Microsoft Volume Licensing models address organizations in two main categories based on size: organizations with more than 5 but less than 250 computers and organizations with more than 250 computers.
If your company is part of the SMB (small to mid-size business), defined as having less than 250 computers, The MS Open programs offer volume discounts, with little upfront costs. There are two options for Open programs: Open Value and Open License.
Open Value offers software assurance, simplified license management and an annual payment structure best suited for the smallest organizations. This program comes in three options: company-wide, subscription-based and non-company-wide.
Open Value Subscription is for organizations that prefer a subscription model for licensing. This program offers the lowest upfront costs of the Open programs because of the option to make annual payments on your agreement. This program also offers the most flexibility to decrease/increase your licensing costs as business needs change. Annual payments will be based on the PC count you have at the end of the year and the ability to add licensing throughout the year, with no additional costs.
Open License is a “pay as you go” license model with a minimum initial purchase of just five software licenses.
If you’re a large enterprise with more than 250 computers, there are four licensing models that will apply to you: Enterprise Agreement, Enterprise Subscription Agreement, Select Plus and Select License.
Enterprise Agreement is for organizations that are looking to standardize IT across the enterprise and is based on a 3-year enrollment term. Enterprise Agreement provides the deepest discounts and Software Assurance.
Enterprise Subscription Agreement is similar to the Open Value license model, but targeted for companies on a larger scale. It allows an enterprise to subscribe on an annual basis, rather than acquire software licensing for a longer term agreement.
Select Plus is best suited for larger organizations with multiple affiliates that wish to be viewed as a single organization – and benefit from volume licensing – but need to purchase various licenses and services at different levels. This program has lower annual payments than the Enterprise programs, but the usage right is limited to only 3 years.
Select License is based on forecast licensing models and offers a flexible method to purchase software licensing on a “pay as you go” basis. This program also has lower annual payments that the Enterprise programs, but the usage right is limited to only 3 years, similar to Select Plus.
If you need help sorting through how Microsoft defines certain technical terms within the legal mumble jumbo, Microsoft’s technical jargon by Straightline Technology Group is a great place to start.