Microsoft has recently announced a new way for businesses to purchase their software licenses. Please give a warm welcome to our guest of the day: the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA)! Not all the mystery surrounding this new license program has become clear yet, but here is my initial analysis of the situation…
Microsoft is highlighting three key features of this new licensing program:
- “An improved and simplified agreement structure …”
- “More flexible purchasing with the ability to purchase on-premises software and Online Services on one agreement …”
- “New and improved systems and tools for managing your Microsoft assets.”
Apparently there is no minimum to sign up for the new MPSA but it seems to me that Microsoft intends for this to eventually replace the Select Plus and Enterpriselicensing programs. So this will be targeted at customers with 250 desktop or more. Currently it is unclear if or how this will affect smaller clients who currently use the Open Business or Open Value programs.
It is also unclear whether or not Mirazon and other Value Added Resellers (VARs) will be able to sell products through this new program. Currently you need to be a Large Account Reseller (LAR) to be able to sell Select Plus or Enterprise agreements. Mirazon has partnered with SoftwareONE to help us when our clients need one of these large account agreements.
What is clear is that this new licensing program will be similar to the way Select Plus and Enterprise agreements currently work. There will be one overarching licensing contract (the MPSA) and then entities within the organization (Purchasing Accounts) can make purchases under that contract. You get discounts based on how much your organization as a whole is purchasing. I give Microsoft credit that they have simplified a number of things, but the model is very similar to what they are currently doing with their Select Plus and Enterprise customers. So Microsoft calls it an “end-to-end transformation” but I would call it a “modification.”
The biggest change is that they are consolidating cloud subscription services (such as Office 365) and traditional licensing purchases under one contract. This will simplify things as we move into the brave new world of cloud computing where more and more companies will be moving to hybrid solutions of on-premise software and off-premise cloud services.
Another big change is that they are allowing the customer to define the Purchasing Accounts for their company: you can divide it by divisions, departments, locations, individuals — pretty much any way you want to slice it. One other big change is they are providing a new licensing portal for customers who use this new program. This portal consolidates your traditional licensing and your online subscriptions in one place. The new portal is called the Microsoft Volume Licensing Center (MVLC) and is not to be confused with the current Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center(VLSC). But really, when has Microsoft licensing ever been confusing?
Here is a screenshot of the MVLC that Microsoft has provided:
In the end, I don’t think much is going to change for most of our customer base… at least not for a while. If you are a small to medium business that has less than 250 employees, then you will still be buying either Open Business or Open Value licenses, and I haven’t heard anything yet that tells me that Microsoft is phasing out those licensing programs. But, if you have over 250 employees, the new Microsoft Products and Services Agreement is definitely worth a look. This is the future of Microsoft licensing if you are a medium or large organization.
You can learn more about this new program here.
Microsoft has a couple of helpful videos posted here.
Mirazon is here to help you with any of your Microsoft licensing needs. Just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 502-240-0404.