Office 365 Licensing and You

Upgrading Doesn’t Have to Be an Ordeal

Dan Ortiz

Over the past year Microsoft has been working with their customers to adopt the Office 365 brand. The first thing that customers contend with is determining whether or not the move makes sense and which of the many plans available would provide the most value to their company. This is no easy task as there are multiple points of consideration that should not be overlooked. But assisting our customers is one of the things Connection does best. And we’re here to guide you through this change by finding new ways to approach this paradigm shift.

Will this change the way that we purchase our software?

Yes, you will likely have some workflow augmentations as a result of adopting the Office 365 model. You will now reserve or self-provision your users as they come on board. This is different for Enterprise Agreement (EA) customers that are used to counting up the devices allocated to their users and truing up at the designated window. All of your reservations with Office 365 are tallied up throughout the year, which can really simplify the true-up process for user-based agreements. All of the work takes place as the year progresses. Subscription reservations and other software titles are still reconciled during the true-up window. The records, however, have been maintained throughout the year through the reservation process.

Will our accounting procedures need to be augmented?

Software licensing has been capitalized from an accounting perspective and the Office 365 family of subscriptions can be operationalized. This is very well received by most customers from an accounting perspective and is a change to consider as well.

How will this affect our installation methodology?

There are some changes here, but once you know the options, there will likely be very little big change. You can still image your machines with Office Pro Plus 365 should you adopt the E3 Plan or greater, which offers local install rights for the Office applications. This also provides more flexibility as each user is able to install Office Pro Plus 365 up to 15 times. The 15 installs are five PCs or Macs, five tablets, and five smart phones. Your end users will not have a lack of access to the Office applications as Web-based access is also part of the plan. There is a different package used for Office Pro Plus 365 as opposed to the traditional Office Pro Plus package downloaded from the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC). This package can be downloaded and added to an image or offered as a shared install for those shared devices. It can also be installed through the Office 365 Portal directly by the user to which you have assigned a subscription.

We are still on Office Pro Plus 2010 and are unsure if this is the right solution for our company.

We have a methodical approach with our Software Practice to assess your readiness. We’ll work with you to identify applications that are tied to earlier versions of the Office suite as well as assist in the migratory steps to adopt Office 365 – should it be a good match for your company. Office 365 E3 Plan or greater – where you receive local install rights of the Office Pro Plus 365 applications – requires you to be on the latest version of Office within one year of its release.

Can we still use our perpetual based licenses while we assess our readiness?

Absolutely! You will need to take into consideration your current entitlements with regards to growth. The adoption of Office 365 under an EA requires all of your users to be subscribers of the plan on the agreement, unless it is an online services only EA. That means that you have only adopted the Office 365 plan, and you have not added a CAL Bridge or the Windows Enterprise client operating system.

Let’s look at an example:

Your company has Office 365 E3 Plan, Core CAL Bridge per user, and Windows Enterprise Upgrade Pack per user. You have renewed into this agreement and the previous agreement was all device-based perpetual licensing. Any growth under the new agreement will require new subscriptions, which does not provide perpetual-based licenses. The new users will need to use Office Pro Plus 365 applications as there will not be entitlement to the perpetual base that may still be used with the licensed devices prior to renewal.

Will we receive assistance for the move to offset the costs?

Microsoft’s FastTrack program is in place to aid you with this, as long as it’s used within a year of adoption of the Office 365 platform. This is a fantastic benefit for customers to utilize. Connection, or any certified partner of choice, is able to leverage the funds to identify workloads to be migrated to Office 365 as well as perform the migration. Please visit their page for more details.

Any adoption of new technology has its woes. Connection has the Microsoft Practice Team to assist you through the full lifecycle of this move. We are here as your partner in licensing decisions, compliance risk mitigation, migration, and on-going management of your licensing agreements. Please do not hesitate to reach out to an Account Manager to ask about our Microsoft Licensing Optimization method of ensuring that any change in your investment with Microsoft passes our test. Check out this video for more details. If you do not yet do business with Connection, then this may be the beginning of a long-term relationship, as we want your business for life.