Posted by Jason Kap
General Manager, Worldwide Licensing and Pricing, Microsoft
Now that we’re well into 2011 and kicking off Microsoft’s new 2012 fiscal year with the Worldwide Partner Conference, we continue to hear that for many companies, this is the year they’ve resolved to move some or all of their applications to the cloud. As the General Manager of Microsoft’s Worldwide Licensing Programs, my ‘what the cloud means to me’ story looks slightly different from my Microsoft engineering or marketing colleagues.
Yes, the cloud is a place to host software; it’s an exciting new business model for customers, partners and Microsoft; and it comes with an exciting delivery model that exposes new engineering and deployment possibilities. But from where I sit, the cloud has also opened up an entirely different conversation with customers who are evaluating, not simply if they move, but, when, how, what and who they move to the cloud.
These discussions have continued to reinforce the notion that organizations are more thoughtful than ever in business planning for technology purchases. A consistent theme across conversations regarding cloud computing is that each organization is unique with different motivations and timeframes for moving to the cloud. Customers tell me they’re ready to move, but want to transition to cloud services at their own pace; they want the flexibility to match cloud services to meet the needs of different types of users; as well as the opportunity to adjust volume and mix of online services to meet fluctuations in the workforce; and lastly they want to easily vary the number of online service users above their Enterprise Agreement (EA) commitment.
Although our customers are familiar with our software Enterprise Agreement, and appreciate the way it allows them to make technology commitments over time, it was time to evolve licensing options to address these changes in the IT landscape.
So with customer and partner feedback at the forefront of our minds, we have made a substantive evolution of the familiar EA. The new capabilities allow us to accommodate changing business models while still providing a single agreement imbued with flexible terms. When I consider the biggest benefits of the updated EA, I would have to say that these lie in the area of flexibility and are demonstrated through the ability to match workloads to different types of users, the opportunity to adjust volume and mix of online services to meet fluctuations in workforce, and the flexibility to move users between on-premises and online services as business requirements and expectations change.
Microsoft Office 365, announced in October and available now, is a great example of the EA’s new flexibility to combine online services with on-premises software.
Customers can still sign a single company-wide EA that now also allows them to license any mix of Office, SharePoint, Exchange and Lync on premises and for Office 365 cloud services and be flexible with their on-premises and online investments. The updated Enterprise Agreement also allows customers to move licenses to the cloud and back without financial penalty and provides an option to easily add incremental Office 365 users.
This is also the case for the new desktop management solution introduced in March called Windows Intune. Windows Intune is an all-in-one solution that brings together Microsoft cloud services for PC management and malware protection with a Windows 7 Enterprise upgrade subscription. In this way, with Windows Intune through the EA, customers gain the most cost effective and flexible licensing solution to manage and protect their PCs right away.
While I have used Office 365 and Windows Intune as examples here, we will be expanding our portfolio of online services offerings to include Windows Azure and others over time. Looking to the future we want to help customers and partners have confidence that Microsoft licensing empowers them to be prepared for changing business priorities.
Furthermore, one of the most compelling aspects of the EA has been the support benefits provided to help customers plan, deploy and use Microsoft technologies through the Software Assurance (SA) program. Since 2001 Software Assurance has expanded greatly to help customers boost organizational productivity, streamline deployments and get the most from their Microsoft purchases. With the customers’ IT landscape changing, SA has evolved to better support customers’ use of Microsoft technologies whether deployed on-premises, in the cloud, or in hybrid environments.
As customers consider moving to the cloud, SA delivers even more value by helping them plan for their migrations and manage their on-premises and hybrid environments through:
- License Mobility through Software Assurance: An exclusive benefit for SA customers, License Mobility through Software Assurance is the tactical vehicle which lets customers deploy certain server application licenses on-premises or in the cloud in a shared hardware environment with the ability to assign existing licenses to an authorized Service Provider. This gives customers a deployment choice between on-premises and any authorized Service Provider’s shared datacenter to help lower cloud infrastructure costs by letting the Service Provider use SA customers’ existing licenses.
There are other notable features of SA which deliver even more value by helping customers plan for their migrations and manage their on-premises and hybrid environments through:
- Planning Services enhanced with Office 365 migration guidance
- New Planning Services from STB for on-premises, cloud-based, or hybrid deployments
- Systems Center Advisor cloud service for infrastructure management
- Windows Thin PC for accessing applications residing in a public/private cloud
The bottom line?
Customers can mix and match online services alongside their on-premises applications and, end users get to enjoy the latest technology that is always up to date. IT teams gain peace of mind through the much expected security, reliability, and control provided by cloud services, while also benefiting from not needing to deploy or maintain software and hardware on-premises in the areas where they have moved to the cloud.
On a personal level, there hasn’t been a more exciting time than now in my 15 years in licensing at Microsoft. I’m invigorated by the role we, at Microsoft, can play and help your business migrate to the cloud at your own pace.
Jason Kap, Microsoft WW Licensing team
P.S.: Still have questions? I’ve listed out some resources below and you can also post questions to this blog and we will be sure to answer them!
For information about Volume Licensing offerings available in your area, find the Microsoft Volume Licensing Web site for your country/region.
- Microsoft Volume Licensing: www.microsoft.com/licensing
- Microsoft Online Services: www.microsoft.com/licensing/onlineservices
- Software Assurance: www.microsoft.com/softwareassurance
- Microsoft Financing: www.microsoft.com/licensing/how-to-buy/financing.aspx
For new customers: Contact your preferred Microsoft Reseller.
- In the United States, call (800) 426-9400, or find an authorized reseller.
- In Canada, call the Microsoft Resource Centre at (877) 568-2495.