In Microsoft’s continued efforts to consolidate agreement offerings and give customers incentives to commit to Microsoft’s product portfolio, they announced the Server & Cloud Enrollment (SCE). The announcement came back in Q4 of 2013 (you can read more in a separate blog post here), but it’s only now that many companies are facing this change head on. If you’re one of them, there are a few things to know.
The SCE combines three previously different enrollments; the Enrollment for Applications Platform (EAP), Enrollment for Core Infrastructure (ECI) and the Enrollment for Windows Azure (EWA). Each of these previous enrollments offered benefits to customers looking to make at least the minimum purchase requirement for the specific product or service – primary attributes were an additional programmatic pricing discount, along with some software assurance benefits.
The SCE continues with the theme of an additional pricing discount – however there are some different rules and requirements that may catch potential customers off-guard. The first rule is that a customer must commit to their entire product footprint, similar to the desktop commitment under the Enterprise Agreement and the Enterprise Products (Office, CAL and Windows OS). So not only do you have to meet the minimum purchase requirement, you must also now commit to purchasing and maintaining software assurance across your entire environment. The second difference is that a customer now has the choice of purchasing perpetual licenses (as they always have) or purchasing subscription licenses. Under this new subscription offering Microsoft now requires a customer to report and pay for the usage on a monthly basis instead of an annual basis such as with the standard Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EAS).
Make sure that you read through the new Microsoft contracts thoroughly. Ask for them well in advance so that you can be prepared to ask questions and make change requests best suited to your business needs. More often than not, Microsoft’s account team is solely focused on the products and services. It’s easy for discussions around terms and conditions to become a last-minute issue, and that can put a customer in a stressful and less-than-ideal position. Get help from an independent Microsoft license expert so that you can objectively analyze how a move to SCE will impact your costs, usage rights and operations; and how your software asset management practices may need to change as a result of this licensing shift. Come to the table with confidence and validation that you fully understand all aspects of the SCE agreement and how it will impact your business. Mystery equals margin for Microsoft, and cost for you – the sooner you educate yourself and analyze your options, the better.
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