The New Microsoft Customer Agreement (MCA)

Thursday 10th January 2019

In 2017, Microsoft began their modern commerce transition with a vision of modernising the customer and partner purchasing experience. First they introduced the Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) program. Then they removed the Azure pricing waterfalls from EA to provide a single consistent price across all programs. In October 2018, Microsoft continued to execute on this Modern Commerce strategy by introducing programmatic changes across their volume licensing programs that relate specifically to offer pricing and discounting. Now, they’re introducing a new way for customers to buy and manage Azure.

From 1st March 2019 customers will be able to purchase Azure Services directly from Microsoft through a new Microsoft Customer Agreement. From 1st August 2019 new and renewing corporate customers will no longer be able to purchase Azure Services through an Azure only Server & Cloud Enrollment (SCE), an enrollment which sits under the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement.

What is the Microsoft Customer Agreement?

The new Microsoft Customer Agreement (MCA) is an evergreen contract which takes the place of the Azure only Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE) that some customers are currently using to purchase Azure Services. In time it is likely that Microsoft will remove the ability for customers to purchase Azure Services through SCE and the Enterprise Agreement as a whole providing just two options; Microsoft Customer Agreement (Direct with Microsoft) or the Cloud Solutions Provider Program (Indirect through Bytes)

The MCA will provide:

  • Access to a single offer catalog containing 1st and 3rd party Microsoft products and services through a new marketplace experience
  • A new, simple 11-page Microsoft Customer Agreement presented, accepted, and stored through a completely digital experience at Microsoft Store for Business
  • Consistent purchasing and management experiences whether the customer chooses to buy through partners, the web portal, or directly through their Microsoft account teams

How does this affect me?

If you are currently purchasing Azure Services through an Azure Only SCE you will need to decide on which route you go down, options include:

  • Renew into the new Microsoft Customer Agreement, or
  • Migrate to Bytes through the Cloud Solutions Provider Program (CSP), or
  • Remain in the SCE Extended Terms (please refer to the SCE contract for terms)

With the MCA you are likely to have a new Microsoft sales contact when moving from the Server and Cloud Enrolment as the agreement process is managed by Microsoft. This new sales contact will be responsible for pre-sales and transaction activities previously done by Bytes. Monetary Commitment doesn’t roll over into the new agreement so any unused monetary commitment is forfeited at the end of the SCE term.

You can read the official Microsoft announcement here .

What's the best option for my organisation?

The below high-level comparison of SCE, the new MCA and the Bytes offering:

Is this change good..?

Purchasing via a Server and Cloud Enrollment or Enterprise Agreement had some benefits, including a three year price protection which no longer exists in the new MCA. However, this price protection required a three year commitment to Azure with a minimum monetary commitment of £8,943.60 ($12,000) per annum. Added to this any unused monetary commitment would be lost. The SCE/EA had a three year term which required the resigning of the contract upon renewal. The MCA provides an evergreen contract whereby you will be billed monthly in arrears based on the services that you consume, however pricing is subject to change and is based on standard Azure.com (RRP).

In our opinion

The new Microsoft Customer Agreement simplifies the purchasing experience when renewing Azure Services from SCE or EA, however we would strongly encourage our customers to consider all options available before defaulting to the new offering. CSP through Bytes is a service and support orientated solution which includes the simplicity of the MCA – the best of both worlds. Bytes are able to offer a level of price protection through the Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) Program as well as access to our pre and post sales Azure experts. The level of support we provide for our CSP Azure customers is much more comprehensive than the standard support you’ll get from Microsoft. We will help you optimise your Azure spend resulting in savings of up to 80%.

Bytes can help you select the right Microsoft solutions with the best licensing options

If you would like to understand more detail on these significant Microsoft agreement changes we can help. In addition to immediate advice on your Microsoft License Agreements, our team of cloud specialists can give clear recommendations on how to best plan your best-fit modern data platform strategy, as well as advise on how you can potentially reduce your Azure costs by up to 80%.

Bytes are the UK’s #1 expert for Microsoft Azure

  • We manage £150m of Azure consumption
  • With over 300 Server and Cloud Agreements
  • Unrivalled ability to tailor all Microsoft agreements incl. MCA, CSP, Enterprise & SCE
  • Specialist SI and ISV partner community for Microsoft deployment and services
  • We also have a dedicated AWS technical services division for multi-cloud environments

Speak to us for exclusive Bytes offers available to Microsoft Server and Cloud Enrollment customers and clients considering new Azure workloads.

  • Migration funding (up to £50,000) to move to Microsoft CSP Agreement for greater flexibility and in-built managed services
  • Azure Credit (up to £10,000) to move to Microsoft CSP Agreement and benefit from Optimisation Savings
  • Azure Credit (£1,000) for Microsoft managed accounts new to Azure.
  • Cloud Consultancy (up to £60,000) for a comprehensive cloud evaluation, review and planning
  • Complimentary infrastructure modernisation assessments for Data Security, Backup, Continuity, Networking and Storage

The Microsoft Agreement landscape is changing and now is a good time to review your commercial options. We also advise on reserved instances and spot pricing management for Azure and AWS.

Our team of 100+ Microsoft specialist are ready to answer your questions. Call us on 01372 418500 or email tellmemore@bytes.co.uk.


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