Tell me if this sounds familiar…  You embark on the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) and you sit down to review your renewal options on your Microsoft Enterprise Agreement.   A cursory glance at the pricing models will tell you that Software Assurance (SA) on Office is one of the largest dollar line items on the agreement.   A discussion quickly breaks out among your team as you debate the value proposition of maintaining SA on Microsoft Office.   Lets closely examine the SA benefits, renewal options and a potentially creative solution.

So what does Software Assurance on Office Professional provide to your organization?

BenefitDetails
New Version RightsRights to new versions of Office as they are released.
Planning ServicesAssistance from Microsoft or Microsoft Partners to help plan deployments to the latest version of Office (Cloud or on premises).
Technical and End-User TrainingOnline or classroom training for end-users or IT Professionals.
Home Use ProgramAllows end-users to purchase a heavily discounted copy of the latest version of Office for use on a home computer.
24 x 7 Problem Resolution SupportTelephone technical support.
Extended Hotfix SupportNon-security product fixes on a per customer incident basis.
Multi-Language PackDeploy a single Office image with 40 user interface languages.
Office Roaming Use RightsAllows end user to access their Office software on their virtual desktops from third party devices.
Spread PaymentsSplit payments over the term of the EA.
Step-up LicensingMigrate from a lower level edition to a higher-level edition such as Office Standard to Office Professional.

 In our experience, the SA benefit that sparks the most strenuous debate is New Version Rights.  A client coming up to a renewal owns the rights organization wide to the most current version of Office Professional which is great!  The challenge is that most organizations have deployed/standardized on previous versions and do not plan to move forward to new versions for at least a few years.   In this case, the organization also already owns the perpetual rights to the most current version of Office released (regardless of whether they have deployed it or not).   At first glance it would appear that the answer is to cancel SA on Office and move forward but unfortunately its not that simple. 

You’ll usually next be presented with models showing that if you do not renew SA you will have to rebuy the underlying License (L) in order to put SA back on your licenses in the future.   Basically you can only renew SA on licenses that have active SA on them.   After a break from SA you would have to purchase the license and SA all over again.   In general, these models will typically show that you will need to take a 4+ year break from SA in order to justify the financial value of the break and this is correct under the traditional EA program.

We think that we can all agree that costs aside, maintaining SA on Office is desirable due to the security and peace of mind that it provides.  The problem is that the cost is significant.

An alternative model is to take a break from SA for a period of time and then re-enter into SA coverage under the Office Professional Plus User Based Subscription licensing model.  While you do forfeit perpetual licensing rights, it allows you to re-enter at SA pricing without having to rebuy the underlying license again.   Furthermore, because it is a subscription model you only purchase what you need and when you need it. 

For example, a organization with 2000 qualified devices that renews their SA under a traditional EA would look something like this: 

Product

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year4

Year 5

Year 6

Year 7

Office Professional SA

$240,000

$240,000

$240,000

$240,000

$240,000

$240,000

$240,000

Total cost over 7 years: $1,680,000

If this same organization took a 4-year break from SA, the model would look like this as they re-enter with License and Software Assurance (L&SA) in year 4.  In this case, the organization would save money in years 1-4 but then be faced with rebuying the license entitlement as well as the SA.

Product

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year4

Year 5

Year 6

Year 7

Office Professional L&SA

$430,000

$430,000

$430,000

 Total cost over 7 years: $1,290,000

Now we want to show you what it would look like if the same organization takes a 4-year break and re-enters under the Office Professional Plus User Based Subscription licensing model.  We will also make the assumption that they will roll out the latest version of Office to 1/3 of the organization per year starting in year 5. 

Product

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year4

Year 5

Year 6

Year 7

Office Professional User Based

$87,246

Quantity 666

$174,492

Quantity 1332

262,000

Quantity 2000

Total cost over 7 Years: $523,738

In this last model the organization re-enters at basically the SA renewal price and then matches their purchases to actually deployments.   This means that they save hard dollars in years 1-6 compared to the traditional EA model.

Please note that every customer has different needs and requirements and one size does not fit all from a licensing perspective. 

Contact MetrixData360 at info@metrixdata360.com or call us at 1-888-978-5129 ext. 703 to speak with an expert today! 

***All pricing examples are taken from publicly available sources and may be subject to change without notice***

 

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