There’s a Big Change Coming to the Microsoft EA Program

What This Means for Your Essential Software Licenses

Lane Shelton

Microsoft announced that they are making a strategic change to the Enterprise Agreement (EA) program beginning on July 1, 2016. They will raise the minimum commitment for commercial customers signing new Enterprise Enrollments and Enterprise Subscription Enrollments from 250 to 500 users/devices. Existing customers approaching renewal with fewer than 500 users/devices will be able to extend their current Enrollments for 36 months, in keeping with current program rules. This is the most significant customer-program change from Microsoft since they created the direct EA in 2001. What does this change mean for you? Read on, and I’ll break it down for you.

If you have a 250–500 seat EA that renews before July 1, 2016, Microsoft will allow you to either renew your EA normally for three more years plus an additional three-year extension for a total of six years (if you choose), or you will also have the option to migrate to a Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA). We recommend a quick Microsoft Licensing Optimization (MLO) to determine the most cost-advantageous approach.

If you have have a 250–500 seat EA that renews after July 1, 2016 – provided you have not already extended your EA for 36 months already – you will have the option to extend your current EA for 36 months when it expires. You will also have the option to move to the MPSA. However, we also recommend an MLO to determine the best possible pathway for your business.

I have an EA that is more than 500 seats – how does this affect me?

It doesn’t. Microsoft has stated that “The EA continues to be our flagship Volume Licensing solution for enterprise customers with 500 or more users/devices.”

I have a Government EA that is fewer than 500 seats – will this affect me?

No. Microsoft has stated, “The minimum number of users/devices for Government EAs will remain at 250. This includes the Government Partner model as well as State and Local Government EAs in the United States.”

I have a Server/Cloud Enrollment (SCE), or I want to sign a new SCE – what happens now?

At this time, nothing. Server/Cloud Enrollment will continue in its current form.

What happens next?

If you are or will be affected by this change, we recommend a call or fill out this form to discuss your options in detail. Our signature Microsoft License Optimization process is a fast and accurate way to model the potential impacts and to explore your options until we find the best possible solution for your organization.

The Microsoft Center of Excellence at Connection is ready to help! Reach out to an Account Manager, and engage our Microsoft specialists to determine the best possible pathway for your organization.

Lane Shelton is the VP and Principal Consultant for Connection’s Microsoft Center of Excellence. He’s dedicated the last 23 years to helping clients build software investments that are strategic, successful and sustainable. When he’s not plumbing the depths of licensing arcana or creating gigantic-yet-somehow-appealing spreadsheets, Lane enjoys VR and old-school PC gaming.

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