What are the advantages of a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA)?

Microsoft Enterprise Agreement has an entry-level or qualifying number from 250 workstations (government) or 500 workstations (commercial).

Using the agreement requires reordering per year (during mandatory reporting). There are also rights to updates and all products come with Software Assurance (SA), which entitles you to use the latest versions available during its release during the contract period.

What are the technical support involved in Enterprise Agreement?

All on-premises products and Cloud services are delivered including SA, which entitles you to web / telephone support, among other things. The type of support depends on the products included in the Enterprise Agreement.

Additional Support in your Enterprise Agreement

Microsoft is always happy to sell you more products and services. Next to the SA benefits, they have additional support which you can add in your Enterprise Agreement.

This additional support is the Microsoft Unified Support service that you can add in your EA. It is a technical support service that you can sign up for. The price you pay for unified support depends on the total deal of your contract. And yes, you can negotiate the price too. Note, this is additional. You can always go for an external support contract from a 3rd party.

Microsoft Unified Support in EA. What is it?

As we said, Microsoft is always happy to sell more benefits and support. But what is Microsoft unified support exactly?

Microsoft Unified Support is a comprehensive support offering that provides organizations with proactive and cost-effective assistance for the entire suite of Microsoft products and services. Through the EA, customers gain access to a broad range of tools and resources that enable them to enhance their IT infrastructure and maximize their return on investment. Microsoft Unified Support offers customers a single point of contact for critical problem resolution across multiple technology platforms, reducing service costs while maximizing system uptime.

Where do I download the EA software? 

The software can be downloaded from the Microsoft Volume Licensing Site with a duration agreement of 3 years.

Who are the target audience for the EA?

The Microsoft Enterprise Agreement is intended for medium to large companies with central decision-making, who want to report annually and purchase licenses with Software Assurance. An Enterprise Agreement is a purchase agreement, whereby the software is paid off for 3 years and an annual amount is paid for Software Assurance.

After three years, the license is paid off and the Software Assurance can be extended optionally. This makes the agreement even more attractive for customers who want to keep costs low in the longer term and who would like to take software investments as Capital Expenditure (CAPEX).

What are the other products in the EA?

An Enterprise Agreement is based on standardization. There are two enrollments on which an Enterprise Agreement can be concluded; the Enterprise Enrollment and the Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE).

What are the constitutes of the Enterprise Enrollment?

The basis of the Enterprise Enrollment has the traditional platform with on-premises licenses and a Cloud platform.

Enterprise Enrollment through Volume Licensing offer software, cloud services and online services to customers on an annual basis. This means that customers are able to purchase licenses to use the software in bulk at discounted rates, knowing that the software is updated regularly with the latest features. Also, customers receive support from Microsoft as part of their enrollment, including technical assistance and advice on how best to use the products available through their agreement.

Traditional platform (On-premises)

These are the components of the traditional platform, the Professional Desktop.

    • Office Professional Plus

    • Windows Enterprise E3/E5 or VDA,

    • Core CAL, containing:

    • Windows Server CAL

    • Microsoft SharePoint Server Standard CAL

    • Microsoft Exchange Server Standard CAL

    • Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager Client Management License

    • System Center Endpoint Protection (antivirus client and subscription service)

    • Microsoft Skype for Business Server Standard CAL

It is also possible to replace the Core CAL with the Enterprise CAL. The Enterprise CAL includes all components of the Core CAL Suite, with the addition of:

    • Exchange Enterprise CAL with Services*

    • Exchange Online Archiving for Exchange Server

    • SharePoint Server Enterprise CAL

    • Skype for Business Server Enterprise CAL

    • Windows Server AD Rights Management Services CAL

Together with Office Professional Plus and Windows Enterprise or VDA, this is called the Enterprise Desktop. Of course it is also possible to purchase one or two separate components instead of the complete platform. With standardization on all three components, the price of new licenses and upgrades with Software Assurance is 15% lower than the sum of the three individual components.

All products in the Enterprise Agreement are version independent: any desired version may be installed during the contract period. At the end of the contract period, the customer receives perpetual use rights for the versions that were commercially available at the end of the contract period.

Additional products to consider in the Enterprise Agreement

In addition to the platform products, it is also possible to purchase additional products, such as Exchange Server, Visio or Project. These products are purchased according to the Enterprise Agreement principle; i.e. purchased on a 3-year basis. There is no obligation for the additional products to be purchased for all workplaces or employees in the company.

What is True-up in an Enterprise Agreement?  

True-Up is a series of internal clean-up or alignment of the license standings of an organization once a year. This is required by Microsoft to check the total number of licenses that have been added in the previous 12 months.

The annual true-up order must be received by Microsoft in the period between 60 days and 30 days prior to the anniversary of the EA contract.

The Cloud platform and its offers in the EA

A full cloud platform includes the following components…

    • Office 365 / ME3 or E5 M35 – Microsoft 365 E3 or 35

    • Enterprise Mobility & Security E3 or E5

    • Windows Enterprise E3 or E5 or VDA

These 3 components are available in a bundle, called Microsoft 365 E3 or E5. M365 contains the E3 variants of Office 365, EM+S, Windows and M365 E5 contains the E5 variants of these solutions. An Enterprise Agreement based on only Cloud components (combination of Office 365, EM+S or the M365 bundle) has no purchase obligation for qualified users, provided that the minimum of 500 subscriptions is met.

The Hybrid Cloud platform of Microsoft Enterprise Agreement

The components of M365 provide the same on-premises access rights as compared to the Enterprise CAL from the Enterprise Desktop. In addition, organizations that purchase standardized M365 do not need to purchase a separate license for the on-premise application servers (SharePoint, Exchange and Skype).

What is the Server and Cloud Enrollment in the EA?

As an additional contract, it is possible to conclude a Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE) within an Enterprise Agreement. This contract replaces the Enrollment for Core Infrastructure, Enrollment for Application Platform, and Enrollment for Windows Azure.

The Server and Cloud Enrollment gives a discount on the purchase of licenses when a customer chooses to include the entire environment in the contract. Standardization is possible on the following products:

    • Core Infrastructure Suite Minimum entry 400 cores

    • SQL Server Minimum entry 50 cores or 5 servers and 250 CALs

    • BizTalk Server Minimum entry 24 cores

    • SharePoint Server Minimum entry 5 servers

    • Visual Studio and MSDN Minimum entry 20 licenses

    • Windows Azure Minimum entry 1 units p/m – 10 units p/m (Azure only)

The discounts at a glance:

    • 15% off new licenses with Software Assurance.

    • 5% discount on Software Assurance renewals.

“Subscriptions” and the purchase advantage in an EA 

To comply with the standardization obligation, it is also possible to include previously purchased licenses without active Software Assurance in the contract by means of a subscription model. If desired, all licenses can also be purchased in this way instead of purchasing new licenses.

At the end of the contract, you will of course keep the license versions and quantities that you already had from previous contracts. It is also possible to do a “BuyOut” for the included subscription licenses.

The discount levels of Microsoft Enterprise Agreement

The Enterprise Agreement program is available from 250 workstations or users, for government institutions. For the commercial market, the entry is 500. There are 4 different price levels.

Price level Number of PCs  

    • EA level A 250 – 2,399

    • EA level B 2,400 – 5,999

    • EA level C 6,000 – 14,999

    • EA level D 15,000+

Governments always pay the prices for level D, provided they meet the minimum entry level for level A.

Additional discount in an Enterprise Agreement

Apart from the standard discount levels, an additional Microsoft discount is possible when negotiated well. This can be achieved during your renewal period. An additional discount depends among other things, on the products you add to your contract and the size of the contract. You get a maximum discount by outsourcing the negotiation to an external and independent Microsoft negotiation team.

How to “Reorder” products covered in an EA

For the products and quantities agreed at the beginning of the agreement, the customer will receive an invoice for the annual payment at the beginning of each new contract year. At the end of each contract year, the True Up is placed for any additional numbers taken into use in the previous contract year, even if no growth has taken place, a zero usage must be stated if so.

New products that have not been ordered before must be reported in the month of commissioning and are then included in the True Up cycle. The True-Up cycle is an inventory of all the qualified devices, users, and processors added over the course of the/a year.

Purchase obligation and exceptions in the EA

An Enterprise Agreement is based on workplace standardization throughout the company and every desktop in the entire company must be counted. The obligation therefore applies to all PCs in the organization.

Exceptions are computers that function as servers and are not used as PCs, industry devices, devices that run an embedded operating system (for example, Windows Phone 8.1) and do not use a virtual desktop infrastructure, or devices that are not directly or indirectly provided by the company of the Enrolled Affiliate are managed and/or administered. The Enrolled Affiliate may add a device excluded above (for example, an Industry Device) as a Qualified Device.

What are the available Rights to updates as an EA user?

All licenses are purchased with Software Assurance, which entitles you to roll out the most recent version. Cloud products are automatically updated by Microsoft. As an organization you don’t need to do anything about it.

Enterprise Agreement Renewal after 3 years

The duration of the Enterprise Agreement is 3 years. After these three years, you can choose four alternatives:

1/Do nothing: you can continue to use the software versions that were commercially available at the end of the contract period. You will after receive perpetual (perpetual) usage rights.

2/Renew the Enterprise Agreement for your Cloud services and your on-premises products with Software Assurance.

3/Switch to another contract type (for example, NCE, MPSA Enterprise Subscription Agreement).

4/Switch to another vendor with some of your products (for example, Google, AWS).

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