The changes Microsoft announced last month to its enterprise licensing agreement will likely be the first of many as the company pushes customers to a new volume-licensing portal.

By increasing the number of minimum users from 250 to 500 for an enterprise license, Microsoft reduces the number of customers that qualify for the program. This is intentional as Microsoft moves toward a unified volume licensing system built around its Next Generation of Volume Licensing (NGVL) model.

Microsoft invested in NGVL to streamline volume licensing into one location. As the program builds up, customers have until July 1 to extend their current license a maximum of 36 months before fully transitioning to the new structure.

 Who is Impacted?

The majority of these changes will affect mid-sized businesses, although customers of all sizes should stay in contact with their CDW account manager for guidance throughout the transition.

For customers with fewer than 500 users, Microsoft encourages customers to get a Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA). It organizes software and online services together in one agreement, allowing customers to create their own purchasing structure.

MPSA features increased flexibility. The platform offers one- to three-year durations that will soon drop to as short as a month along with no minimums for purchasing cloud services. Companies can also purchase Microsoft Azure on a pay-as-you-go basis, allowing customers to pay only for what they immediately use.

Microsoft made this change to correspond more closely with business needs. Organizations with about 500 users cross an inflection point in terms of system complexity. The new structure divides them in a way that aims to improve service for both.

Think Ahead

While businesses have until July 1 to decide their path, CDW licensing experts recommend choosing early. This is not a decision to wait until the waning hours to make, but one that will affect your company’s operations for several months, if not years, going forward.

Businesses that go down another Microsoft avenue will want to fully vet that program before switching. Those that stay can use their early sign-up and allegiance to Microsoft as a point in future negotiations.

We’re Here to Help

Reach out to CDW’s Software Licensing Center for more personalized direction and advice on how to proceed in light of the new changes, or contact a CDW software license expert. We can help IT leaders better understand this evolving area, allowing them to maintain their focus where it should be — on their day-to-day responsibilities.