By ProServeIT on March 26, 2019

Are We Seeing The End of Microsoft EAs?


By: Jaime McMahon, Chief Technology Officer, ProServeIT Corporation

Does your organization currently have a Microsoft EA (Enterprise Agreement)? Are you aware of the changes happening to the Enterprise Agreement program, where the minimum user/device count to qualify for an Enterprise Agreement has been raised from 250 users/devices to 500 users/devices? Does your organization fall below that new minimum threshold?

After July 1, 2019, once your organization’s renewal date comes up, you may no longer have access to your Microsoft EA, forcing you to consider alternative licensing, like Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) programs. And, before you sign any contract, we highly recommend that you take the time to talk to an expert on all your options.

If you currently have a Microsoft EA and you’re under 500 users/devices, you need to read this blog. We’ll help you understand what’s changing and what your options are.


What’s Changing with the Microsoft EAs

Back in July 2016, Microsoft made an announcement that they were going to raise their EA minimum user/device count from 250 to 500. However, for those customers with a Microsoft EA in place that fell below this new minimum user/device count, Microsoft offered those customers the chance to renew their Enterprise Agreement for a further 36 months.

July 1, 2019 will mark the end of this 36-month extension for some companies, with others being shortly behind (depending on when they renewed their previous Enterprise Agreement). Anyone who is under the minimum 500 user/device count will, sooner or later, need to find alternative licensing options, as they will no longer qualify for their Enterprise Agreement.

So, if you’re currently sitting at less than 500 seats and don’t feel like overbuying to make the minimum threshold, you’re going to have to consider your options.


What are the Alternatives to a Microsoft EA?

Enterprise Agreements are beneficial to organizations, because they offer predictable pricing across their three-year duration, and provide support, deployment, and training benefits to those who sign them. However, a Microsoft EA aren’t the be-all-and-end-all of licensing solutions, and, in some ways, they can be seen as antiquated and outdated sales tactics from 15 to 20 years ago – that is, forcing people to over-purchase because there is no option to decrease the number of licenses you have once you’ve signed the agreement.

There are alternatives to a Microsoft EA, and at ProServeIT, we’re all about Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) programs.


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CSP Programs: A Solid Microsoft EA Alternative

The reality is, it’s impossible to predict what you’re going to be doing three years from today. But a Microsoft EA is basically forcing you to do this – their 3-year commitment is forcing you to tell them what your organization is going to look like in three years’ time. Any best practice on change management is going to tell you that you need to go after the low hanging fruit first, and celebrate your wins. But when you lock into a 3-year Microsoft EA, you’re expected to just jump to the end of your journey.

Working with a Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) program, on the other hand, allows you flexibility and choice. Rather than a 3-year agreement, CSP licensing is only a monthly commitment – you can change your licensing as needed and add or subtract people without penalty whenever you want.

This is beneficial for organizations that have a lot of seasonal staff, organizations that might be in markets that aren’t as stable, or organizations that prefer to add services over time, as opposed to being forced to purchase in bulk everything they need. It’s also very beneficial for those organizations who are first moving to the Cloud – perhaps they’re moving to Office 365, and they’re only starting out with email, for instance.

If your organization is fully Cloud-based already, CSP is a great choice. Using a CSP makes it much easier to purchase and “return” licenses on an as-needed basis. Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

🔑 Do you have seasonal workers that require licenses?

🪴 Is your organization going through a major growth period?

📈 Are you in a period of fluctuation at this time?

Your CSP can work with your unique situations to be able to make sure you have the technology you need, when you need it.

When you work with a Cloud Solutions Provider, like ProServeIT, that provider will help you understand your options and help you determine what’s best for your business. At ProServeIT, we make sure that you buy only what you need, when you need it, and, more importantly, we also ensure that you’re using what you buy. And if you no longer need something, we help you to get rid of it.


Talk to ProServeIT Before Signing That Contract!

In some cases, a Microsoft EA can be unavoidable. If your organization isn’t fully on the Cloud already, it’s quite possible you might be stuck signing an EA to get what you need for your organization.

But, before you sign that contract, we highly recommend that you take the time to talk to an expert on all your options. And we’re happy to help. In fact, we’ve been helping our clients eliminate their IT debt (like paying for an Enterprise Agreement they don’t need!) for over 15 years.

Our experienced team is capable of guiding you through your options, based on your current and future needs, and giving you our best recommendations on what an alternative might look like for your particular situation. Talk to us today to get started!


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Published by ProServeIT March 26, 2019