Microsoft has long offered the Enterprise Agreement (or “EA”), a three-year, three-year licensing system for organizations with 250 or more desktop computers that provides free software updates for the duration of the agreement, and an unlimited license for the software upon expiry of the agreement. In recent years, Microsoft has added an additional licensing system – the Enterprise subscription – for organizations that do not necessarily require indeterminate licenses. This agreement also has a three-year term and software updates, but includes a non-permanent license that expires at the end of the period. Renew an EA: When it`s time to renew an EA, you can reconsider your entire investment and make adjustments to ensure that the new agreement is tailored to current and future needs. Microsoft`s mission is to transfer its customers within the traditional on-premise software company to its subscription-based cloud services. Revenue from its cloud commercial offerings is growing strongly, while traditional software sales are declining and the mix is weighing on Microsoft`s ability to support a multi-faceted business. Microsoft`s success will be measured against the success of this mission, and customers will be under increased pressure to travel to the cloud or to pay for on-prime-price solutions through increased contract and price complexity. Most customers have managed the jump to 365 and are experimenting with azure. The good news is that the window of agreement for new cloud editions with Microsoft is still open.
This is not to say that the Enterprise subscription is the panacea. High-utilization companies can identify significant long-term economic benefits by walking with EA. Companies may also find that Microsoft is more willing to negotiate the definition of a qualified office or other terms in the EA, which allow for closer coordination with business requirements. In any event, in choosing between the two options, I recommend that IT decision makers consult with internal and external licensing experts to evaluate their options. When signing the agreement, the customer must define and communicate to Microsoft the number of desktop computers or qualified users as well as Microsoft Enterprise products or Enterprise Online Services.