Let’s say your current commercial Enterprise Agreement – scheduled for renewal this coming September – is for 325 seats of Windows client, Office, and perhaps one of the Client Access License (“CAL”) Suites. Your company hasn’t seen significant growth in user population, so the anticipation is that the renewal will be for that same number of licenses.
Based on Microsoft’s change (their “refresh” as Microsoft refers to it), you are not eligible for the Enterprise Agreement any longer. That refresh has raised the minimum number of users / devices for Enterprise Products to 500.
So the issue becomes one of arithmetic. Or, actually, one of several arithmetic calculations. First, if your seat count is close enough to 500 to overcome the difference in price points between the Enterprise Agreement and the Microsoft Products & Services Agreement (replacement for the Select Plus Agreement), then increasing the license count to 500 may be the right course of action.
But recognize that the Enterprise Agreement was effectively a three-year price-hold. And since Microsoft does not increase its license prices uniformly or across the board, there will be an increase in unit cost for some of the licenses on which Software Assurance would be renewed. But that increase is exacerbated by the difference in price between the Enterprise Agreement and the Microsoft Products & Services Agreement – to the tune of about 15% for Enterprise Products (e.g., Windows Client, Office, Core CAL Suite, etc.) and around 10% for Additional Products (e.g., Windows Server, Exchange Server, SQL Server, etc.)
Then there are the evolving benefits / requirements associated with Software Assurance, meaning that simply dropping Software Assurance coverage on every product is seldom a reasonable answer.
But there are options – and more arithmetic. So start planning early.