Microsoft Licensing Bootcamp – London – November 18th and 19th

Bootcamp

Get your software estate in shape with our Microsoft Licensing Bootcamp
Learn how to make better software licensing decisions with our structured two-day course. The bootcamp is on 18th & 19th November at HMS Victoria London

  • Make the right licensing choices
  • Negotiate better deals
  • Identify and mitigate compliance risks
  • Support business and IT transformation with fit-for-now and fit-for-the-future software agreements

The bootcamp will help you understand Microsoft software licensing so you can get the most from your IT spend while staying compliant.
To find out more click here
Space is limited so please book now to secure your place

Free Half Day Workshop
Registered delegates are also entitled to a complimentary half-day onsite workshop with one of our experts to help apply your new knowledge to your circumstances.
View the bootcamp agenda


About SoftwareONE
SoftwareONE helps organisations reduce the cost and complexity of managing their software portfolio by connecting the dots between the people whose job it is to manage the software, with the people who purchase the software, and finally, with the people who have to make it all work.
As a solution provider with software licensing at its core, SoftwareONE gains added insight into the challenges and opportunities that a customer’s software lifecycle presents, enabling us to provide the highest level of expertise and most complete services throughout the lifecycle of these investments. We strive to help our clients deliver their IT vision and strategy with greater confidence and clarity.

Office 365 Service General Availability Roundup

Office365

AzureAD sync for Yammer
This release is an update to Office 365 sign-in for Yammer and gives admins the ability to unify suspension rights and email changes. For instance, when an user is deleted in Office 365 they will automatically be suspended in Yammer. And when admins change a user’s email address in Office 365 it will automatically be modified in Yammer. Please note, these changes will only affect mapped users in networks that meet the requirements to receive Office 365 sign-in for Yammer.

Cortana & Office 365 Productivity Scenarios
Cortana in Windows 10 will be now able to connect to Office 365 to help you accomplish more at work. You can configure this integration between Cortana and Office 365 through the Office 365 admin center. For more info, please check here.

Major update to Outlook Web App
Outlook Web App will undergo a major user interface update, with a redesigned message list, reading pane and compose experience. New features will be introduced, including Sweep, Undo, and many more.

New capabilities for Yammer iOS app
“The Yammer iOS app features new capabilities that boost team collaboration. Better photo-sharing and markup” Lets users attach multiple images
at once and mark up the parts of the image they want to call out with their finger Attach files from external file storage services”. Lets users find and attach files stored on external services such as OneDrive and Dropbox, as well as files stored in Yammer and on the mobile device. Yammer suggests people and groups to address while users are composing a message, removing the need to at-mention them separately. Search and invite coworkers by email and Searching by name or
email enables users to find existing members and invite new members to join Yammer from their Yammer mobile app.”

Office 365 Admin App Updates for June
Updates this month are focused around improving visibility, providing more control and improving access to support. Push notifications for service incidents will enable you to receive an alert at the beginning of each service incident and convenient access to additional service incident details. In addition, admins now have more granular control over what Office 365 services are enabled when assigning licenses and lastly, admins can now raise a support request ticket on the go right from the app.

Office 365 Groups: mobile app
We’ll be delivering a mobile app that surfaces Outlook Group conversations and files across iOS, Android and Windows Phone. https://blogs.office.com/2015/09/22/introducing-availability-of-office-365-groups-in-outlook-2016/

Office 365 Service Trust Portal
The regulatory compliance and business risk landscape is continuously evolving. At Microsoft, we appreciate our customers need to understand the Office 365 architecture and compliance with regulations to help them evaluate moving to Office 365. We also know you need to understand how we keep your data secure on the service on an ongoing basis.To help with your assessment needs, we are announcing Office 365 Service Trust Portal (STP).

Office 365 Setup Enhancements
The setup wizard will support more options for migrating data to Office 365 including data from IMAP/POP email providers such as Google Apps.

Office 365 Setup Wizard
Admins no longer have to choose between the basic and advanced setup options when setting up their Office 365 environment. The Office 365 setup wizard replaces these two options and guides admins through the Office 365 setup experience. The wizard supports migrating data from Microsoft Exchange server and integrating with the simplified domain setup experience released earlier.

Office 365 Video
WW rollout started March 2015 and completed July 2015 – deployment to GCC targeted H2 CY 2015. Office 365 Video is a secure, company-wide destination for video upload, sharing and discovery, and smooth playback across devices – all powered by Windows Azure Media Services. More here in the corresponding blog post: http://blogs.office.com/2014/11/18/introducing-office-365-video/

Office 365 Video – Embed
Videos can now be played outside the Office 365 Video portal by embedding individual videos into a team site. You simply click the ‘Embed’ button on an Office 365 Video player page, go to a team site in edit mode, click ‘add embed, hit save; now there is inline playback within the team site. This update, too, will enable Kiosk licensed users to get use rights to view videos embedded in a team site outside of the Office 365 Video portal; note, Kiosk workers would still not have use rights directly in the Office 365 Video portal itself. WW rollout July 2015 completed – deployment to GCC targeted H2 CY2015.

Office 365 Video Update
WW rollout started April 2015 – deployment to GCC targeted H2 CY2015. Office 365 Video went into First Release (FR) on 18/11/14. This update will both move Office 365 Video to the broader worldwide production environment, beyond FR customers, and bring new updates for increased mobility and improved performance. For mobility, Office 365 Video will now have a companion iPhone app in the App Store, responsive Web pages across the video portal for access across devices of all sizes (PC, Mac, Android and iOS), plus extend video playback to non-Flash capable devices via our new HTML5-based player from Azure Media Services. We, too, have taken user feedback to enable more refinement for some of the admin controls available to portal and channel owners.

Outlook for iOS opens IRM protected emails
Outlook for iOS can open, read and reply to Information Rights Protected emails. It will also respect permission set by the send. For example, if ‘Do Not Forward’ is set, the Forward command will be disabled.

Save to OneDrive for Business
In Outlook Web App, save email attachments directly to your OneDrive for Business.

Search Suggestions in Outlook Web App
Search suggestions in Outlook Web App are recommended search terms that appear when a user starts typing a new search query. The recommendations are based on the user’s mailbox content including the history of search results and keywords commonly found in email messages.

UserVoice coming to Outlook on the web
UserVoice makes it easier to provide feedback within Outlook on the web. To provide feedback, just click Feedback under the gear icon and add your suggestion. In addition, adding an Outlook on the web forum to Outlook UserVoice, where you can share your feedback, recommend features and vote for the ideas you like best.

Weather Bar in Outlook Web App
The calendar in Outlook Web App indicates the current local weather.

Yammer for Apple Watch
As a companion app for the Yammer mobile and web experiences, Yammer for Apple Watch provides instant notification of conversations and activities at a glance and lets users take quick action such as ‘Like’, ‘Mark as Unread’ for follow-up, or ‘View on Phone’ to continue working on their iPhone.

Office 365 Roadmap Update – Rolling Out in September 2015

Office365

Apps for Project Pro for Office 365 write support
Apps for Project Pro for Office 365 will be able to write-back and update the project plan.

Automatic Relationship Detection
Automatic relationship detection is now available for everyone using Office 365. When you are building a Data Model PivotTable working with two or more tables with no relationships defined, you get a notification to run Automatic relationship detection. This will detect and create all relationships between the tables that are used for the Data Model PivotTable so that you don’t have to do any of the work yourself. Automatic relationship detection can also be run through the Relationship dialog.

Automatic Time Grouping
Drilling up and down time groups and other hierarchical levels of your data is a common action in data analysis. This preview makes it easier for you to perform these actions with two new updates. Time groups are now automatically detected and created when you add rows of time fields to your PivotTables. Also, you can now drill up and down your data hierarchies directly from your PivotCharts visualizations, allowing you to explore deeper in your data right from your charts and graphs.

Capacity Management capabilities in Project Online
Resource Managers can benefit from configurable color coded heatmaps to better predict the utilization of   their resource pool in Project Online. These heatmaps will also support seamless drill-down capabilities all the way down to individual resources and their assigned projects.

Clutter for your inbox on by default
Clutter will become on by default for all users in tenants where the Clutter feature is available. As Clutter becomes on by default, it will introduce an enhanced user experience providing a concise way to stay informed of messages being moved to the Clutter folder. Users will continue to have the option to set their own preference. Additionally a PowerShell cmdlet will be made available to enable administrators to turn off the Clutter feature on behalf of users ahead of Clutter being enabled by default.

Colorful Office theme
The default theme is now “Colorful” (previously, the default theme was “White”). You can always change your theme by going to File   Account  Office Theme.
Create and collaborate on Visio diagrams using Office-like experience
Visio incorporates Office experience innovations such as dark themes, Delve, Tell Me and High DPI support to accommodate various diagram creation and collaboration needs. in Preview as of Aug 2015

Custom Tiles
The custom tile feature will provide the capability for an Office 365 tenant admin to quickly create an app tile from any public website, intranet or team site and push it to the my apps page of all users within their tenant. Users will then be able to add this app to their app launcher for quick access to a top site for their organization.

Dark theme
This new theme is designed to provide users with visual impairments who find overly bright displays unusable, with a more visually subtle background to work with in the apps.

Data Loss Protection (DLP) for Office desktop
Data Loss Protection (DLP) is a high-value enterprise feature that is well loved in Outlook. We are introducing DLP in Excel, PowerPoint and Word to enable real time scan of content based on a set of predefined policies for the most common sensitive data types (e.g., credit card number, social security number, and US bank account number). This capability will enable the synchronization of DLP policies from Office 365 in Excel, Word, and PowerPoint, and provide organizations with unified policies across content stored in Exchange, SharePoint and OneDrive for Business. One additional benefit of DLP is the ability it affords IT administrators to have some oversight and help end-users in their organizations better and more knowledgeably manage sensitive information.

Deferred Updates
Enabled Office 365 Commercial customers can defer regular feature updates while only receiving monthly security patches, allowing time for testing and validation against critical line-of-business apps, add-ins and macros.  This update approach is called Current Branch for Business and will deliver feature updates and bug fixes a few times a year.

DKIM Outbound for Exchange Online Protection
Exchange Online Protection will begin supporting outbound validation of Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM; see DomainKeys Identified Mail Signatures). DKIM is a method of validating a digitally signed message that appears in the DKIM-Signature header in the message headers. It ties an email message to the organization responsible for the message.

Easy Enable for Data Analysis Add-Ins
Now Business Intelligence features are much easier to find in your Excel experience. If you’re using one of the BI feature (Power View, Power Pivot or Power Map) the rest will be turned on automatically for you. You can also turn on all the BI Features by going to Excel under File Options Advanced Turn on data analysis features, instead of File Options Add-Ins Manage Add-ins on the go, which makes everything less time consuming

FastTrack | Request Service Onboarding
You can request help to setup Office 365 directly from the admin center. Every new customer with an eligible purchase of Office 365 over 150 seats is entitled to email migration and remote onboarding provided by a regional Microsoft Onboarding Center. You can now start the engagement with the Onboarding Center from your Office 365 admin center.

Getting started experience in Visio
Visio diagramming can be  intimidating for someone who is new to Visio and not used to the rich set of   tools offered. The Getting Started experience now makes the Visio canvas more   inviting by providing a select set of pre-crafted starter diagrams which will  help the users in some of the very core scenarios for that template. In   addition, there are some tips provided with the diagram which help the users   in editing and completing their diagram creation experience. Using Visio is  easier than ever.

Higher DPI support for 250% and 300%
Higher DPI support for 250% and 300% so that your Office documents look great on larger screens.

Improved conflict resolution in PowerPoint
This feature simplifies resolving conflicts when coauthoring. You can choose between two versions of the conflicting slides, your changes or others’ changes, instead of sifting a through the individual conflicts.

Improved sync slider and lean storage footprint on small devices in Outlook 2016
Outlook used to download a month of email on smaller devices. Outlook 2016 includes an improved sync slider to control how much data is synced to the device, with additional values including 1 day, 3 days, 7 days, 14 days. Outlook will recognize the available disk space and automatically lower the time-frame to sync on devices with smaller hard drives.

Information Rights Management (IRM) protection now added for Visio files
Visio files now offers Information Rights Management (IRM) features, which provide persistent online and offline protection of e-mail messages and attachments, documents and diagrams. Now you can protect sensitive information such as confidential product information, financial and sales process visuals, research and patent information and customer or employee data that live in Visio diagrams. Because people can now access their files from just about anywhere, large amounts of potentially sensitive information can suffer from information leakage can be a serious threat to organizations. To help prevent information leakage, protect your Visio diagrams with the new Information Rights Management (IRM) features.

Keyboard access for Pivot Tables and Slicers in Excel
Previously blocked keyboarding scenarios in Excel for features like Pivot Tables and Slicers are now accessible, providing a more robust Excel feature set for all.
Keyboard access for Shape Panel in Visio
Now enjoy easy access to the Visio Shape Panel using your keyboard. F6 cycles into the shape panel, TAB cycles through the different sections of the shape panel. Arrow keys allow users to navigate between the individual elements. Ctrl + TAB will allow users to quickly switch between STENCILS and SEARCH views.

Keyword & People search suggestions in Outlook 2016
Searching in Outlook 2016 now leverages Office 365 and Exchange Server for simpler and more effective search. Outlook now provides Keyword & People suggestions as you type and surfaces up recent search queries.

Likes Coming to Outlook on the web
Likes is a new feature coming to Outlook on the web for Exchange Online business users.  Likes provides an easy solution to endorse a specific message within your inbox by clicking on the ‘thumbs up’ icon within the message.  If a user ‘likes’ your message, you are provided an alert and the history of ‘likes’ is retained in the email message thread.
Making it easier to share files and collaborate
These changes bring together two key aspects of collaboration: who has access to a given document and who is currently working with you on the document. Now you can view both pieces of information in one place from the Share panel dialog box.

Mark emails as Clutter in Outlook 2016
Clutter helps you prioritize the most important email. Clutter looks at what you’ve done in the past to determine the messages you’re most likely to ignore. It then moves those messages to a folder in your Inbox called Clutter, which is available on any device. From Outlook 2016, you can more easily move items to Clutter with the ‘move to Clutter’ command. This command will also educate the Clutter service on your preferences for future mail.

Math Input Control
Math input control is now available in Word, Excel, OneNote and PowerPoint. You can write math equations with a digital pen, a pointing device, or even your finger, and have the ink converted to a typed format.

Modern Attachments in Outlook 2016
Easily attach Office documents in Outlook 2016. When selecting ‘Attach’, a list of most recently accessed files will be available for attaching in a dropdown list, without having to dig through File Explorer. Files in OneDrive, OneDrive for Business or SharePoint will be shared as a link instead of as a traditional attachment, thereby enabling collaboration on one copy of a document. You have the option to share cloud files as an “Edit” or “View only” links without having to separately navigate to the file share to set permissions.
More secure translation options
The translation features in Office (Whole Document Translation, Mini Translator, and Research and Reference Pane Translation) have all been improved such that communication with machine translation providers happens over an SSL connection.   The user is notified when content that they are translating is using a machine translation provider (e.g. Bing)..

Multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor-authentication (MFA) through integration of ADAL (Active Directory Authentication Library) streamlines sign on for the whole Office suite and layers security through the process in one single sign on.

Multiple timeline bars in Project Pro for Office 365
In Project Pro for Office 365 you will be able to create multiple timeline bars within the Timeline view. You will also be able to set a custom date range for each timeline bar in order to just highlight a certain time period of the project in the Timeline view.

New and Modern Charts
“The following new chart types are available. They are particularly good for visualizing financial or hierarchal information and for revealing statistical properties in your data:
Financial: Waterfall, Statistical: Histogram, Pareto, Box and Whisker, Hierarchical: Treemap and Sunburst”

New capabilities on Yammer Android app
“The Yammer Android app features new capabilities that boost team collaboration.

New Chinese and Japanese Default Fonts
In Office 2016, existing Japanese and Simplified Chinese fonts have been updated with a Unified modern look and feel across the primary authoring apps: Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook Mail and OneNote.

New Forecasting Capabilities
The time series forecasting sheet functions are used to predict future values based on historical data. For example, a monthly timeline with values on the 1st of every month or yearly timeline. For this type of timeline, its very useful to aggregate raw detailed data before you apply the forecast, which produces more accurate forecast results as well. In this preview, the following forecasting functions are available:

New Office 365 Admin Center Preview
“This is an early peek into the new Office 365 Admin Center Preview. The redesigned Office 365 Admin Center
Preview is more intuitive and informative making it easier to complete your administrative tasks.This is a journey and as we continue to add more
features and functionality, the admin experience will not only be more delightful to use, but also more insightful and scalable to meet more advanced
needs.”

Office 2013 Windows client modern authentication public preview
IN PUBLIC PREVIEW – Office 2013 Windows client modern authentication features have moved from private preview to public preview. This means that the program is easier to join and production support is included for participants. Modern authentication brings Active Directory Authentication Library (ADAL)-based sign-in to Office 2013 Windows clients. This update enables IT administrators to configure new security scenarios for sign-in with Office 365.

Office 365 Domain Purchase Experience
Office 365 admins will have an updated purchase domain experience available soon within the Office 365 admin portal. This will provide benefits to Office 365 admins including reduced billing complexity, reduced log-ins required, automated domain management including DNS configuration- all directly from Office 365 rather than third party providers.

Office 365 Help Pane
The new Office 365 help panel feature will includes several capabilities including What’s new, help content and help  search. The ‘What’s new’ new feature discovery component will provide users the ability to contextually discover and see how-to information about recently introduced capabilities.The Office 365 help panel will be available across apps in the Office 365 web experience.

Office 365 Notification Pane
The new notification pane will provide end users with a single place to catch up on all system events (i.e. system alerts like password expiration, new emails, calendar reminders and eventually group likes) and will be available across apps in the Office 365 web experience. In order to access this new feature, a user simply clicks on the top right notification icon to open the notification pane. In the first phase the functionality will be limited to Office 365 Groups mail notifications and the icon will appear as multiple team members in the top nav bar.
Office 365 Settings pane
Office 365 settings experience will be updated to include contextual settings within the right hand pane of the Office 365 web experience. These contextual settings will include workload specific settings as well as Office 365 settings including theme and start page. The settings pane will include a search box to quickly search all settings, and a link to a full immersive settings experience that includes all Office 365 settings.

Office 365 User Purchases
Office 365 user purchases is a new feature designed to enable users to get the software they need. Using this new feature an individual in an organization will be able to purchase and individually own a subscription to additional software including Office 365 Pro Plus, OneDrive for Business, Visio and Project available via the Office 365 store.

OLAP Connection Support in Power View
Microsoft PowerView is now added as a reporting option for an Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) cube connection. Just connect your Excel spreadsheet to an OLAP cube and select to view this data in your workbook as a Power View Report. In PowerView you can now build reports with KPI’s, hierarchies, calculations and table data coming from the OLAP cube.

Optimized file picker in Outlook Web App
Improvements to user flow when adding attachment.  Allows user to check a box to automate steps, instead of being presented with each option each time you upload a file. Asks and remembers your preference when saving attachments from both the cloud and local files. You can save as copies, which will not receive updates if stored in the cloud, a physical document, which will receive updates if stored in the cloud or as cloud links.Can change your preference under Preference-General- Attachments.

Organization support card
Organization admins will have the opportunity set custom support contact information including email, website, phone number and a line of text that will be visible to users within the new help pane in the Office 365 web experience.
Pan and zoom while loading large charts/SmartArt

PivotTable Field Search
Excel Field List, used for adding fields to Pivot Tables and Pivot Charts, now supports search functionality so that you can quickly find the fields you are looking for in longer lists.

Purchase & Subscriptions Experience Refresh
The refreshed purchase and subscriptions experience provides an update to the UI for both the purchase and subscriptions pages within the admin experience. The update includes new features like dynamic resizing based on screen size, hover menu, updated shopping cart experience for easier editingand additions to the cart, and simplified purchase flow.

Quick data linking in Visio
Visio diagrams can be connected with real-time data from various data sources so that users can visualize data in the context of organizational structure, IT network map, manufacturing floor plan, complex business processes and etc.  Users can now take advantage of the new one-step connectivity with Excel table to boost productivity.

Quick Shape Formatting
This feature increases the   number of default shape styles by introducing new preset styles in Word,  Excel, and PowerPoint.

Read-only mode for Excel
Open up an Excel workbook within SharePoint quickly in read-only mode to quickly get to what matters most.

Real time co-authoring in Word
When you’re working with people in a Word document, you can see text changes others are making as well as the location of their cursor within the document. Changes are displayed automatically as people use and update the document. This capability is available in documents stored on OneDrive for Business and Office 365 SharePoint sites.

Red Alert Autoposting
Customer feedback around timeliness of communications at the onset of a service incident led to increased adoption of monitoring automation for SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online. Based on automated detection of a potential issue, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Lync Online services can automatically post an alert directly to affected customers Service Health Dashboard (SHD).

Refreshed stencils and smart shapes in Visio
“Visio 2016 has refreshed 4 templates under ‘Maps and Floor Plan’ which allow users to accurately depict complex architecture with modern shapes.  With refreshed Electrical template and solution, users can easily create and edit IEEE compliance circuit diagrams. Users can also create diagrams with 400 smart shapes including multi-chair trapezoid shapes.

In Preview as of August 2015:-

Resource Engagement Workflow in Project Online
Project managers, working in Project Pro for Office 365 can systematically place resource requests in order to build their project teams.  Soon thereafter, Resource managers working in Project Online will be able to view, modify, accept or reject those requests. Also, decisions made by Resource managers  will be available to Project Managers within Project Pro for Office 365 to review and plan accordingly.

Search Refiners in Outlook Web App
Search refiners in Outlook Web App allow users to filter their search results faster. When a user types a new search query, a menu appears below the search bar with a list of options to refine the search results by sender, date, folder, and attachments.
SharePoint Online uses Exchange Web Services to send mail
Customer will no longer see SharePoint generated emails for shared items getting incorrectly classified as spam.
SharePoint Online will start to transition to using TLS to send email securely in our datacenters
Emails sent by SharePoint, such as sharing emails, alerts, or workflow emails, will now be transmitted inside SharePoint datacenters in a secure way using Transport Layer Security (TLS).

Smart Lookup for Office
Smart Lookup is available in Word, Outlook, Excel, and PowerPoint and helps you learn more about your content by bringing you precisely the right information in context of what you are reading or writing about. With information from a variety of sources like Bing Snapshot, Wikipedia, Bing image search and Oxford dictionary, you can do anything from a quick look up to a detailed exploration without leaving the Office application.  Smart Lookup can be accessed by right clicking a word or phrase, through the Review tab on the ribbon, or via the Tell Me box.Insights is powered by Bing and uses the selected text and some surrounding content to get contextually relevant results.

Smart Rename in Power Pivot
Now you can rename tables, columns and calculated fields/measures within the Power Pivot add-in and take advantage of PivotTables being seamlessly adjusted to the new names in the Data Model.

Subscription Management Experience refresh
The Office 365 subscription management experience refresh will provide admins with a new subscription management experience within the admin portal. The updates include a simplified subscription card view, easy transitions and upgrades, improved navigation, notifications, integrated tasks and subscription status.
Support for multi-selection of Slicer items using touch
This change now allows you to select multiple items in an Excel Slicer on a touch device. This is a change from prior versions of Excel where only one item in a slicer could be selected at a time using only touch input. You can also enter Slicer multi-select mode by using the new control located in the Slicer label.

Support for small screen portrait layouts in Outlook 2016
Outlook 2016 will adapt to smaller screens with a dynamic layout. Includes a new Portrait view where the Ribbon, Navigation Pane and Reading Pane automatically adjust.

Tell Me
Tell Me saves you the time you would normally use to look for a specific function within the Ribbon. You can type what you are looking for in the Tell Me box at the top right corner of the Ribbon in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Access, and with word-wheeling, which enables results as soon as you start typing, every keystroke refines the results so that you can click on what you are looking for as soon as you see it. For example, when you want to mark your document as confidential, just type confidential or confidential banner and Tell Me will bring back the Insert Watermark command. When you click in the Tell Me box, you’ll also see a list of the last five commands you ran from within Tell Me, saving you time getting to the feature you want to use.

Tighter Yammer Integration with Delve
Delve now incorporates links shared in Yammer so you can discover even more from across Office 365. Soon, Delve will also enable inline conversations so you can share and discuss any content in Yammer directly from within the Delve experience.

Office365 – In Development – September 2015

Office365

Microsoft latest ‘In Development’ for Office 365 for September 2015.

 Add Ins via Click-to-Run

You can deploy Solver, Euro Currency, & Analysis ToolPak add-ins in the language of their choice via Click-to-Run.

Advanced administrative controls for archiving

Enables customers to satisfy stringent SEC 17a-4 record retention requirements with advanced administrative controls for archiving such as restricting changes to archiving policies and preventing such policies from being turned off or removed.

Analyze Office 365 data with Equivio Zoom

ediscovery capabilities powered by Equivio Zoom are coming to Office 365.  Equivio Zoom helps you understand unstructured data, perform more efficient document review, and make decisions to reduce data for eDiscovery.

Archiving in Office 365 for 3rd-party data

Extends archiving support in Office 365 for 3rd-party data such as:Social – Twitter, Facebook, Yammer, LinkedIn, and many moreInstant Messaging – Yahoo Messenger, GoogleTalk, Cisco Jabber, and many moreDocument Collaboration – Box, DropBox, and many moreVerticals – SalesForce Chatter, Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg, and many moreSMS/Text Messaging – BlackBerry, MobileGuard, and many more

Auto-Expanding Archives

To accommodate customers who require very, very large archiving storage, you will be able to leverage an auto-expanding, highly scalable archiving. This allows you to take advantage of a truly bottomless archive without needing to call support or perform any manual steps. Through an update to our back-end architecture, we not only enabled auto-expanding archives, but also removed limits on the Recoverable Items store.

Azure departmental template availability

When your IT department defines a set of relevant departmental templates in Azure Rights Management (RMS), you can access them from within the relevant Office apps using Information Rights Management (IRM).

Click-to-Run manageability gaps addressed for IT pros

Click-to-Run is a streaming and virtualization technology that makes it very easy to install Office products at scale at big enterprises, thereby putting the latest and greatest Office in the hands of end users quickly. Some gaps such as necessary security updates, bug fixes and meeting compliance requirements have been addressed, making the experience of running Click-to-Run easier.

Cloud PBX in Skype for Business

New features in Office 365 based on the enterprise voice feature set in Lync Server and Skype for Business Server will enable Office 365 customers to eliminate traditional PBX systems for their users.  Customers will be able to either add on PSTN service or leverage existing current PSTN contracts, carrier circuits, and numbers or purchase to make and receive phone calls.Includes traditional calling features including Call hold, history & redial, transfer, forward, call waiting, simultaneous ringing, team calling, delegation, DND routing, tagging and static E-911.  Tenant Administrators will get great reporting including robust call detail records.

Compliance Administrator Role

With the new Compliance Administrator role you can grant people access to important compliance and security features in Office 365. The Compliance Administrator can perform tasks in the Compliance Center such as manage data loss prevention policies, device management policies, and view auditing reports.

Compliance Search Conditions

A new search query experience with searchable properties helps you scope your search results. Search on SharePoint properties such as content type, result type, shared with external users, and sensitive information type. Search on Exchange properties such as message type, sender, recipient, external recipients, folders, and domains.

Data Gathering and Shaping Capabilities

Power Query for Excel, which was a separate downloadable add-in for Excel 2013 and 2010, is fully integrated in Excel 2016. These capabilities, found under the “Get and Transform” section of the Data tab, provide an intuitive and consistent experience for discovering and connecting to a broad range of data sources, including tables in public websites, corporate data in databases and cubes, cloud-based sources like Azure, unstructured data like Hadoop, and services like Salesforce or use web-like searching to discover the data shared across your corporations. Use intuitive options to clean, shape and combine to fit your unique business needs. Missed a step? No problem. The easy-to-use editor allows you to go back and change and reorder your transform steps and quickly reuse them over other sets of data. With one click, refresh your connections so your workbook has the most up-to-date information across all your data sources.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) in SharePoint Online

Data Loss Prevention in Office 365 provides more than 50 Sensitive information types that you use out of the box. We will be expanding on this list with some more new sensitive information types.

Delve People Experiences – Praise

In First Release now as of August 2015  – Within the new Delve profile people experience, Office 365 users will be able to send Praise to their colleagues that will be publically viewable, promoting recognition. In addition, giving someone Praise triggers an email to their manager to promote awareness of their employees’ supportive efforts. The Praise then feeds into the broader Delve experience andcan be discovered by others who can click Like further supporting and promoting individual recognition within the company.

DLP in SharePoint – Policy Management

(Now in Private preview, with public preview targeted for Sep 2015) DLP in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business policy management will allow admins to create policies and take action if a sensitive document is detected. In addition, DLP in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business reports will allow admins to understand what DLP policies and rules matched within their organization.

Drive Shipping and Network Based Data Import for Office 365

Currently in public preview; release planned for September 2015.The ability to import data into Office 365 in a quick and easy manner has been a known constraint of Office 365, and a solution for this issue has emerged as a key request from customers. We are working on a solution that will allow quicker imports of data into Exchange Online Archive Mailboxes.  You will now be able to import Exchange Online data through PST files into the service without using third party tools.   Drive Shipping and Network Based Ingestion options will use Azure-based services to import data.  Over time we will be extending this to other data types across Office 365.

eDiscovery Case Management, Hold & Permissions

Organize your eDiscovery work into cases. Case permissions control who has access to the case, so team members can lock down sensitive activities that other investigators should not see.

eDiscovery Infix & Suffix Wildcards

Expand the scope of your compliance & eDiscovery search by searching on variations of words. For example *drive would find you results with SkyDrive or OneDrive. You can also use asterisks in the middle of a word or at both the beginning and end of a word such as o*drive or *drive*.

Excel Online improvements

Support editing and refreshing of workbooks containing Power Views and inserting PivotTables.

Exchange Online Protection phishing protection

Admins will be able to add phishing levels similar to how they set up their spam levels

ExpressRoute for Office 365

ExpressRoute for Office 365 allows Office 365 customers to establish a private managed connection between their network and Microsoft datacenters. Customers can get premium connectivity that is like having an on-premises datacenter and enjoy the benefits of predictable performance and guaranteed availability from a single networking agreement with one service provider. ExpressRoute for Office 365 is planned to be generally available in the third quarter 2015.

Group Updates feed for Yammer mobile apps

Yammer’s Group Updates feed provides a simple workflow through relevant group content to help users catch up on urgent conversations and discover what others are working on. Users can navigate easily between the feed and their groups, as well as join groups they’re not already a part of, from the feed itself. The Group Updates feed will come to Android first with iOS following shortly after.

Groups in Office 365 for Yammer

Yammer integration with the Office 365 Group service managed by Azure Active Directory enables standard membership across Office 365.

Improved image attachment viewing in Outlook Web App

When reading emails with image attachments, you now see big thumbnail previews, and you see thumbnails in the attachment well when composing an email, too. We also have an improved image side by side view, with improved load timing.

Inline Service Health for Support Request Creation

When an admin opens a Support Request, the system will check to see if there are any related service incidents.  If so, it will share the Service Health Dashboard messaging and advise admin on current status.

Mobile PDF annotation support for iOS

This is an added feature to the mobile offline access and allows for users to easily make edits on pdf files with their iOS mobile devices.

New per-user licensing for Sway

Sway will soon switch to a per-user licensing model, so that organizations no longer have to choose whether to have Sway enabled for the entire organization vs. nobody at all. Access to use Sway can now be assigned to your organization’s users on an individual and group basis. When this change becomes effective, any organization that previously disabled Sway will need to re-disable it for all users on a per-user basis as a result of this change.

New timeline view in Project

We’ve improved the timeline view in Microsoft Project so you can now have multiple timeline bars in a single view and you can set the date range for timeline bars so they can just represent a specific phase of your project. To try this out, click on the timeline and then go to the Format tab. Note the new Date Rage and Insert Timeline Bar commands.

Office 365 Admin app updates October 2015

Updates this month have been focused on adding group administration. The initial functionality is focused on adding and editing membership of all existing Office 365 groups.

Office 365 app launcher refresh

The Office 365 app launcher visual refresh will include additional end user customization updates including extending the user personal theme across the first party tiles and background color of the app launcher, as well as tile re-sizing capabilities, including a small, medium (current size) and wide tile option to accommodate a variety of personal preferences. Custom tiles will not be available for re-sizing or accept the personal theme set by users.

Office 365 content pack for Power BI

Office 365 reporting content pack for Power BI enables customers to combine their organization’s Office 365 usage data with their organization’s user information to provide richer insights into office 365 usage patterns.

Office 365 detailed usage reports

Admins will soon have better visibility in how their Office 365 service is being used by their users. This set of reports will include detailed reports for email activity, SharePoint/OneDrive for Business file activity and Office ProPlus report.

Office 365 Groups: Support compliance requirements

Wewill be adding support for Office 365 Groups into the O365 compliance center.Retention and Hold allow you to specify policies for how long to keep all groups content (protecting it from deletion, modification and tampering) and when to automatically delete it. eDiscovery allows you to search for specific content across all groups. Compliance features will apply to all groupscontent: mailboxes, files, calendars and notebooks.

Office 365 local datacenter in India

Microsoft is planning to host Office 365 services from a Microsoft datacenter in India. This is planned to launch by the end of CY 2015. Office 365 customers in India today will be able to migrate their tenant to this new datacenter once it launches. We will have additional information about Office 365 on the newly announced India datacenter closer to the time.

Office 365 Message Encryption: End-User Triggered Encryption in OWA

With End user triggered encryption in OWA, end users will be able to directly encrypt messages with Office 365 Message Encryption. Today, it can only be configured with Exchange transport rules by admins, but with this capability end users can encrypt messages directly from OWA using Office 365 Message Encryption

Office 365 Reporting Dashboard

New Office 365 dashboard view in the Office 365 Admin Center. The dashboard will show trend and aggregate views of the Office 365 services. It will have the capability to drill down into the individual, detailed activity reports.

Office Online multi-user coauthoring in Yammer

Office Online provides an immersive document collaboration experience inside Yammer. Co-author Word, PowerPoint, and Excel files uploaded to Yammer with other peopple using the immersive Office Online experience. Changes are automatically saved in Yammer where you have the ability to review the version history of each file and mark documents “Official.”

OneDrive for Business filename support improvements

We’re adding support for file names that contain ‘%’ or ‘#’ characters. Previously these were blocked for upload to OneDrive for Business. Additionally for all other blocked characters in filenames, OneDrive for Business will warn the user of a problem with their filename and provide them with the opportunity to rename the file to continue the upload. Finally, OneDrive for business will support filenames up to 256 characters in length. Together these changes will help users and organizations more easily adopt OneDrive for Business.

Outlook for the web inline OneDrive attachment preview

OneDrive links pasted into the body of an email will appear with a rich preview and other useful metadata like ‘last edited by’. It will also attach to the email as a cloud attachment and recipients will automatically receive view/edit permissions.

Proactive notification of Outlook version

This feature will proactively notify admins when their users are connecting using an out of date Outlook client.  An email will be sent to admins that provides the symptoms of degraded user experience when using out of date client and guidance on how to get the current Outlook client.

PSTN Calling in Skype for Business

PSTN calling gives Office 365 customers the option to give their users the ability to receive and make calls to traditional phone numbers from their Skype for Business clients.  This will be available for US customers only at the time of launch, with other countries added later.

PSTN Conferencing in Skype for Business Online

PSTN conferencing from Microsoft will give Office 365 customers the option to purchase traditional dial-in capabilities for their Skype for Business meetings directly from Microsoft.  This will be offered initially in the US.

Public Folder eDiscovery & In-Place Hold

Using Compliance Search you can search and place holds on all public folders in your organization.

Real-time Co-authoring in Skype for Business

New Skype for Business co-editing option. Launchesmeeting participants into real-time co-authoring session. Splits screen betweenSkype and co-authoring pane. This allows SFB to combine video conferencing withco-authoring. When complete, the document saved to OneDrive for Business.

Reassign Sways from deleted user

To help organizations better maintain data after employee accounts are disabled, admins will soon be able to assign a deleted user’s Sways to another owner (in bulk). This action can be completed by the admin within one month after a user’s Office 365 work or school account has been deleted. Tenant admins can specify a new owner, who will subsequently receive all of the deleted users Sways in his or her My Sways page.

Save to OneDrive for Business in Outlook for iOS & Android

Outlook for iOS & Android will be able to view, send files from and save attachments to OneDrive for Business in the Files tab. Today, Outlook works with OneDrive, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive & iCloud.

Set Automatic Replies in Outlook for iOS & Android

Set Automatic Replies for when you are traveling out of the office. Available for Office 365 and Exchange Server accounts in Settings.

SharePoint API partial file upload support

This feature will allow large files to be uploaded through the use of our SharePoint APIs in chunks. This will allow the files to be uploaded in multiple transactions to avoid timeouts and provide more reliability to your large file uploads.

Skype for Business conversations in the web experience

Users will now have the option to start an instant message, voice and/ or video conversation with one or several of your colleagues right from the productivity of your inbox, OneDrive for Business or calendar application. Conversations will provide you with real time, direct access to the information you need directly from your colleagues and persist across applications. SfB conversations will be available across Office 365 web applications via the persistent Skype icon on top navigation bar.

Skype for Business for Android

This fall, we will replace the current Lync mobile applications with Skype for Business mobile in the Google app store.  Users will see the new Skype for Business UI after applying the update.

Skype for Business for iOS

This fall, we will replace the current Lync mobile applications with Skype for Business mobile in the iOS app store.  Users will see the new Skype for Business UI after the update is automatically applied.

Skype Meeting Broadcast

Skype Meeting Broadcast allows up to 10,000 people to view a broadcast of a Skype for Business meeting on the Internet.  This capability is useful for a variety of scenarios, including internal, organization-wide “Town Hall” style meetings and public webinars.  Broadcasts may be viewed live, or after the event.

Storage and file upload improvements for Sites and OneDrive for Business

This update will bring two key enhancements for Sites in Office 365, videos uploaded into Office 365 Video, and OneDrive for Business. First, you will be able to upload files greater than 2GB – up to 10GB – to both Sites’ document libraries and OneDrive for Business. We, too, will provide a greater amount of default storage for Office 365 Sites usage (for documents and information); Office 365 tenants will now get 1TB + (500MB * # of E/A/G users); this calculation used to be 10GB + (500MB * # of E/A/G users).

Supervisory Review for financial and regulatory compliance

An essential component of regulatory compliance for financial and related industries is the ability to review specific employee communications. We will be introducing a new feature called Supervisory Review that will give organizations the ability to define a subset of employee communications to be reviewed by a group of internal or external auditors. Supervisory Review will include both policy configuration and reviewer tools to perform supervisory review.

Task Notifications in Project Online

In Project Online, team members can opt-in to receive email notifications. Team members will receive email alerts whenever a new task is assigned to them. They will also receive daily email reminders with a list of tasks that are upcoming or overdue.

Unlimited storage for OneDrive for Business

Moving forward, all Office 365 customers will get unlimited OneDrive storage at no additional cost. We will begin updating the First Release customers in 2015, aligned with our promise to provide ample notification for significant service changes. In the meantime, get started using your 1 TB of storage today by backing up all those work files kicking around on your PC – with the knowledge that even more storage is on its way!

User Activity Reports

User activity reports will allow you to audit SharePoint and OneDrive for Business user actions such as views, edits, deletes, downloaded files, and sharing of files. These reports will be available in the Compliance Center.

Video Based Screen Sharing

Video Based Screen Sharing is a more efficient way of sharing content. This version supports P2P sharing only. We expect conference sharing to be supported in a later release.

Work Management in Office 365

Office 365 Planner, A brand new work management capability in Office 365 brings together teams and tasks intuitively across devices to enable a more organized collaboration experience.

Yammer Discovery Feed

Discovery feed surfaces conversations users might miss from relevant groups, Updates in the Discovery feed clearly identify which groups the conversations come from and provide the ability to quickly navigate to and join the groups users are not already a member of straight from the feed.

Yammer External Groups

External Groups helps extended teams collaborate closely in Yammer. Users will be able to invite outside participants such as vendors, partners, and customers into a group in their Yammer network.

Yammer Group UI Redesign

Yammer groups will have a greater sense of place and be more engaging with a full-width header, a cleaner look to focus attention on high impact activity and content, and a wider feed for team conversations.

Assessing the Strategic Impact of SQL 2005 End of Support

SQL 2005 End of Support

Legacy software remains at the center of many essential business systems, which is why Microsoft offers such robust Extended and Mainstream Support for its critical enterprise software. For SQL Server 2005, Extended Support ends April 16, 2016, meaning SQL Server 2005 will no longer receive security and other fixes, impacting future performance, security, and reliability of business systems.

The decision to move off legacy software is often dependent on both business and technical criteria.

We recommend assessing the total impact of unsupported legacy software to the application portfolio to determine both the business justification and priority to either upgrade, migrate, or securely maintain affected systems.

The below “SQL Impact Grid” can help you understand the business justification and overall approach to your SQL modernization program.

SQL Impact Grid

SQL Impact Assessment Grid

 

Discover and Inventory All Assets that Support Your Application Portfolio

Understanding the scope for your program is vital to ensuring all affected applications have been captured. A good starting point is to discover and inventory all the software and hardware assets that support your application portfolio.

SQL Server will connect to a range of business applications and devices that could be at risk of data theft, destruction, unmonitored access, or failure, so it’s critical to obtain a complete inventory.

Business applications that are running on SQL Server 2005 will not receive security updates, so organizations will not be protected against undiscovered vulnerabilities.

Compliance requirements may also require customer systems to be on a supported platform, restricting the ability to do business.

The discovery phase can help determine the number and location of legacy software, and enable your business to work with application owners to decide what should be upgraded, or securely maintained.

Assess and Prioritize Essential Applications

Categorizing applications by type, importance and criticality, as well complexity, is crucial to identify and prioritize candidates for upgrade.

Identifying the use of deprecated features can flag areas of complexity where re-architecting the SQL environment may be required.

At this stage, many organizations will often omit assessing software license compliance to focus on business requirements and metering technical performance.

Assessment of license compliance and effective assignment of license assets is essential to ensure a modernization program also delivers IT cost optimization.

Target Your Future IT Ambitions

In the target phase, new feature enhancements can be mapped to the needs of the business.

Certain workloads and applications will logically lead to certain targets, driven by factors such as cost, functionality, or complexity.

The target phase delivers the ‘future state’ design and should set out your migration roadmap for secure consolidation, cloud server deployments, and workload migration options.

License Your Configured Solution

The licensing design phase plans for when you’re ready to move from legacy software and modernize your environment, whether private, via hybrid cloud, or public cloud services.

Commercial analysis of contract options and global sourcing options delivers a cost optimized licensing strategy. Often critical when evaluating migrating to cloud services or consolidating your SQL environment.

And of course, should you need help configuring your ideal solution, don’t hesitate to reach out to any of our experts by clicking the contact form below with our Microsoft Advisory Services team.

 

Important Microsoft Licensing Updates and Price Increases

Microsoft August Price Increases

Microsoft have announced some important licensing updates and price increases for August, and  reflects an ongoing ‘carrot and stick’ methodology, to drive adoption of Office 365 and Azure. While many organisations are currently completing their renewals with Microsoft at the end of the MS financial year in June, some organisations with upcoming renewals over the next several months should factor these licensing updates and price increases into their renewal strategy:

  1. Price Increase in User Client Access Licenses (CALs), effective August 1st 2015, there will be a 13% price increase to User CAL. This will reflect a 30% price differential over Device CAL
    The price increase will not immediately affect organisations committed to Core CAL or Enterprise CAL on a Enterprise Agreement (EA), or Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EAS), but will impact customers with renewals on or after August 1st 2015.
    Microsoft have confirmed that Academic and Charity organisations will not be affected by the price increase in User CAL.
  2. Microsoft will remove System Center Client Management Suite (CMS) from the Enterprise CAL Suite,
  3. Microsoft have confirmed that product updates for System Center Client Management Suite will continue, and customers with active SA will continue to receive entitlement rights until December 31st 2016, as an exception in the Product List. Organisations that have committed to ECAL (with active SA), who are using or plan to deploy System Center CMS, will have time to transition, and Microsoft have reiterated that removal of System Center CMS from the ECAL suite does not imply that the solution is ‘End of Life’ for either CMS or the rest of the System Center ecosystem of products. CMS will continue to receive updates and will be available outside the ECAL
  4. After 31st December 2016, Microsoft have stated that System Center CMS will continue to receive updates, and would also continue as a stand-alone offering outside of ECAL
  5. Advance Threat Analytics (ATA) to be added to the Enterprise CAL Suite, an on premise software product licensed for Clients by a Client Management License (CML) on a Per User or Per OSE Model. The General Availability  for ATA will be  available on August 1st 2015
  6. ATA will also be included as part of Enterprise Mobility Suite and Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS) on a Per User model on August 1st 2015. Existing EMS customers will automatically receive entitlement rights to ATA upon General Availability.
  7. Microsoft have stated that ECAL price was not increased due to inclusion of ATA (ATA will be available as a standalone solution)
  8. The EMS ‘Add On’ for ECAL SA will not include ATA, as the entitlement rights to ATA are included in the ECAL Suite.
  9. Price Increases for Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), Microsoft have increased the Core CAL Per User and Per Device ‘Add on’ by 27%, 15% for organisations buying a ‘Full’ USL, and 4% for organisations purchasing a From SA USL.
  10. There is no increase for EMS ECAL (Per User) ‘Add On’, (but a 7% increase on the EMS (Per Device) ‘Add On’).
  11. Microsoft have confirmed that Azure Rights Management Service (RMS), will be re-branded as Azure Rights Management Service Premium.
  12. Microsoft have sought to differentiate Information Rights Management (IRM) in Azure RMS Premium from the native IRM in Office365, by offering a new “Document Tracking” feature to allow tracked sharing of sensitive files. Microsoft will not be increasing the price of Azure RMS Premium, and this will continue to be available as a stand-alone service.
  13. Microsoft have  announced that MDOP  will now bundled into the Software Assurance for Windows, a tactical move to maintain Software Assurance (SA) business for organisations to maintain SA on Windows 10.
  14. The Windows SA price has been increased to match the ‘combined’ price of Windows SA and MDOP. This is represented as an 11% increase for Windows SA (Per User) USL due to the perceived value of MDOP
  15. The Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS) will benefit from the inclusion of ATA, Azure RMS Premium and MDOP.
  16. The Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS) price will increase by 5% for a ‘Full’ USL and 3% for a ‘From SA’ USL.
  17. Microsoft Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS) ‘Add On’ will also see price increases, with a 10% increase in (Per Device) Core CAL ‘Add On’, and 7% for the (Per User) Core CAL ‘Add On’ , 3% for the ECAL (Per Device) ‘Add On’, but notably a 11% decrease in ECS Per User ECAL ‘Add On’ to balance ECAL User CAL Price Increase.
  18.  Microsoft have also announced a licensing update to the ‘Bridge CAL’ for Office 365. Commonly providing access to on premise solutions including Windows Server CAL, System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) CAL, System Center EndPoint Protection (SCEP), and Windows Rights Management Services (RMS).
  19. The ‘Bridge CAL’ now includes Advanced Threat Analytics (ATA)
  20. Effective August 1st 2015, ‘Bridge CALs’ are only available on a Per User model. Microsoft state that the majority of ‘Bridge CALs’ are purchased on a Per User model, and this standardization would ensure a consistent ‘Per User’ licensing model for Office 365 .
  21. Microsoft have provided a ‘grace period’ under the Product List for current customers, to allow organisations to continue to purchase Per User ‘Bridge CALs’ based on their device count. This Product List exemption will provide a “per device rights extension” for the current term of the contract.
  22. Effective August 1st 2015, ‘Bridge CALs’ are only available as a Subscription. Microsoft have eliminated all License & Software Assurance (L&SA) and Software Assurance Only (SA) SKUs from the Product List. Microsoft have sought to consolidate the number of Bridge CALs by limiting to a Per User Subscription model, but notably, customers will only receive perpetual rights to the then-current version of the software at renewal. Upon renewal, organisations will no longer receive perpetual rights to the components of the Bridge CAL.
  23. Microsoft will maintain a Platform Discount for organisations that are eligible, but the ‘From SA’ MSU SKU will be price the same as ‘SA Only’ price providing price parity, but without a perpetual use right.
  24. Microsoft have also stated that New MSU will be cheaper than the L&SA ‘Added at Signing’ price (accounting for the 13% User CAL Increase), and an estimated 20% more than the ‘From SA’ MSU SKU.
  25. Effective July 1st – Microsoft combine PUR and Product List into Product Terms, new monthly release cadence. FAQs
  26. Microsoft has revealed that the final releases of Visual Studio 2015, Team Foundation Server 2015 and .NET Framework 4.6 will be available for download on 20 July http://t.co/wbLDxjbtO1

Your Microsoft Renewal

With these price increases in mind, and the business demand for cost savings, cost avoidance and mitigation of commercial risk, and effective vendor management require a systematic approach in your Microsoft renewal.  The requirement to develop an optimum software licensing strategy are increasingly complex. This includes, but is not limited to, vendor price increases and licensing updates, updated licensing models and metrics, proliferation of multiple device types, diverse user profiles, management of software demand, ‘bring your own device’ and work mobility. Considerations like desktop and application virtualization delivery models, complex virtual server environments and adoption of cloud services, have seen critical changes in licensing models from software vendors, and ongoing utilisation of licensing, pricing mechanisms and increased audit activity to drive customer purchasing behaviours increasingly require a pro-active and considered approach.

Accordingly, SoftwareONE have developed a specialist consultancy practice to enable you to take control of your Microsoft Strategy.

MAS SoftwareONE

Organisations often leverage independent consultancy services from within our consultancy practice to optimise their Microsoft Strategy, benefits including but not limited to:

  • Current State Microsoft Deployments and Optimum License Asset Assignment
  • SQL Discovery and Optimum License Asset Assignment
  • Roadmap Discovery and Advisory to assess Microsoft Services and Solution Alignment
  • Current and Planned Utilisation Timeline of Microsoft Technologies
  • Knowledge Transfer on Licensing, and Microsoft Solutions and Services
  • Cloud Readiness and Solution Workshops for Azure and Office 365
  • Optimised Commercial Investment Plan for Microsoft Solutions
  • Commercial Analysis and Benchmarking across Contracts and Global Pricelists
  • Assessment of Commercial Options versus Microsoft Strategic Objectives to advise on opportunities for Negotiation Advantage
  • Opportunities for Cost Savings and Cost Avoidance
  • Advise on recommended Vendor Disclosure and Negotiation Strategy
  • Managed Closure Support (If you elect to use SoftwareONE as a supplier)

If you would like to discuss our consultancy services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via the form below, or contact me directly.


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is Head of Microsoft Advisory Services at SoftwareONE

As always, If you would like to reach out for a coffee or a meeting under NDA, Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn

Tony lives with his wife in Oxford, England.


Disclaimer

  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Use Rights or Product List or Online Service Terms or other binding contractual documents
  • The Software Use Terms for each Product or Version are available within the Product Use Rights 
  • Further Product-Specific conditions, transition terms, or limitations on use of products, including soft benefits are in the Product List
  • Please be aware that any licensing, or product information could be subject to change.
  • This document confers no rights and is provided for information purposes only.
  • Please be aware, my own emphasis may have been added to quotations and extracts from 3rd party sources.
  • This is not official guidance from Microsoft or its subsidiaries.
  • The following article is based on open information shared with Licensing Solutions Providers (LSPs) and based on  personal inference and understanding.
  • This document is provided “as-is”. Information and views expressed in this document, including URL and other Internet Web site references, may change without notice. This document does not provide you with any legal rights to any intellectual property in any Microsoft product.
  • Please be aware that nothing in this document constitutes specific technical advice. Some of the material in this document may have been prepared some time ago and therefore may have been superseded. Specialist advice from the vendor should be taken in relation to specific circumstances.
  • The contents of this document are for general information purposes only. Whilst the author(s) endeavour to ensure that the information on this document is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and the primary author or it’s contributing Authors do not accept any liability for error or omission.
  • The contributing authors and owner of this document shall not be liable for any damage (including, without limitation, damage for loss of business or loss of profits) arising in contract, tort or otherwise from the use of, or inability to use, this website or any material contained in it, or from any action or decision taken as a result of using this website or any such material.
  • This Disclaimer is not intended to and does not create any contractual or other legal rights.

Windows 10 Overview (Updated)

Windows 10 Header

Executive Summary

On January 30th, Microsoft announced a ‘free upgrade’ offer to incentivise adoption of Windows 10 and promote development of a universal ecosystem. Many organisations may be assessing renewal of Windows Enterprise under an active Enterprise Agreement (EA) and are awaiting clarification on both product features of ‘Enterprise Edition’ and drivers for renewal of Software Assurance (SA). This article will cover current announced information with an aim to support commercial decision making when evaluating renewal of Windows on an Enterprise Agreement (EA).

  • Customers running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 , and Windows Phone 8.1 will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free for one year after launch.
  • Microsoft have announced “Qualified existing PCs running Windows 7 or greater” and that meet the hardware requirements for Windows 10 will be provided the opportunity to upgrade for free for up to one year after launch.
  • In every case, Microsoft will provide security and non-security fixes will continue for the supported life of Windows 10 on a monthly basis.
  • Consumers can receive latest feature updates and personal devices will stay current with the latest features, which are installed as they arrive via Windows Update.
  • SMBs are advised they may elect to opt-in to the consumer mechanism as well, or choose a level of support to delay innovation updates by up to 90 days so they can first be tested thoroughly in the market, or a “security and patches only” update model for long-term stability.
  • For enterprise customers, Windows Enterprise Edition is not included in ‘free’ 1st year offer http://bit.ly/1BHpvrW and would include Enterprise Features not included in other Editions. The upgrade path to new Editions is addressed in the Windows FAQs
  • Enterprise customers  will able to access enterprise-level support with a choice in how feature updates are adopted and delivered:
  •  CBB (Current Business Branch) Updates with market-tested updates, choosing to delay innovation updates by up to 90 days so they can first be tested thoroughly in the market. These will be accessible via Windows Update.
  •  LTSB (Long Term Servicing Branch) Updates without delivery of new features for the duration of mainstream support (5 years) and extended support (5 years). For organisations with complex change control processes, or mission critical systems, can elect to delay updates, only receiving security updates and critical fixes. These will be available via Windows Server Update Service (WSUS).
  • Software Assurance (SA) is expected to remain the primary commercial vehicle to enable extended software use rights for Windows and ongoing Windows 10 enterprise-specific support and feature updates.
  • Windows 10 will be released in “Summer” 2015  [http://goo.gl/zr8Z9p]

Current Business Branch (CBB)

  • Keep business users up-to-date while having flexibility to deploy updates after they have been tested in the market
  • Update user devices after features are validated in the consumer market but security updates continue as normal
  • IT can access even earlier for testing via Windows Insider Programme
  • Organisations can get access to the latest technology and value sooner
  • Importantly, also having time to plan and test the updates after they have been released to the broad market
  • IT can choose how  users’ devices are to be updated:
  • Windows Update for Business – validated updates delivered to professional systems after a deferral period, thus allowing admins to defer adoption of feature and security updates
  • WSUS (Windows Server Update Services) for control over how updates are deployed in your environment within the deferral time
  • Business that connect their devices to Windows Update for Business to see ‘reduction in management costs’, ‘quicker access to security updates’ and ‘critical fixes’ on an ongoing basis.

Long Term Servicing Branch (LTSB)

  • Long Term Servicing Branch (LTSB) provides long term support for mission critical systems. Now confirmed as available for Windows Enterprise Edition Only
  • Microsoft will declare a long term servicing branch (LTSB) wherein, customers will only receive security updates and critical fixes for duration of mainstream and extended support.
  •  LTSB provide security updates and critical fixes without delivery of new features for the duration of mainstream support (5 years) and extended support (5 years). For organisations with complex change control processes, or mission critical systems, can elect to delay updates, only receiving security updates and critical fixes. These will also available via Windows Server Update Service (WSUS).
  • Customers will also be able to move from upgrade from Long Term Servicing branch to new release via In Place Upgrade and even skip one release
  • Long Term Servicing Branches will be released periodically, including new features but less often than CBB releases.
  • Microsoft is committed to providing customers with reasonable notice before a Long Term Servicing branch is declared, in order to help with deployment planning.
  • Capability to move from back-and-forth Long Term Servicing branch (LTSB) to a Current Branch for Business (CBB) to stay up-to-date with latest feature updates; and alternatively, move back to LTSB
  • Microsoft plan to deliver their first Windows 10 LTSB in the same time frame as Windows 10 General Availability, but have not yet confirmed for the release date announced as 29th July 2015 

Windows 10 Update Options


Windows 10 Deployment Options

Whether electing to adopt Current Branch for Business (CBB) and Long Term Servicing Branch (LTS), decision choices required. Microsoft recommend to start profiling both user devices for these deployment options prior to announced General Availability (GA) expected in Q3 2015 [Ref: http://goo.gl/zr8Z9p]

Microsoft have announced the following deployment models available for Windows 10:

  • Managed In-Place Upgrade to avoid complex ‘wipe and reload’ deployment model.
  • Wipe and Load via Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK), Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT), and SCCM
  • Runtime Configuration that allows customisation of new devices without Imaging, i.e. Wi-Fi, VPN, and Email Profiles; Installation of Apps, Language Packs, Security Updates and certificates; and enforcement of Security Policies, MDM auto enrollment including Intune and 3rd Party MDM

Windows 10 Deployment


Windows Features and Editions

Microsoft have used Windows 10 as a strategic opportunity to provide a universal and consistent operating system across device form factors, and a consistent security platform, in what Microsoft consider as ‘fundamental’ features to respond to modern security threats. Microsoft are expected to deliver enterprise-specific features within Windows 10 ‘Enterprise’ Edition, but importantly, Microsoft will seek to enable business with Windows 10 integrated and connecting with Azure and Office 365 services.

Increasingly, Windows and Office are becoming a ‘traffic light’ that are ‘switched on’ with enterprise-grade features via subscription based cloud services. The announcement of LTSB and CBB update and support services are likely to underpin the business case for Software Assurance (SA) for enterprise customers. Windows Pro would likely be adopted by SMBs, who would be incentivised to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for ‘free’ within the first year after General Availability (GA). SMBs are advised they may elect to opt-in to the consumer mechanism as well, or choose a level of support to delay innovation updates by up to 90 days so they can first be tested thoroughly in the market, or a “security and patches only” update model for long-term stability.

In March 2014, Microsoft updated their channel policies with the implication that SA is only available when purchased with Windows Enterprise. After July 2014, organisations were unable to purchase Software Assurance (SA) and retrospectively assign to Windows OEM or retail purchases within 90 days, In addition, organisations are unable to purchase Windows Enterprise stand alone without SA under the Enterprise Agreement or MPSA volume licensing programmes.

[Ref: Windows Enterprise Upgrade Licensing FAQs, February 10, 2014]

Microsoft have not yet confirmed all the features of Windows Enterprise, but it should likely include the following features (to be confirmed):

  • Start Control | Application and layout control management via Group Policy
  • Windows To Go Creator | Allows the creation of Windows Enterprise on a bootable USB. Use of Windows To Go is enabled with active Software Assurance (SA)
  • DirectAccess |Allows remote users to  access  corporate network resources without launch of a separate VPN
  • BranchCache | Local user cache of files, websites and content  from central servers, to avoid repeated content downloads across the WAN
  • VDI Enhancements | Support for RemoteFX technology with Windows Server 2012 R2 to provide users a high definition RemoteApp and desktop experience, adjust screen resolution and orientation on demand, and Quick Reconnect to desktop quickly across LAN or WAN for different VDI scenarios.
  • AppLocker |Enables IT to specify what software is allowed to run on user devices through Group Policy
  • Windows App Store for Business | Support for enterprise side-loading of corporate LoB Apps in a private business store portal. Microsoft also promise a curated line up of business applications for Windows 10, Volume Licensing purchasing, with support for license reclaim.
  • Device Guard | Provides organisations with the ability to lock down devices, providing advanced malware protection against new and unknown malware variants as well as Advanced Persistent Threats (APT). This forms part of Microsoft’s strategy to deliver better security against malware and zero day attacks for Windows 10 with trusted apps—which are apps that are signed by specific software vendors, the Windows Store, or even your own organization. You’re in control of what sources Device Guard considers trustworthy and it comes with tools that can make it easy to sign Universal or even Win32 apps that may not have been originally signed by the software vendor. [Ref: https://goo.gl/1Rfvw3]
  • MDOP Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack  suite of technologies available as a subscription for Software Assurance customers. Now essentially ‘bundled’ for Enterprise EA/EAS or even MPSA customers who purchase Software Assurance for Windows Enterprise.

Windows 10 Feature Overview

Microsoft’s strategy is to establish Windows 10 as a universal and consistent platform across the PC, smart phone, tablet and a new Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem. Upon review of announced features, this would support displacement of  competitors in key aspects of end user computing, across Communications (Skype for consumers will be included with Windows 10) MDM, Security,VPN, Identity, IRM and Access Management. The requirement to ensure consistent offering and user experience across consumer, industry,  and corporate devices will drive consistent fundamental features across Windows Editions (to be confirmed updated below) :

  • App Security | A security feature that protects application functions running in system memory that can block vulnerability exploits
  • Trusted Boot | A component of the start up process that protects against rootkit attacks by protecting the core kernel and system drivers from malware
  • Windows and IE Smart Screen | A cloud connected service that will detect and block malicious sites and applications
  • NGC | Microsoft recently announced Windows 10 will support Next Generation Credentials (NGC) for Two Factor Authentication access https://t.co/xmvaedEit1
  • Enterprise Data Protection | Corporate Data Separation and Containment with persistent file level encryption and ‘basic’ information rights management. EDP is integrated, without segregated containers, folders or partitions with Windows 10 as ‘broker’ to gate user or app access at data level based on policies. Microsoft Enterprise Data Protection will identify, separate and protect corporate data without the need (in most cases) for ‘App Wrapping’. This will be enabled and integrated with Azure AD and  Rights Management Services. All Windows Devices will also benefit by support for full ‘Device Wipe
  • Microsoft continue to invest in the legacy support capabilities, termed ‘Enterprise Investments for IE 11’ reflected in prior ‘Enterprise Mode’ for IE 11 to support legacy web Apps that relied in IE8 behaviours
  • BitLocker | Full disk encryption, now enabled with SSO (Single Sign On) and protection from cold boot attacks. The need for a PIN has been removed. While BitLocker in Windows 7 was a driver for Enterprise Edition, BitLocker was strategically moved to Windows Pro, with MBAM remaining as part of MDOP
  • Windows Defender| Anti-Virus provided by Microsoft. If 3rd Party Anti-Virus is disabled by Anti-Malware or end of a subscription, Microsoft will remind the user for three days before switching on Windows Defender (ensuring security and displacing a competitor). Windows Defender is isolated to protect the configuration state from malware.

Microsoft have not yet recently confirmed all editions of Windows 10, my previous view was based on available options in Windows Imaging and Configuration Designer  (Windows ICD) this would include four flavours of Windows 10. Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows Mobile Enterprise targeted at large enterprise customers, while Windows Professional aimed at SMB. (There was also a Windows Home Edition and Windows Mobile firmly placed at Consumers). Microsoft have stepped up their game against Google with Windows Education to win with the next generation of millennials.

Windows Editions (Commercial)

Windows 10 Core and Industry offerings could represent an important strategic bet for Microsoft to entrench the Windows OS across the Internet of Things (IoT) connecting into Cloud Services.

  • Consistent UX, Universal App Platform and Enterprise Tools for managing and deploying across PCs,  Kiosks, Mobile Terminals, PoS, ATMs, Digital Signs, Thin Clients, Industry Tablets, Industry Robotics, Industry Medical Devices
  • APIs published for Developers for Networking Industry Standards and GPIO, I2C, SPI Support
  • ‘Granular’ control of User Experience (UX) on IoT devices for Line of Business (LoB) Applications including control of App Launching, ‘Write Filter’ to create read-only devices, supporting dedicated experience on User Role(s), and access to background access for running tasks, and APIs to control common system settings like Power Settings, Bluetooth.
  • Peripheral Support for Retail Including: MSR, Receipt Printer, Cash Drawer, Payment Terminal 3rd Party Support with UAP Drivers for Enterprise Customers to use a range of PoS devices, with continued legacy support for Unified PoS (.Net, OPoS, JavaPoS) for Win32 Apps 
  • For Example: PayPal Here for Surface http://goo.gl/TkIAv4
  • Supported by Microsoft Azure IoT Services (Event Hubs, Stream Analytics,, Machine Learning Studio, Notification Hubs, HD Insight) and PowerBI Pro

Windows SA Per User

Prior to General Availability of the Enterprise Cloud Suite and Windows SA Per User licensing Windows Client OS on any device under a per-user model was not an option. Microsoft have sought to align the commercial licensing vehicle to support a subscription model for Windows.

Microsoft now provide four new licensing options, a ‘full’ Windows SA Per User Subscription, a ‘full’ Windows VDA Per User Subscription and an Windows SA Per User ‘Add On’ Subscription and Windows SA Per User Migration 

Windows Per User

With the Windows SA Per User Subscription, organisations can license Windows Software Assurance on a per user basis. When the license is assigned primary user, the associated primary device must be licensed with a ‘qualifying OS’.

The Windows SA Per User ‘Add On’, provides the benefit of Windows Software Assurance per User, or Windows VDA per User, at a price point that recognizes existing ongoing investment. When the license is assigned to a primary user of a primary device that is already covered with active Software Assurance, the Windows Software Assurance per User Add-on grants the licensed user with all of the benefits of Windows Software Assurance per User. When you license the primary user of a primary device that is already covered with Windows VDA, the Windows Software Assurance per User Add-on grants the licensed user with all of the benefits of Windows VDA per User.

These Windows VDA Per User Subscription allows an organisation license Windows on a per user basis, and may be assigned to any user. Each licensed user has access to Windows Enterprise without the need to track the operating system license(s) on the user’s device(s), except for devices where the software is installed locally. This provides a user-centric licensing model, providing flexible options for organisations to deploy and access Windows across devices, and does provide improved license management for Windows.

The Windows SA Per User Migration  maintains the SA Only price point that is available to customers who own perpetual licenses with Software Assurance in an Enterprise Agreement (EA) or Select Agreement. Customers with active SA will receive special pricing for transition continuity, recognizing their equity investment in previous fully paid perpetual licenses. This is now available for existing renewal customers.

[Ref: Microsoft Price List Guide, December 2014]

Per Device vs. User Comparison

Enterprise Agreement Requirements

The Windows SA Per User Subscription for customers with an Enterprise Agreement (EA) should acquire Windows SA Per User for all “Qualified Users”

  • The “Qualified User” is defined in the Enterprise Agreement enrollment as “”‘Qualified User” means a person (e.g., employee, consultant, contingent staff) who: (1) is a user of a Qualified Device, or (2) accesses any server software requiring an Enterprise Product Client Access Licenseor any Enterprise Online Service. It does not include a person who accesses server software or an Online Service solely under a License identified in the Qualified User exemptions in the Product List.” [Ref: Enterprise Agreement Enrollment 2014]
  • “To understand what “user of a Qualified Device” means, “Qualified Device” means any device that is used by or for the benefit of Enrolled Affiliate’s Enterprise and is: (1) a personal desktop computer, portable computer, workstation, or similar device capable of running Windows Professional locally (in a physical or virtual operating system environment), or (2) a device used to access a virtual desktop infrastructure (“VDI”).
  • Qualified Devices do not include any device that is: (1) designated as a server and not used as a personal computer, (2) an Industry Device, or (3) not managed (as defined in the Product List at the start of the applicable initial or renewal term of the Enrollment) as part of Enrolled Affiliate’s Enterprise. At its option, the Enrolled Affiliate may designate any device excluded above (e.g., Industry Device) that is used by or for the benefit of the Enrolled Affiliate’s Enterprise as a Qualified Device for all or a subset of Enterprise Products or Online Services the Enrolled Affiliate has selected.”

[Ref: Enterprise Agreement Enrollment 2014]

  • The Microsoft define a ‘Primary User’ must be assigned to a License Device
  • The “Primary User” is defined as  “the user who uses a Windows Software Assurance, Windows Embedded Industry Software Assurance, or Windows VDA Licensed Device more than 50% of the time in any 90 day period.

[Ref: Product Use Rights, January 2015, Page 75]

Product Licensing Requirements

  • The Licensed Device must be ‘already licensed’ for a ‘Qualified Operating System‘ of Windows as defined in the Product List
  • The Windows SA Per User Subscription does not require Software Assurance for an assigned to the Licensed Device
  • Microsoft clarify that Windows can be locally installed in a Physical OSE on Windows Pro and Enterprise devices and additionally on “integrated” screens with a size of 10.1″ diagonally or less
  • The Windows SA Per User Add On does require Active Software Assurance or active VDA Subscription Per Device License for the Licensed Device
  • The Windows SA Per User Add On can only be purchased for the maximum number of available SA or Windows VDA Subscription
  • The ongoing software use rights acquired through the purchase of Add-on User Subscription Licenses will expire with the the expiration of the SA coverage for the Qualifying License(s), or at the end of the subscription term for the Add-On USLs.
  • The VDA Subscription License is recommended  for User Profiles without a primary work device, or not considered a “Primary User” under the Product Use Rights 

Decision Tree Windows SA

[Ref: Product List –  January 2015, Page 33–35][Ref: Product List –  January 2015, Page 34]

This diagram below provides an overall view of the licensing options for Windows Per User. (As always, please refer directly to binding documentation for confirmation), but this diagram attempts to capture different device profiles and respected software use rights:

Windows Per User Graphic


Final Summary

  • Microsoft have provided options for business to adopt new innovations, while balancing the need for notification and testing. Organisation can now choose a level of support to delay innovation updates by up to 90 days so they can first be tested thoroughly in the market, or a “security and patches only” update model for long-term stability.
  • The Windows 10 time limited upgrade offer will drive rapid adoption of Windows 10 in the short term, by removing initial cost of upgrade for the first year. Organisation should be aware that they may require an ongoing level of support, or ongoing access to new feature updates within CBB/LTSB releases that would require ongoing commitment to Software Assurance (SA).
  • Microsoft  will continue to leverage Software Assurance (SA) as a strategic tool to drive customer behaviors toward subscription purchasing, reflected in the CBB and LTSB update services and channel restrictions limiting procurement of Windows Enterprise with Software Assurance (SA) for EA and MPSA customers
  • Software Assurance (SA) is expected to remain the primary commercial vehicle to enable extended software use rights for Windows, and ongoing enterprise support and feature updates.
  • If an organisation is currently deploying Windows 8.1 , Microsoft recommend an in-place upgrade to Windows 10. For any devices running Windows 7, tablets are recommended to upgrade to Windows 8.1, while non-touch devices are upgraded to Windows 10.
  • The Windows SA USL licensing model secures the OEM business model by maintaining a licensing dependency on underlying device profile and ‘qualifying OS’.
  • Microsoft are incentivising adoption via the ‘free; upgrade offer, but provide some assurance that consumers will receive ongoing patches and security updates and that in every case, Microsoft will provide “security and non-security fixes” to continue for “the supported life of Windows 10” on a monthly basis. The cost of ‘free’ upgrade for the first year must be balanced by the ‘traffic light’ approach to Windows 10, connecting consumers to cloud services like Cortana, OneDrive, Office365, Skype, Outlook.com, Xbox Live, Xbox Music and Office Online, and Windows Store. It is worth reviewing the Windows FAQs prior to committing to upgrade by 29th July 2016
  • Windows 10 will be enabled for enterprise by advanced MDM features within System Center and Intune. Microsoft see a strategic advantage in a ‘single pane of glass’ admin console for both solutions, across user and device profiles, while ensuring support for competitor MDM solutions.
  • Windows 10 are making a strategic move into identity, with support for MSA, Active Directory and Azure AD. Microsoft will aim to drive adoption of Azure AD by offering Single Sign On (SSO) and identity and app data sync across devices.
  • Microsoft importantly are offering a hybrid approach to identity, recommending profiling of users and devices to assess utilisation of AD Group Policy and SCCM for some devices, while another group of devices will leverage Azure AD and Microsoft Intune, enabled by support for NGC and two factor authentication in Windows 10.
  • Organisations that want to enable IT users on personal devices, will be able to set up trusted device and conditional access policies, combined with ‘device registration’ to allow access to workplace services, enabled by Microsoft Intune and Azure AD.  ‘Azure AD Join’ enables users to join personal devices to Azure AD, accessing single sign on and management capabilities outside the core network.
  • Microsoft is making a critical strategic bet to drive rapid adoption, and a bold objective to have a universal OS and Universal Application platform across a wide range of device profiles, looking to capitalize on the rise of IoT, consumer and professional hybrid devices (via  new features line continuum and tablet mode) as well as win back core consumer and tech enthusiast support for the traditional desktop experience.
  • Organisations should be aware that the procurement decision on Windows will be connected to critical decisions around Updates, Management, Security,  Enterprise Mobility, including Identity, Access, IRM and MDM and whether solutions are on premise or integrated or connecting with cloud service offerings on Azure and Office 365, that will create further vendor “lock in”.
  • For wider review of Windows 10 and announcements, It’s also worth following

About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is Microsoft Advisory Services – Practice Lead at SoftwareONE

As always, If you would like to reach out for a coffee or a meeting under NDA, Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn

Tony lives with his wife in Oxford, England.


Disclaimer

  • The objective of this article is to review the publicly available documentation available on Windows 10
  • This will look at the publicly announced information as of March 2015.
  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Use Rights or Product List or Online Service Terms or other binding contractual documents
  • The Software Use Terms for each Product or Version are available within the Product Use Rights
  • Further Product-Specific conditions, transition terms, or limitations on use of products, including soft benefits are in the Product List
  • Please be aware that any licensing, or product information could be subject to change.
  • This document confers no rights and is provided for information purposes only.
  • Please be aware, my own emphasis may have been added to quotations and extracts from 3rd party sources.
  • This is not official guidance from Microsoft or its subsidiaries.
  • The following article is based on open information shared with Licensing Solutions Providers (LSPs) and based on  personal inference and understanding.
  • This document is provided “as-is”. Information and views expressed in this document, including URL and other Internet Web site references, may change without notice. This document does not provide you with any legal rights to any intellectual property in any Microsoft product.
  • Please be aware that nothing in this document constitutes specific technical advice. Some of the material in this document may have been prepared some time ago and therefore may have been superseded. Specialist advice from the vendor should be taken in relation to specific circumstances.
  • The contents of this document are for general information purposes only. Whilst the author(s) endeavour to ensure that the information on this document is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and the primary author or it’s contributing Authors do not accept any liability for error or omission.
  • The contributing authors and owner of this document shall not be liable for any damage (including, without limitation, damage for loss of business or loss of profits) arising in contract, tort or otherwise from the use of, or inability to use, this website or any material contained in it, or from any action or decision taken as a result of using this website or any such material.
  • This Disclaimer is not intended to and does not create any contractual or other legal rights.

Microsoft UK Public Sector Cloud Transformation Agreement

Microsoft on G Cloud

The objective of this article is to review the publicly available documentation available on Public Sector Cloud Transformation Agreement (CTA)

This will look at the publicly announced information as of March 1st 2015.

  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Use Rights or Product List or Online Service Terms or other binding contractual documents
  • The Software Use Terms for each Product or Version are available within the Product Use Rights
  • Further Product-Specific conditions, transition terms, or limitations on use of products, including soft benefits are in the Product List
  • Please be aware that any licensing information could be subject to change. This document confers no rights and is provided for information purposes only.
  • Please be aware, my own emphasis may have been added to quotations and extracts from 3rd party sources.
  • This is not official guidance from Microsoft or its subsidiaries.
  • The following article is based on the open telecon briefing with Licensing Solutions Providers (LSPs) and based on only personal understanding.
  • As always, If you would like to book a consultation, available under NDA, please drop me a note via email

Microsoft UK Public Sector Cloud Transformation Agreement

Microsoft have informed Licensing Solution Providers (LSPs) over telecon that PSA12 will expire naturally on April 30th 2015 .

As Microsoft continue to adopt pricing and licensing models to incentivise adoption of cloud based subscription services, Microsoft have agreed a ‘cloud-first’ offer with the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) on behalf of Public Sector organisations in the UK and confirmed expiration of the PSA12 framework on April 30th 2015. The Microsoft Cloud Transformation Agreement (CTA) will be effective May 1st 2015, and is a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Crown Commercial Service.

What was PSA12?

  • PSA12 was a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government Procurement Service (GPS),  and was an amended continuation of PSA09 contractual concessions and discounts in effect until June 30th 2012.
    •This included update to the eligibility criteria and with reference to a ‘Contracting Authority’
    •The Contract Pack (N39) was retired and replaced with standard Microsoft Contracts with Public Sector concessions in accompanying Amendments
    1st July 2012 – 30th April 2015:
    •PSA12 took effect on July 1st 2012, replacing the PS09 discounting structure with a PSA12 Price List
    •An annual inflation increase was applied to the PSA12 Price List in April of each subsequent year of the framework based on the ONS CPI published in the preceding September
  • From July 1 2012, PSA12 was amended to include Social Enterprise and Charitable Organisations in the Eligibility Criteria
  • Microsoft also made changes to its Academic eligibility criteria for only qualifying Academic organisations and Charities with over 10% donations will be eligible to purchase via Academic Volume Agreement(s), this 3rd sector re-segmentation ‘pulled’ some organisations out of Academic and into PSA12

What Should I do?

This change will not immediately impact organisations with an active Enterprise Agreement (EA) or Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EAS) under PSA12 framework, but organisations should work with a trusted advisor to assess both optimum technology and licensing strategy for Microsoft solutions and services going forward.

The CTA (Cloud Transformation Agreement) will provide a timeline for adoption of Cloud Services, and offer commercial licensing mechanisms and pricing to incentivise adoption of Microsoft Cloud Services like Office365 and the Azure Platform. Microsoft are careful to communicate that Public Sector Customers will be provided sufficient time to assess, and where applicable migrate to public, hybrid and private cloud solutions from Microsoft, incentivised by strategic commercial vehicles like the Enterprise Cloud Suite to adopt Office365 and Azure Services.

It is recommended, working with experienced advisor(s), that organisations should access the following information to make an informed decision over the coming months:

  • Knowledge Transfer on Microsoft Solutions and Services and Microsoft Strategy Update
  • Critical Knowledge Transfer on Microsoft Licensing (Workshop)
  • Confirmation of current License Entitlement and Maintenance Entitlement
  • Cloud Service Solution Alignment, and Technical Validation
  • Assessment of Current and Planned Utilisation of Microsoft Software and Services
  • Predictive Software Lifecycle Management and End of Life (EoL) Planning and Migration Services for Products exiting Extended Support i.e. Windows Server 2003
  • Optimised Microsoft Roadmap and Commercial Investment Plan, Migration Planning, for Microsoft Solutions and Services
  • Assessment of Commercial Options versus Microsoft Strategic Objectives
  • Comparative Commercial Analysis across Contracts and Price Lists
  • Leverage any available Co-Investment Funds or Deployment Planning Services (DPS)
  • Managed Closure Support and Closure Plan with Microsoft Global Account Manager and Operations Team.
  • Work with a Supplier authorised under an applicable Government Framework like G-Cloud 
  • Carefully assess whether to enter an Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EAS) during the CTA ‘Transition Window’

SoftwareONE, as an authorised Licensing Solution Provider (LSP), are an authorised supplier on the G-Cloud framework [Ref: SoftwareONE G-Cloud Press Release] and work with Public Sector organisations to provide independent consultancy services to advise on an optimum technology and licensing strategy for Microsoft solutions and services.


Commercial Options at Renewal for On Premise Software

EA Renewals (expiring prior to April 30th)

  • Customers with active EA or EAS Renewal prior to April 30th will still be able to sign an on-premise Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EAS) or Enterprise Agreement (EA) for on premise software under PSA12 for three years.
    • Commercial pricing incentive offers for Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS) and Server Cloud Enrollment (SCE)

EA Renewals (after April 30th)

  • Customers with active EA or EAS Renewal after April 30th will be able to sign an on-premise Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EAS) for on premise software on comparable pricing terms
  • Microsoft will also provide “transition window” with commercial G-Cloud pricing incentive for Office365, Intune, Windows Per User, Enterprise Cloud Suite “Add Ons”
    • Commercial pricing incentive offer for Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS) and Server Cloud Enrollment (SCE)
    • Customers can no longer sign an Enterprise Agreement (EA) after April 30th and can only sign under the comparable EAS only (see above)
    • Microsoft will provide customers with an opportunity to renew on-premise software for one renewal term, providing ‘time to transition to cloud services’
    • The new CTA arrangement, will provide an initial ‘transition window’ and ‘extended transition window’ until 30th June 2017.
    • Organisations with renewals in the following 2018 financial year may likely be able to access ‘early commit’ (subject to approval).
    • This agreement timeline provides a window of ‘discount certainty’ for on premise software, while providing commercial incentive to adopt private, hybrid and public cloud solutions and services from Microsoft.

Government Select Plus Customers

  • Select Plus for Government will be available after April 30th 2015
    • We understand that Government customers procure under Select Plus Government “Level D”
    • Select Plus Government Level D pricing will cost more than current Select Plus Government PSA12
    • The Select Plus for Government will not expire on July 1st 2015
  • Microsoft Product and Services Agreement (MPSA) has been extended with Government and Academic Purchasing Accounts Types from March 1st [Ref: MPSA Licensing Guide: ]
  • Customers that do not have an active Enterprise Agreement (EA) for on premise software can sign a perpetual EA enrollment until June 30th 2015
    • Commercial pricing incentive offer for Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS) and Server Cloud Enrollment (SCE)
    • Customers may elect to purchase an EA for the desktop environment, and SCE for SQL, Windows Server and System Center
      • If the customer does not accept ‘Enterprise Wide’ term of this SCE agreement, this could be approached as “Additional Product” on EA
      • Customers may alternatively sign a renewal via a 3 year Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EAS) on PSA12 for three years
      • Commercial pricing incentive for Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS) and Server Cloud Enrollment (SCE)
      • Sign a new Select Plus Government to renew existing with Software Assurance under PSA12
  • Microsoft Product and Services Agreement (MPSA) has been extended with Government and Academic Purchasing Accounts Types from March 1st [Ref: MPSA Licensing Guide: ]
  • The normal sales motion will offer organisations to sign an on-premise Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EAS) for on premise software on comparable pricing terms
    • Microsoft will also provide “transition window” with commercial G-Cloud pricing incentive for Office365, Intune, Windows Per User, Enterprise Cloud Suite “Add Ons”
    • Commercial pricing incentive offer for Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS) and Server Cloud Enrollment (SCE)
    • Microsoft will provide customers with an opportunity to renew on-premise software for one renewal term, providing ‘time to transition to cloud services’
    • The new CTA arrangement, will provide an initial ‘transition window’ and ‘extended transition window’ until 30th June 2017.

Select Government Renewals (expiring prior to April 30th)

  • Microsoft recommend that customers with commitment to perpetual licenses with active SA, are able to renew a perpetual EA under PSA12 for three years
    • This provides the best pricing available for perpetual licensing model under PSA12
    • Commercial pricing incentive offer for Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS) and Server Cloud Enrollment (SCE)

Select Government renewals (after April 30th)

For organisations that do not actively purchase software under an active Enterprise Agreement (EA) or Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EAS):

  • Customers will be able to purchase under an Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EAS) on comparable pricing fixed discount terms until June 30th 2015
    • Commercial pricing offer incentive for Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS) and Server Cloud Enrollment (SCE)
  • Customers who elect not to commit to an Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EAS) prior to June 30th 2015, will then be able to purchase on Select Plus Government “Level D” after April 30th
    • Select Plus Government Level D pricing will cost more than current Select Plus Government PSA12
    • Commercial pricing incentive offer for Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS) and Server Cloud Enrollment (SCE) and what Microsoft term “Customer Considerations”
  • Microsoft Product and Services Agreement (MPSA) has been extended with Government and Academic Purchasing Accounts Types from March 1st [Ref: MPSA Licensing Guide: ] [Ref: Microsoft Announcement: ]
  • Customers that do not have an active Enterprise Agreement (EA) for on premise software can sign a perpetual EA enrollment until June 30th 2015

Next Steps

Sign Up to the SoftwareONE Public Sector Advisory Webinar on To Be Scheduled – Please Email or drop your details in the form below if you would like to be sent an invitation or arrange an onsite meeting with our Principal Consultants.


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is Head of Microsoft Advisory Services at SoftwareONE

As always, If you would like to reach out for a coffee or a meeting under NDA, Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn

Tony lives with his wife in Oxford, England.


Disclaimer

This document is provided “as-is”. Information and views expressed in this document, including URL and other Internet Web site references, may change without notice. This document does not provide you with any legal rights to any intellectual property in any Microsoft product.

Please be aware that nothing in this document constitutes specific technical advice. Some of the material in this document may have been prepared some time ago and therefore may have been superseded. Specialist advice from the vendor should be taken in relation to specific circumstances.

The contents of this document are for general information purposes only. Whilst the author(s) endeavour to ensure that the information on this document is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and the primary author or it’s contributing Authors do not accept any liability for error or omission.

The contributing authors and owner of this document shall not be liable for any damage (including, without limitation, damage for loss of business or loss of profits) arising in contract, tort or otherwise from the use of, or inability to use, this website or any material contained in it, or from any action or decision taken as a result of using this website or any such material.

This Disclaimer is not intended to and does not create any contractual or other legal rights.

Enterprise Cloud Suite Licensing Guide

The objective of this article is to review the publicly available documentation available on Enterprise Cloud Suite

This will look at the publicly available information upon general availability on December 1st 2014

  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Use Rights or Product List or other binding contractual documents
  • The Use Rights or Terms of Service for each Product or Version are available within the Product Use Rights
  • Further product-specific conditions or limitations on use of products are in the Product List
  • Please be aware that any licensing information could be subject to change. This document confers no rights and is provided for information purposes only.
  • Please be aware, my own emphasis may have been added to quotations and extracts from 3rd party sources.
  • As always, If you would like to book a consultation, available under NDA, please drop me a note via email

Executive Summary

  • The Enterprise Cloud Suite combines three strategic elements for Microsoft to drive adoption of Office 365, Enterprise Mobility Suite, Windows Desktop OS under a consistent Per User subscription model for the desktop
  • Windows offers a compelling Per User licensing model, but organisations should continue to track device profiles and associated underlying Windows device licenses
  • The Enterprise Cloud Suite will enable remote home working and BYOD scenarios for organisation who opt to deliver a consistent Windows experience  via a VM-based VDI (dedicated image) or VM-based VDI (shared image) delivery model to a range of device profiles.
  • The Enterprise Cloud Suite will be offered at a  advantageous price to incentivise adoption, driving ‘strategic bets’ for Windows 10, Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility Suite.
  • The Enterprise Cloud Suite is available on the Enterprise Agreement (EA) and Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EAS). Customers should understand the impact of revised True Up reporting within November 2014 contracts.

Enterprise Cloud Suite Overview

Microsoft made Enterprise Cloud Suite generally available to  Enterprise Agreement customers December 1st 2014

The updated EA purchasing vehicle  combines three strategic elements for Microsoft to drive adoption of Office 365, Enterprise Mobility Suite, Windows Desktop OS under a consistent User Subscription Licensing Model.

The ‘Cloud Desktop Platform’ packages strategic objectives for Productivity and Cloud Services with Management across Devices

Cloud Desktop

  • Microsoft Intune provides a unified Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile Application Management (MAM) across PCs and devices. This now includes management of Office Mobile Apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) for iOS devices and restrict actions such as copy, cut, and paste outside of the managed app ecosystem.
  • Azure Active Directory Premium (AADP) provides User Identity and Federation via Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) to enable pass through authentication with SSO experience from on premise AD to cloud service providers like Office365 and Salesforce.com. Acting as a identity broker for SaaS Apps with support for Multi Factor Authentication (MFA).
  • Later this will include Microsoft Identity Manager (MIM) in H1 2015 as an on-prem Identity and Access Management (IAM)
  • Azure Rights Management Services enabling Information Rights Management (IRM) for  Office365 Services and On Premise SharePoint, Exchange and Windows Server File Services.

EMS

  • Microsoft Office365 Enterprise E3 is a flagship SaaS subscription offering of Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and the Lync Online, Yammer and Office365 Pro Plus

Office365

Windows Enterprise and SA

This represents a move from Microsoft to provide a consistent Per User licensing vehicle to enable a future ‘Cloud Desktop’ service offering. While Windows will be integrated with cloud services running on the Azure Platform; Whether the Windows service will be reflected in a consistent subscription based commercial model for Windows 10 remains to be seen.

Cloud Desktop


Windows SA Per User

Prior to General Availability of the Enterprise Cloud Suite and Windows SA Per User licensing Windows Client OS on any device under a per-user model was not an option.

Microsoft now provide four licensing options, a ‘full’ Windows SA Per User Subscription, a ‘full’ Windows VDA Per User Subscription and an Windows SA Per User ‘Add On’ Subscription and Windows SA Per User Migration 

Windows Per User

With the Windows SA Per User Subscription, organisations can license Windows Software Assurance on a per user basis. When the license is assigned primary user, the associated primary device must be licensed with a ‘qualifying OS’.

The Windows SA Per User ‘Add On’, provides the benefit of Windows Software Assurance per User, or Windows VDA per User, at a price point that recognizes existing ongoing investment. When the license is assigned to a primary user of a primary device that is already covered with active Software Assurance, the Windows Software Assurance per User Add-on grants the licensed user with all of the benefits of Windows Software Assurance per User. When you license the primary user of a primary device that is already covered with Windows VDA, the Windows Software Assurance per User Add-on grants the licensed user with all of the benefits of Windows VDA per User.

These Windows VDA Per User Subscription allows an organisation license Windows on a per user basis, and may be assigned to any user. Each licensed user has access to Windows Enterprise without the need to track the operating system license(s) on the user’s device(s), except for devices where the software is installed locally. This provides a user-centric licensing model, providing flexible options for organisations to deploy and access Windows across devices, and does provide improved license management for Windows.

The Windows SA Per User Migration  maintains the SA Only price point that is available to customers who own perpetual licenses with Software Assurance in an Enterprise Agreement (EA) or Select Agreement. Customers with active SA will receive special pricing for transition continuity, recognizing their equity investment in previous fully paid perpetual licenses. This is now available for existing renewal customers.

[Ref: Microsoft Price List Guide, December 2014]

Per Device vs. User Comparison

Enterprise Agreement Requirements

The Windows SA Per User Subscription for customers with an Enterprise Agreement (EA) should acquire Windows SA Per User for all “Qualified Users”

  • The “Qualified User” is defined in the Enterprise Agreement enrollment as “”‘Qualified User” means a person (e.g., employee, consultant, contingent staff) who: (1) is a user of a Qualified Device, or (2) accesses any server software requiring an Enterprise Product Client Access License or any Enterprise Online Service. It does not include a person who accesses server software or an Online Service solely under a License identified in the Qualified User exemptions in the Product List.” [Ref: Enterprise Agreement Enrollment 2014]
  • “To understand what “user of a Qualified Device” means, “Qualified Device” means any device that is used by or for the benefit of Enrolled Affiliate’s Enterprise and is: (1) a personal desktop computer, portable computer, workstation, or similar device capable of running Windows Professional locally (in a physical or virtual operating system environment), or (2) a device used to access a virtual desktop infrastructure (“VDI”).
  • Qualified Devices do not include any device that is: (1) designated as a server and not used as a personal computer, (2) an Industry Device, or (3) not managed (as defined in the Product List at the start of the applicable initial or renewal term of the Enrollment) as part of Enrolled Affiliate’s Enterprise. At its option, the Enrolled Affiliate may designate any device excluded above (e.g., Industry Device) that is used by or for the benefit of the Enrolled Affiliate’s Enterprise as a Qualified Device for all or a subset of Enterprise Products or Online Services the Enrolled Affiliate has selected.”

[Ref: Enterprise Agreement Enrollment 2014]

  • The Microsoft define a ‘Primary User’ must be assigned to a License Device
  • The “Primary User” is defined as  “the user who uses a Windows Software Assurance, Windows Embedded Industry Software Assurance, or Windows VDA Licensed Device more than 50% of the time in any 90 day period.

[Ref: Product Use Rights, January 2015, Page 75]

Product Licensing Requirements

  • The Licensed Device must be ‘already licensed’ for a ‘Qualified Operating System‘ of Windows as defined in the Product List
  • The Windows SA Per User Subscription does not require Software Assurance for an assigned to the Licensed Device
  • Microsoft clarify that Windows can be locally installed in a Physical OSE on Windows Pro and Enterprise devices and additionally on “integrated” screens with a size of 10.1″ diagonally or less
  • The Windows SA Per User Add On does require Active Software Assurance or active VDA Subscription Per Device License for the Licensed Device
  • The Windows SA Per User Add On can only be purchased for the maximum number of available SA or Windows VDA Subscription
  • The ongoing software use rights acquired through the purchase of Add-on User Subscription Licenses will expire with the the expiration of the SA coverage for the Qualifying License(s), or at the end of the subscription term for the Add-On USLs.
  • The VDA Subscription License is recommended  for User Profiles without a primary work device, or not considered a “Primary User” under the Product Use Rights 

Decision Tree Windows SA

[Ref: Product List –  January 2015, Page 33–35][Ref: Product List –  January 2015, Page 34]

This diagram below provides an overall view of the licensing options for Windows Per User. (As always, please refer directly to binding documentation for confirmation), but this diagram attempts to capture different device profiles and respected software use rights:

Windows Per User Graphic

Complexity of the Per Device Model

Please be aware that the Per User model is not completely abstracted from the device profile, or the requirement underlying licenses assigned to those devices.

  • It does comparatively offer less complexity when managing home workers accessing VDI from a personal device and the associated risk of unlicensed access to a virtual desktop or walking their personal devices onto the organisation premises, something restricted under the “Roaming Use Right”.
  • Adopting the Windows Per User Subscription Model without also adopting Office365 Pro Plus on a Per User Subscription Model could lead to commercial risk from non compliance.
  • For example, if a user is assigned with a Windows SA Per User Subscription, but continues to access Office Pro Plus 2013 off-premise, relying on the ‘Roaming Use Right’ available as part of Software Assurance, this would not impact the ‘Qualified Device’ count. However, should the user walk that personal device onto organisation premises, it may inadvertently ‘pull through’ a requirement to license an extended number of devices under the ‘Qualified Device’ definition.
  • Microsoft state “Roaming Use” can be used on ‘Qualifying Third Party Device’ defined by Microsoft as “a device that is not controlled, directly or indirectly, by you or your affiliates”. Organisations should be aware of the definition of “management of qualified devices” as defined in the Product List to include domain join, on premise authentication to use applications, or install of agents to enforce anti-virus, anti-malware, enforcement of group policies, or receives data about, and, configures, or gives instruction the OS on a device, or access to Windows in a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) outside of the off-premise “Roaming Use Right”. [Ref: Product Use Rights, January 2015, Page 9] [Ref: Product List, January 2015, Page 84]

The complexity of managing  home working VDI and uncontrolled BYOD scenarios drives the business case for a consistent Per User licensing model. Microsoft will continue to incentivise procurement under the Per User licensing model available for solutions and services within the Office365 and Azure portfolio to drive adoption of a ‘cloud desktop’ under a subscription or relational procurement model.

Windows Per Device Graphic


The Enterprise Cloud Suite

Microsoft now provide three licensing options on the price list to purchase the Enterprise Cloud Suite  a ‘full’ Cloud Desktop Per User, a Cloud Desktop Add On and an Cloud Desktop From SA 

  • The Enterprise Cloud Suite User Subscription License (USL) or Cloud Desktop Per User includes Office 365 Plan E3, the Enterprise Mobility Suite  (EMS) and Windows Enterprise SA per User.
  • The Enterprise Cloud Suite Add-on or Cloud Desktop Add On can be added on to a Platform EA (which includes Office Pro Plus, Windows Enterprise and either the ECAL or Core CAL).
  • The Enterprise Cloud Suite From SA User Subscription License (USL)  or Cloud Desktop From SA provides the same functionality as the full priced Enterprise Cloud Suite USL, but at a beneficial price point for customers who own perpetual licenses with Software Assurance in an Enterprise Agreement (EA).  Customers with active SA will receive an better price point incentivise transition continuity, and recognize existing equity investment in previous fully paid perpetual licenses.  This is now available for existing renewal customers
  • Customers that see Lync Voice as a part of their future roadmap, may purchase the Lync Voice Add-On. While the Lync Voice Add-On is available from December 2014, Microsoft are careful to stipulate that no provisioning will take place upon procurement of the license.

Lync Voice Add On


The Impact of 2014 Contracts

In November 2014, Microsoft updated contract packs for the Enterprise Agreement (EA), Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EAS) and Server Cloud Enrollment (SCE).

Enterprise Agreement with Add Ons

  • Microsoft have aligned the Enterprise Plan E1, Enterprise Plan E3, Enterprise Plan E4, Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), and Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS) Add-Ons as “Enterprise Online Services”.
  • This will enable organisations to enroll a subset of users into a Per User licensing model or transition users over the contract term without committing Enterprise-Wide at outset of contract.
  • Microsoft continue to offer a ‘Platform’ SKU to incentivise ‘front loading’ a contract.
  • The Lync Voice Add-On is currently aligned as an ‘Additional Product’ enabling ‘price lock’ and not categorizing Lync Voice as an ‘Enterprise Online Service’.

Enterprise Online Services Only EA

  • Organisations that sign an Enterprise Agremeent (EA) or Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EAS) for ‘Enterprise Online Services Only EA‘ must meet the minimum order requirements of the respective enrollment of 250 Enterprise Online Services USLs, including Enterprise Plan E1, Enterprise Plan E3, Enterprise Plan E4, Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), and Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS), From SA and Full USLs  and Microsoft Intune Full USLs but no enterprise-wide commitment is required.
  • Enterprise Online Services can be reduced to a minimum of 250 USLs at Anniversary
  • Notably, All ‘Additional Products’ are eligible to be added to the contract

True Up Policy

A principle impact to organisations will be in the approach to the annual True Up. Updated wording in the contracts could significantly impact customers that have seasonal or other annual deployment fluctuations to impact the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement

This new approach, effective for customers signing the revised contracts is defined as follows for the Enterprise Agreement enrollment:

“True-up Requirements. Enrolled Affiliate must submit an annual true-up order that accounts for any changes since the initial order or last order. If there are no changes, then an update statement must be submitted instead of a true-up order.

(i) Enterprise Products. For Enterprise Products, Enrolled Affiliate must determine the number of Qualified Devices and Qualified Users (if ordering user-based Licenses) at the time the true-up order is placed and must order additional Licenses for all Qualified Devices and Qualified Users that are not already covered by existing Licenses, including any Enterprise Online Services.

(ii) Additional Products. For Additional Products that have been previously ordered under this Enrollment, Enrolled Affiliate must determine the maximum number of Additional Products used since the latter of the initial order, the last true-up order or the prior anniversary date and submit a true-up order that accounts for any increase.”

For the counting of Enterprise Products, the wording in the enrollment does have an apparent conflict, that accounts for “any changes” over the term or since the last anniversary, but later also under the term Enterprise Products “at the time the true-up order is placed”.

Taken in a wider context for customers renewing other enrollments, this tactical editing of the November 2014 also extends to the Server Cloud Enrollment :-

“(ii) True-up order. Enrolled Affiliate must determine the maximum number of Products used since the latter of the initial order the last true-up order, or the Enrollment’s prior anniversary and submit a true-up order that accounts for any increase.” [Ref: Server Cloud Enrollment 2014]

This approach has been reflected in other guidance, including deployment of the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit (MAP):

“The Microsoft Assessment Planning (MAP) Toolkit features an IT-based Software Usage Tracker functionality that provides usage reports for the following server products: Windows Server, Exchange Server, SQL Server, SharePoint Server, and System Center Configuration Manager. This automated software asset management–related functionality is designed to be used by Microsoft Volume Licensing customers. The Software Usage Tracker provides you with a view of your actual server usage, which can be valuable for comparing with your purchased CALs, or for True-up and agreement renewal discussions.” [Ref: EA Program Guide]

This change in written terminology may incentivise Microsoft to request metering of use over the contract term, or final year of a contract, to ascertain ‘maximum use’ therein driving revenues from final year True Up and subsequent renewal; underwriting the business case to move workloads to Azure

The application of this term may be applied inconsistently by Microsoft, I would recommend an agreed approach to True Up with your respective Licensing Solution Provider (LSP).


Final Thoughts

The Enterprise Cloud Suite, as a commercial licensing vehicle provides a consistent Per User licensing metric across the desktop environment and “pulls through” Windows onto a subscription procurement model. This combined suite provides an incentivised price point to drive adoption and enable the strategy for a ‘Cloud Desktop’ delivering user-centric services from Azure.  This is reflected by the recent announcements for Windows 10 that will extend Windows as a ‘universal’ platform across device profiles for Office365 and Azure services.

The licensing model ensures securement OEM licensing business model by limiting abstraction from the device profile, or the requirement for underlying Windows licenses assigned to those devices . Microsoft  continue to leverage volume licensing as a strategic tool to drive customer behaviors toward subscription services and this will continue in 2015.

Organisations should review their current and planned utilisation of Microsoft Solutions and Services to evaluate alignment with the strategic objectives of their Microsoft Account Team. Microsoft will align personnel and resources to support customers that move toward Azure and Office365 but are enabled by the 2014 contract structure to secure short term revenue generation through True Up or via Audit.

Microsoft Advisory Services

SoftwareONE provide independent consultancy services from within our Microsoft Advisory Services to optimise our clients Microsoft Strategy, including but not limited to the following benefits:

  • Knowledge Transfer on Microsoft Solutions and Services, and Licensing, from Principal Consultants from our Microsoft Advisory Practice and Technical Solutions Division
  • Confirmation of current License Entitlement and Maintenance Entitlement
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  • Commercial Analysis across Contracts and Global Pricelists
  • Assessment of Commercial Options versus Microsoft Strategic Objectives to ascertain opportunities for Negotiation Advantage
  • Managed closure support with Microsoft Global Account Manager

About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is Microsoft Advisory Services – Practice Lead at SoftwareONE

As always, If you would like to reach out for a coffee or a meeting under NDA, Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn

Tony lives with his wife in Oxford, England.


Disclaimer

This document is provided “as-is”. Information and views expressed in this document, including URL and other Internet Web site references, may change without notice. This document does not provide you with any legal rights to any intellectual property in any Microsoft product.

Please be aware that nothing in this document constitutes specific technical advice. Some of the material in this document may have been prepared some time ago and therefore may have been superseded. Specialist advice from the vendor should be taken in relation to specific circumstances.

The contents of this document are for general information purposes only. Whilst the author(s) endeavour to ensure that the information on this document is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and the primary author or it’s contributing Authors do not accept any liability for error or omission.

The contributing authors and owner of this document shall not be liable for any damage (including, without limitation, damage for loss of business or loss of profits) arising in contract, tort or otherwise from the use of, or inability to use, this website or any material contained in it, or from any action or decision taken as a result of using this website or any such material.

This Disclaimer is not intended to and does not create any contractual or other legal rights.

SQL 2014 Licensing Update

The objective of this article is to review the publicly available documentation available on SQL Server.

  • This will look at the publicly available information upon general availability for SQL 2014 on April 1st 2014
  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Use Rights or Product List or other binding contractual documents
  • The Use Rights or Terms of Service for each Product or Version are available within the Product Use Rights
  • Further product-specific conditions or limitations on use of products are in the Product List
  • Please be aware that any licensing information could be subject to change. This document confers no rights and is provided for information purposes only.
  • Please be aware, my own emphasis may have been added to quotations and extracts from 3rd party sources.
  • As always, If you would like to book a consultation, available under NDA , please drop me a note via email

 


The Challenge

The objective of this article is to review the publicly available documentation  on SQL Server to support clients whom continue to deploy  prior release(s) of SQL but want to understand the implications of the release of SQL 2014. This will look at a high conceptual level at the impact to disaster recovery and deployment of SQL instances on Virtual Machines (VMs) to establish the key recommendations to implement in your organisation.

 

Key Findings

Understanding Which Software Use Terms Apply

It is recommended that an organisation should be aware of when a particular Product Specific License Terms should be applicable. This can be incredibly useful in understand whether current deployment footprint falls within the SQL 2008 R2, 2012 or 2014 licensing schema.

  • Product Use Rights for the originally licensed version and edition apply even when adopting downgrade or cross-edition deployment rights.
  • Upon upgrade from a prior version, the Product Use Rights for the version running apply, subject to exception from the Product List.
  • The Product Use Rights in effect on the effective date of an Enterprise Enrollment will apply to the use of the then-current versions until upgrade to a new version.
  • Upon upgrade, the Product Use Rights in effect upon General Availability (GA) will apply.
  • In both cases, If Microsoft elect to update a subsequent release of the Product Use Rights, the software use terms will not apply unless they are elected to by the customer.
  • For customers that elect to leverage downgrade rights, the Product Use Rights for the version licensed, not the version running will apply.
  • Microsoft do caveat that should a legacy product have components not are not part of the version licensed, any Product Use Rights specific to those components will apply.

 

A Question of Support

Standard Edition technical specifications continue to improve with the release of SQL 2014, raising the physical memory maximum of 128 GB, representing double the previous maximum utilisation (see table below for a full comparison)The increased memory capacity, combined with a public mainstream support roadmap for SQL 2014 until July 9th 2019, and an estimated release cycle of 2 years would support confidence in continued investment in the edition and Software Assurance (SA). Customers that continue to run legacy versions 2008 R2 and 2008, should be aware of the termination of mainstream support on July 9th 2014 and termination of extended support on July 9th 2019.

image

The Critical Value of SA

Microsoft continue to drive the business case for Software Assurance (SA) through the incremental evolution in the licensing schema for virtualization rights.

  • The principal business driver for Software Assurance (SA) is not ‘New Version Rights’ but enablement of dynamic reassignment of licenses within a datacentre, to the Azure platform or an approved hosting partner.
  • The SQL ‘Failover Rule’ is now included within Software Assurance (SA);
    • Under prior precedent, a primary licensed server would include an extended use right to run a secondary passive SQL instance in a separate OSE, and also provide temporary support during a failover event (commonly interpreted as 30 days) in a secondary unlicensed server.
    • Upon release of SQL 2014, the extended use right to operate a passive instance was incorporated into Software Assurance (SA) and Microsoft confirmed a requirement for license reassignment at point of failover.
    • Upon expiration of Software Assurance (SA), the passive instances would become licensable.
    • The requirement for Software Assurance (SA) extends to all SQL CALs when adopting a Server/CAL license model

 

image

A Limitation on Multiplexing

Multiplexing is defined as a Universal License Term and will apply to all products licensed through Volume Licensing . Under the hierarchy of the Product Use Rights, a Universal License Term will apply unless explicitly retracted or amended under General License Terms and Product Specific License Terms within the document.

  • For  SQL 2012 Business Intelligence Edition, as licensed under  the Server+CAL licensing model, users and devices that indirectly access SQL Server data through another application or hardware device required CALs, and exposed some customers to a large or unknown number of external users
  • Microsoft reigned in the multiplexing rule for SQL 2014  BI Edition to exclude users or devices that access SQL solely through batching process.

 

image

Disaster Recovery – Check the Fine Print

Many organisations elect to leverage the extended use right of ‘Disaster Recovery Rights’ within Software Assurance (SA) but don’t critically evaluate the technical reality of the DR solution as compared to binding terms of the Product Use Rights 

Under the April 2014 Product Use Rights, the OSE on the disaster recovery server can run only during the following exception periods:

  • For brief periods of disaster recovery testing within one week every 90 days
  • During a disaster, while the production server being recovered is down
  • Around the time of a disaster, for a brief period, to assist in the transfer between the primary production server and the disaster recovery server

A notable exception within the April 2014 Product Use Rights – this excludes patch management.

 

Final Thoughts

Business Intelligence Edition 

The ‘Multiplexing Rule’ should reasonably protect and maintain a proportional and scalable commercial licensing model to ensure financial protection for Microsoft, and the Universal License Terms ensures this isn’t limited by hardware or software that pool connections, reroute information, or reduce the number of devices or users that directly access, or use a server product. Accordingly, interpretation and application of this rule for external users as well as internal users should be independently and respectively assessed based on the technical reality of the server infrastructure and processes; the update in policy to access solely via batch processes like ETL for Business Intelligence (BI) Edition is a welcomed revision.

 

Software Assurance

On April 1st 2012 upon General Availability (GA) of SQL 2012, Microsoft removed support for license mobility in the SQL Enterprise 2012 Edition ‘license’ and incorporated this extended use right within Software Assurance (SA). The prior omission of ‘license mobility within server farms’ was amended by inclusion of this within Software Assurance (SA) across all 2012 Editions. This incremental reassignment of business critical extended use rights from a perpetual license to within a maintenance model was continued under SQL 2014 with the curtailing of the ‘Failover Rule’. As most organisations have database sprawl across physical and high availability virtual server environments, the onus on optimum and correct assignment of license and maintenance assets is critical to support cost avoidance and limit commercial risk.

 

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Recommendations

  • Organisations should review the effective date of all enrollments, and review all binding documentation to critically evaluate the software use terms to apply.
  • License mobility is a strong driver for Software Assurance if your organisation intends to deploy SQL in a virtual environment.
  • Software Assurance enables asset mobility to authorised 3rd party server environments, and supports cost avoidance of failover and disaster recovery solutions.
  • Stakeholders should critically evaluate the technical reality of server infrastructure to ensure conformity with software use restrictions of extended use rights i.e. passive failover instances and disaster recovery.
  • Optimum and valid assignment of legacy assets can support ongoing cost avoidance (with strict controls and policies to support ongoing compliance).
  • Organisations should consider upgrade from SQL Business Intelligence 2012 to 2014 to limit exposure to the ‘Multiplexing Rule’ Edit: The June Product List 2014 states (Page 26) the “CAL waiver for Batch Jobs described in the April 2014 PUR also applies to the 2012 version of that Product”. 
  • Implement a hardware and software discovery workstream to evaluate the technical reality of current (and planned) server infrastructure for SQL Server to ensure compliance and cost avoidance through optimum assignment of license and maintenance assets.
  • Evaluate deployed software products exiting mainstream and extended support – a comprehensive products exiting mainstream and extended support on July 9th 2014 are available here

 


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is Head of Microsoft Advisory Services at SoftwareONE

If you would like to book an in-depth Licensing Workshop or Microsoft Strategy Workshop please drop me an email and connect with me on Twitter

Tony lives with his wife in Oxford, England.

 


Disclaimer

This document is provided “as-is”. Information and views expressed in this document, including URL and other Internet Web site references, may change without notice. This document does not provide you with any legal rights to any intellectual property in any Microsoft product.

Please be aware that nothing in this document constitutes specific technical advice. Some of the material in this document may have been prepared some time ago and therefore may have been superseded. Specialist advice from the vendor should be taken in relation to specific circumstances.

The contents of this document are for general information purposes only. Whilst the author(s) endeavour to ensure that the information on this document is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and the primary author or it’s contributing Authors do not accept any liability for error or omission.

The contributing authors and owner of this document shall not be liable for any damage (including, without limitation, damage for loss of business or loss of profits) arising in contract, tort or otherwise from the use of, or inability to use, this website or any material contained in it, or from any action or decision taken as a result of using this website or any such material.

This Disclaimer is not intended to and does not create any contractual or other legal rights.