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By Wendy McQuiston, Director, Microsoft Professional Services, Logicalis US

In July of 2016, Microsoft announced that small- to mid-size customers with less than 500 seats would no longer be eligible to purchase a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA).  The goal was to enable newly created Microsoft Cloud Solution Providers (CSPs)  to fully service these organizations from both a product or subscription perspective as well as the support perspective that would formerly have been provided through Software Assurance Benefits in the EA.  The CSP program, however, isn’t just for small- to mid-size organizations any longer.

The traditional Microsoft EA is a licensing and services contract that requires a three-year commitment with annual “true-ups.” Companies must estimate what they need and adjust annually based on these estimates which can result in either lost money due to non-consumption or increases in costs based on the difference between the estimates and actual usage.

The EA model still works well for on-premise licensing including the Windows desktop operating system, server systems, SQL, Exchange, SharePoint, and Office products.  But for cloud products like Azure or Office 365, it may not be the most cost-efficient or flexible method of consumption. Additionally, the services piece of an EA typically includes a limited number of support hours through the Software Assurance program.  If these hours are not sufficient, you must then purchase a separate contract to obtain assistance – something the CSP program changes altogether.

The Microsoft CSP program allows providers like Logicalis to offer a pay-as-you-go, consumption-based model for Microsoft cloud products, including Office 365 and Azure, as well as the supporting managed and professional services Logicalis provides.  If, for example, you need 1,000 seats of Office 365 this month, then request a reduction in that seat count to 800 next month, your invoice will reflect the reduction accordingly.  Additionally, if you are using Azure virtual machines, storage, backup, or any other Azure services, under the CSP agreement, you will only be invoiced for what you actually use.  You won’t have to estimate – and adhere to – what your usage might be over the next three years. Logicalis’ competitive CSP pricing includes both the subscription (product pricing) and basic or full managed support based on your existing needs.

If you need on-premise licensing, you’ll need to continue purchasing via a Microsoft-direct EA or other open licensing option, but you can still purchase cloud services including Office 365 and Azure through Logicalis’ Microsoft CSP program without the three-year commitment.

Whether your business is small, midsize, or enterprise-level, you have probably already found that trying to predict your licensing and support needs as well as how quickly you will move to the cloud is a difficult – if not impossible – task, which is one of the many reasons partnering with a Microsoft CSP like Logicalis is a solid step in the right direction.

Want to learn more? Explore seven reasons CIOs should consider a CSP relationship, then find out how Logicalis US, a Microsoft Gold Partner, can help you maximize your investment in Microsoft technologies. Recognized as one of Microsoft’s “rock star partners,” Logicalis was recently called one of the top 200 Microsoft solution providers of 2017 by Redmond Channel Magazine, making it an excellent choice when you need a trusted advisor.