The #1 post (by volume) on this blog site is “Office 365 Under SPLA.” (It’s probably what brought you to this article in the first place). For those that read this blog regularly, can you guess #2? Ok…you give up. If you would’ve guessed “Office Needs Mobility Rights” you would have been correct. Can I conclude in my scientific analysis that Office is at the top of everyone’s mind in the hosting industry?
Who remember’s BPOS? Remember that beauty? I used to manage BPOS several years ago. BPOS consisted of Exchange Online, OCS (that’s right…OCS not Lync) and SharePoint online. It was bundled as a package and sold to smaller companies (originally). It was a big deal. For “x” amount of dollars you would get a 5GB mailbox! Google caught on, raised the bar to 10GB mailbox, than 20 and the cloud race still continues today. Mailbox size and price was what everyone talked about. I remember it well. Than Microsoft threw the cloud world a curve ball. “What would happen if we offer Office as a subscription model and call it Office 365” Things started to change pretty quickly. Office as a subscription? “But wait…let’s allow Office to be installed on not one device, but 5! Now the cloud world is really spinning.” What’s next?
Let’s don’t forget about our friend Azure. Who could forget about him? Azure is growing rapidly (talk about a generality but remember I am SPLA Man, not Gartner) and adding new features such as Linux VM’s, ability to purchase using your Enterprise Agreement, and the biggest news of all….ability to install a copy of Office from Office 365. Wait! What?!!!
Let’s take a step back and look at what Office means for the SPLA community. You want to host Office? Here’s what you need. Windows + RDS+Office. There you have it.
Here’s what you can’t do – Under no circumstance can you have your end customer purchase Office under Office 365 and install it in your shared cloud. Don’t argue with me here…you can’t do it. You are probably thinking…well, that’s ok, i will dedicate a VM. Ahhhh….there we go again. Dedicated a customer owned license on a VM. What did I just describe?
Dedicate a VM +shared hardware = License Mobility. What does not have license mobility rights? Office.
Now back to Azure. You might be thinking that Azure is a shared cloud. It is. How can they do it but I can’t? Well, they developed Office and they developed Azure. They can make up the rules to their own game. Check out the online services terms page 22
What happens if you purchase your own Azure agreement to host your SaaS offering for your clients? It doesn’t matter. A hoster leveraging Azure for their offering would not be able to accept end-user Office 365 Office licenses.
So is it all doom and gloom? Not by a long shot. When there’s confusion, when your competitors spend more time worrying about what they can’t do instead of focusing on growing their business, consider that an opportunity. I’ve written 70+ articles on SPLA. It’s not going away and neither are you. I just think you (the service provider) need to get creative. Price is always an issue. Office is an issue today, but it will be something else tomorrow. Again, don’t focus on what you can’t do, it’s time to start thinking about what you can do.
I am going to write another article in which I provide a real world example on how I was able to save a service provider money It’s not revolutionary, but it proves that if your not working with someone who looks at your usage report regularly and makes suggestions to reduce costs, you are missing out. Sounds kind of like a salesman, but I think you will find the article helpful. I can’t change the rules of SPLA, but I can make recommendations in the way you think about your business. It’s time to reconsider our licensing strategy. Stay tuned. In the meantime, here’s a cool glimpse into the future.
Thanks for reading,