As previous postings have announced, Microsoft is implementing a change to its Enterprise Agreement (EA) program that raises the minimum entry requirement from 250 to 500 desktops or users. This takes effect on July 1, 2016.

The rigidity of the program structure, with its reliance on physical counts of desktops and/or users, hasn’t lent itself well to the fluidity of virtual and cloud‐based computing models. Implementation of the “EA500” change represents Microsoft’s first programmatic step to migrate a segment of its customer base to an updated licensing platform built around the relatively fresh Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA) and Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) programs.

Beginning July 1, commercial organizations in the sub‐500 space that previously would have qualified for an EA will need to decide on one of these alternative buying programs. Your CDW account manager can provide guidance based on your organization’s unique requirements. Public sector organizations – including federal, state and local government as well as educational entities – are not affected at this time.

Next-Generation Licensing

Microsoft launched MPSA almost three years ago as a pilot program, and has been adding features and functionality on a quarterly release schedule that rolls out the enhanced benefits to all active customers. Many of these features are not available under the EA, including:

  • Multi‐year options for cloud services, such as Office 365, give price protection for a one‐, two‐, or three‐year You’re guaranteed the best price available, even if you’re not covering your entire enterprise
  • Short‐term subscriptions allow you to license Microsoft products for temporary or seasonal workers in one‐month increments, so you pay only for what you need
  • An Agreement and Purchasing Account structure that lets you centralize or decentralize your purchasing requirements to your exact specifications

For customers with fewer than 500 desktops who may be immediately impacted by EA500, you can be confident that a comprehensive licensing solution is still there for you. For organizations with more than 500 desktops who may still qualify for the EA after July 1, we encourage you to consider the advanced features and updated platform of the MPSA before making your final decision. And for those of you currently under an active EA, take the same points into consideration when approaching your renewal. Whatever your circumstances, your CDW account team will work closely with you to ensure that you are moving into the next generation of Microsoft volume licensing with confidence and purpose.

We’re Here to Help

Visit CDW’s Software Licensing Center for more information and advice on Microsoft licensing solutions, or contact a CDW software licensing expert. We can help IT leaders navigate these options and find their best course, allowing them to focus more time and attention on their own business.

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