Grab your guitar and sing along (and make sure to use your best nasally folk singer voice):
Come gather, round businesses
Wherever you work (…you know, because of the Cloud)
If your time money to you is worth savin’
Then you better lock in your rate (or it’ll be 20% more)
For the times prices, they are a-changin’…
Like the lyrics to our re-written folk song say, Microsoft 365 pricing increases are coming in March of 2022.
Fees are a-changin,’ but what if you could lock in your pricing before the increases?
What’s with the changes?
We’ve written before about the benefits of using Office 365. It is a cloud-based system — so users can access the information they need to do their work from any computer. As businesses have adapted to the challenges of remote work, the Cloud has become an essential interface for collaboration and access.
The world is changing, and Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program is seeking to adapt to meet these ever-changing needs.
One of these needs is for simplicity of licensing and billing. If you’ve ever purchased a Microsoft subscription, you know that it can be…confusing and complicated.
In response to customer and partner feedback, the Microsoft New Commercial Experience (NCE) was created to simplify and consolidate the channels with which customers and partners (like Varay) interact.
So instead of a bunch of different agreements for partners to sign, there’s now just one (with a scale of terms and conditions based on what’s been purchased).
What is the NCE and what does it have to do with Microsoft 365 pricing increases?
The NCE is a “per-seat” or “per-user” model that gives customers more flexibility and purchasing options — options that are more compatible with Cloud services. Microsoft Azure was the first system to migrate to the NCE, and (since Fall 2021) the NCE has expanded to include the 365 Suite. A technical preview of NCE was rolled out in October 2021, and it will be available to everyone in January 2022.
The legacy platforms will all move to the NCE by March, and Microsoft wants to encourage users to migrate before that deadline. Along with the new interface, come the increased prices. Microsoft notes that Office 365 prices haven’t increased since 2011, and over a thousand new features have been added since that increase.
What is the NCE? Is it a new product?
NCE isn’t a new product to buy — it’s a new way to buy and manage the subscriptions to the products that you already know.
We’re still talking about the same MS 365. But the process of purchasing and terms (including Microsoft 365 pricing increases) are different.
Basically, the NCE is an attempt by Microsoft to bring their purchasing interface and subscription management in line with the needs of modern businesses. And to make life easier for everyone (managed service providers AND you!).
It’s not a new product. Why should I care about the changes?
There are some very clear “plusses” to Microsoft’s new purchasing interface rollout:
- It’s more streamlined.
- It’s easier to understand.
Being connected to the Cloud as part of your license means that you’ll always have the latest updates in software.
It is going to bring Microsoft 365 pricing increases and changes to term agreements.
All programs will have a 15% increase, regardless of the term.
The NCE will offer three types of term agreements:
- Monthly Subscription: Customers will be able to change the number of licenses on a month-by-month basis, but it costs 20% more than the annual option.
- 1-Year Subscription: Customers are locked into a full year commitment, but can pay monthly or upfront.
- 36-Month Subscription: Customers can lock in their price for a full three years.
However, to incentivize business to go ahead and make the change to NCE, Microsoft is offering two limited-time promotions for both monthly and annual term offers — from January through June 2022. This offer is applicable for subscriptions of 2,400 seats or less (except Windows 365).
After March 10, 2022, the NCE will be the only venue for new subscriptions and renewals.
For annual term agreements, Microsoft will discount the CSP price 5%.
For monthly term agreements, Microsoft will lock in the per-month price at the yearly price point — and you won’t have to pay the normal 20% Microsoft 365 pricing increase.
How can I lock in my business’s Microsoft 365 pricing?
To keep from having to pay that 20% price increase, you must sign a monthly or annual term agreement before March 31, 2021. If you do not sign an agreement to protect your pricing, you will have to pay the 20% increase ON TOP of the 15% increase that everyone will face.
At Varay Managed IT, we can help your business navigate these changes and take care of details in managing licenses, subscriptions, and renewals. We can help you stay up-to-date with the CSP program and get the most out of the available features, offers, and opportunities as they arise.
Contact Varay for a free consultation. Find out how you can get the most out of the technology your business uses every day.