Microsoft has announced that it will raise its entry threshold for Enterprise Agreement Contracts to 500 desktops from 1 July 2016. Reason enough for us to take a closer look at the Microsoft Products and Service Agreement (MPSA) as an alternative for companies with between 250 and 499 desktops.
As reported earlier, companies ranging below the newly defined threshold of 500 desktops can only conclude an Enterprise Agreement Contract until 30 June 2016. But in the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement, Microsoft already offers its customers an alternative that we would now like to present to you in a little more detail. The MPSA License Program has been around since 2014, and is used to standardize license procurement for online services and software deployed in a local environment. In doing so, it brings together a variety of procurement strategies within one volume licensing program to replace a large number of individual contracts.
The benefits of MPSA
The Microsoft Products and Service Agreement was developed in collaboration with partners and customers and is ideal for the licensing of hybrid or fully integrated cloud solutions. The agreement is not time-limited, and enables the user to buy software precisely when it is needed. There is no compulsion to select certain products. Instead, the MPSA allows users to license only the products that are actually required in the company. It goes without saying that this may include a mix of on premise and cloud products.
What’s more, the MPSA comes with the option for all associated companies – subsidiaries or affiliates, for instance – to buy their products under the same contract. Purchasing Accounts, registered under the MPSA, are used for procurements. The Purchasing Accounts can be adjusted flexibly to suit the corporate structure, which means that even divisions, departments or project groups within the company can register. The purpose here is to simplify software procurement and to obtain better transparency in respect to license purchases. The Agreement Administrator, appointed when the contract is concluded, offers a measure of control. This person defines and determines which Purchasing Accounts can be registered, rejected or cancelled.
The MPSA also introduced a new administration portal: the Microsoft Volume Licensing Center (MVLC). Users go there to obtain product keys, to download software or to order and use their own online services, among others. A reporting tool provides a clear overview of all licenses purchased within the company. It also allows quick administration and use of Software Assurance Services.
How do companies benefit from an MPSA compared to the EA?
- The MPSA contract can be adjusted flexibly to suit the company’s actual requirements, allowing you to increase or lower the number of desktops on short notice, whatever your current needs may be. An Enterprise Agreement does not permit this option, as you have to purchase licenses for all of the required desktops right at the beginning of the contract. This may be a significant factor, particularly for startups or companies experiencing rapid growth. One example: Let’s say you need 250 desktops at the start of the year, but know that this number will rise to 300 by June. You will still have to pay for the higher number right from the start of an EA contract. An MPSA keeps you flexible, and you will only have to pay for 250 desktops for the time being. You can easily add another 50 in June. That saves money!
- Unlike an Enterprise Agreement and its three-year term, an MPSA only binds you for one year. There are also no minimum requirements to conclude the contract. And if you decide to roll your one-year contract over into a two or three-year contract, the price will be tied to the rates agreed in the first year. This protects you from rising costs and provides added budget security.
- Simple access to your storage in Microsoft Azure. You will only have to pay for the cloud storage you actually need with an MPSA online services. You can use as much or as little storage as your company requires, without making any commitments. You always pay at the end of the quarter.
The MPSA is currently available in most countries. For an updated list of those countries see https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/Licensing/MPSA/FAQ-MPSA.aspx. The MPSA is not yet available in India or in the People’s Republic of China.