliance E5
  • DLP in Microsoft Teams Channels and Chats, via Advanced Compliance SKU
  • Kaizala acquisition in Microsoft Teams (rolling out from May 1st) and integrated over 12-18 months
  • Microsoft quietly removes Project Online from “Location of Customer Data at Rest” Section of OST
  • Audio Conferencing free dial-out to Zone A countries will be extended through November 30, 2019.
  • StorSimple End of Support Announcement in December 2022
    • Microsoft has been expanding the portfolio of Azure Hybrid storage capabilities with new services for data tiering and cloud ingestion, providing more options to our customers for storing data in Azure in native format. These include Azure File Sync or Azure Data Box Edge/Gateway.
    • Starting May 1st, 2019 StorSimple 8000 and 1200 will move to lead status SKU.  This will also help by engaging Microsoft resources on StorSimple renewals, so we can discuss the End of Support date with customers and help them understand options and new solutions.
    • New customers who are looking for a hybrid storage solution have more than one option based on the scenario. Depending on their workload, they can choose AFS or Data Box Edge/Gateway.
    • If neither of those meet the requirements, StorSimple 8000 or 1200 are still valid solutions but the customer needs to be made aware that they will have to migrate to another solution by Dec 2022. As we get closer to the EoS dates for 8000 and 1200 (Dec 2022), customers will be provided tools for migrating away from StorSimple.
    • For existing StorSimple customers, ensure you have the End of Support discussion either at EA anniversary date or renewal.  While the End of Support is 3.5 years away, we should proactively work with customers on their options and migration plans/timelines.

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 2019. All Rights Reserved.

SPLA versus Volume Licensing

Overview

This topic continues to arise for companies that are seeking to decide between adopting volume licensing or SPLA (Service Provider Licensing Agreement) for delivering services to third parties.

The requirement for use of SPLA is often assessed based on determination of the customer as a ‘service provider’ and provision of a ‘service’, and that does not meet the eligibility criteria for Volume Licensing, based on the specifics of the service description, and service architecture topology.

For example, the ‘self hosted’ exception covered in this article, available under volume licensing,  enables a company to use licenses purchased under their own volume agreement and use them with their own intellectual property application, hosted as part of a service to a third-party, rather than the normal requirement to purchase licenses for services via SPLA.

The rationale for careful assessment purchasing via SPLA or Volume Licensing is not only to enable compliance with software licensing, but also to enable cost reduction, as many business  look to assess alternatives to SPLA as prices were increased in January 2018 and January 2019, and Microsoft look to incentivise adoption of the Azure cloud platform. This article will explore the licensing criteria and exceptions for use of Volume Licensing or SPLA respectively to support organizations that are attempting to navigate this particularly challenging licensing topic.

SPLA Price Increases

Effective January 1, 2018 monthly prices for the following products increased:
By 10% for Windows Remote Desktop Services SAL
By 10% for Windows Server Standard (Processor license)*
By 10% for Windows Server Datacenter (Processor license)*
By 10% for SQL Server Standard Core
By 10% for SQL Server Enterprise Core
By 10% for SQL Server Web
By 10% for SQL Server Standard SAL
By 5% for Core Infrastructure Server Suite Standard (Processor license)
By 7% for Core Infrastructure Server Suite Datacenter (Processor license)
(* Applicable to For Agreements that still have the right to report these sku’s)
Effective January 1, 2019 prices for the following products increased:
By 10% for Windows Server Standard Core
By 10% for Windows Server Datacenter Core
By 5% for Core Infrastructure Server Suite Standard Core
By 7% for Core Infrastructure Server Suite Datacenter Core
By 15% for Windows Remote Desktop Services SAL

What is a Service Provider?

The Microsoft definition of a ‘service provider’ could be categorized as a broad catch-all that can often apply SPLA almost by default, unless valid exclusion criteria apply. The requirement for use of SPLA is often determined based on determination of the customer as a ‘service provider’ and provision of a ‘software service’ that does not meet the eligibility criteria for Volume Licensing, based on the specifics of the service description, or service architecture topology.

The Microsoft Product Terms state that you as the customer:

may not (and is not licensed to) use the Products to offer commercial hosting services to third parties” under Volume Licensing.

[Ref: Microsoft Product Terms, Universal License Terms, April 2019, Page 7].

The term “commercial hosting services” is not explicitly defined in binding contract documentation, but there is supporting guidance provided in published licensing guides that are leveraged in this article.

Read moreSPLA versus Volume Licensing