Microsoft New Commerce Experience: What you NEED to know

Microsoft's CSP program is changing in the near future, but how may it affect organisations with such an agreement - May Turnbull takes a look.

Published on 11th January 2022

It isn’t very hard to be confused about the upcoming changes to Microsoft’s CSP program or even not be informed. With explanations seemingly targeted mostly at Partner-Level or being a little too complex, I thought I’d do what I do best and crunch the data for you:

What is a CSP agreement?

CSP ultimately replaced the MPSA model (which replaced the Select Plus). The CSP (Cloud Solution Provider) agreement however was Partner fronted and initially very limited, but quickly became a popular agreement choice because of its affordability and flexibility. Allowing customers to adjust their commitments on a monthly basis and ensuring they weren’t under or over committing where possible.

What is the New Commerce Experience?

This is essentially the evolution/transformation/replacement of the traditional CSP model. The NCE (New Commerce Experience) is intended to allow partners to provide better support and more diversified solutions. Allowing customers to:

  • Purchase perpetual and subscription licenses alongside each other
  • Mix and match between commitment terms
  • Have Azure and 365 Service bills amalgamated

Does NCE do anything better?

Whilst some people might be untrusting of the new seemingly forced introduction of the commitment terms that CSP customers were avoiding, the NCE does boast:

  • Easier subscription management
  • Better cancellation policies
  • Simpler terms
  • More options
  • Simplified billing

What options do customers have?

Essentially, current CSP customers have the below main options:

  1. Retaining a monthly commitment as before and budgeting an additional 20% for the honour.
  2. Commit to a term that brings with it cost reductions but does not allow reductions.
  3. If eligible, move to an Enterprise Agreement which has a 3 year commitment term of its own.
  4. Take the hybrid approach. Monthly subscriptions can always be converted to or can run alongside longer commitments via NCE. Do your homework to ensure that safe, educated commitments are made.

How long do I have to decide?

According to the last data I received (*please note this might have been updated when you are reading this):

1 March 2022 – all new subscriptions need to go through NCE

1 February 2023 – all subscriptions need to be migrated to NCE

This means that most of you have a little time to get your houses in order.

What do I need to be careful of?

  1. A clean out of inactive accounts is now more important than ever. Contact me if you need some guidance here.
  2. Your trials will auto renew into production licenses under the new agreement unless your partner is instructed to unselect the auto-renew box when they are being provisioned. Trails cannot be cancelled, so this is VERY IMPORTANT.
  3. You only have 72 hours to cancel unwanted reservations under NCE. This was A LOT more flexible under the standard CSP.
  4. Your resellers are likely not to be incentivised to sell Enterprise Agreements, so when you are considering your choices, remember to ask for this option to be factored in.

Don’t forget that EasySAM offers a free health check of your Office 365 estate. So if you aren’t sure whether you have a problem or not ,although anonymised, this will certainly flag any issues for you.

As always, I hope this helps navigate the maze that is licensing. Stay safe!

Written by:

May Turnbull



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