By Richard Smith
General Manager, Microsoft World Wide Licensing & Pricing (WWLP)
In past updates (November and March) I shared how we’re transforming volume licensing, making it easier for customers to buy online services and software in a single foundational agreement called the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA). Today at the Worldwide Partner Conference, I announced another major milestone: Software Assurance with simplified benefits management will be available through the MPSA beginning September 1.
The MPSA will offer the same familiar Software Assurance benefits, including the latest product versions, planning services, training, and 24x7 support. We’ve made it far easier for customers and partners to understand, manage, and use. The calculation of benefits is significantly simplified to a consistent points-based system across benefit types. The new portal provides a clear view on one screen of what benefits are available, how many have been consumed, and with which licenses they are associated. Finally, we have eliminated benefit activation as part of a 70% reduction in process steps. These and other improvements make it easier for customers and partners to get more out of Software Assurance through the MPSA.
[Screen shot of Software Assurance benefits summary]
Licensing Solution Partners (LSPs) have been instrumental throughout this initiative. They helped co-design the MPSA and its modernized tools, providing input to ensure LSPs can efficiently serve customers. One of the key partners in this co-design effort is Insight. Their experience of the MPSA was highlighted in a CRN article recently, Microsoft Pitching New Volume Licensing Program As Customers' On-Ramp To The Cloud in which Caroline Hinton, Insight’s VP of Product Management/Strategic Partnerships positioned the MPSA as “a better way for its customers to buy licensing from Microsoft. Insight's clients typically have numerous lines of business, and the MPSA lets them take advantage of volume discounts across their organization…With the shift to hybrid environments with cloud and on-premise, the MPSA is a great bridge for that."
As a result of collaborative design, other partners like Softcat have experienced rapid success with the new system. They are particularly happy with how easy it is to sell Office 365 through the MPSA. The consolidated ordering and billing of software and online services through partners, plus the five clicks for customers to self-provision and use Office 365 are clear benefits.
“Our first MPSA customer wanted to use online services. MPSA was absolutely the best model for them. The customer was happy, the turnaround was great, the services were switched on and working with no lag at all. It gives us confidence in the process, the tools, the agreement itself …so we’re excited about that at Softcat. I think Microsoft is getting it right. This model works.” - Jon Foulkes, Licensing Specialist, Softcat
The MPSA is now available in the US and 12 other countries. Geographic expansion continues, adding availability throughout Europe and Australia this fall, and worldwide by summer 2015.
With positive customer and partner feedback, we are taking the next step to simplify licensing with the phased retirement of Select Plus for commercial customers over the next three years. We shared details during a session at WPC, however if you were unable to attend, see this blog post for more details.