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Monthly Archives: August 2017

Hosting Options for Charity Customers

We receive a lot of questions on how to properly license charity customers in a hosted environment.  Do they qualify for License Mobility?  Is there SPLA pricing for charity customers?  Is academic pricing the same?   Let’s take a look at these questions and more!

Can I sign an academic addendum and report the lower cost for a charity customer?

No.  The academic addendum is specific about what qualifies as an academic institution; unfortunately, charity is not one of them.

My customer purchased charity licenses without Software Assurance but refuse to pay for SPLA.  Any ideas on how to accommodate? 

Charities can provider their own Microsoft licenses that were purchased without Software Assurance in a 100% dedicated environment.  Charity products are treated the same as standard products.

My customer purchased charity licenses with Software Assurance.  Can they leverage License Mobility?

Yes. Charities can leverage this use right to run software covered by Software Assurance as a separate Virtual Machine on shared hardware at a service provider location.  Windows, must be reported in SPLA and reported at the corporate price.

Does SAL for SA qualify?

Yes. If a customer made the investment in Software Assurance(has active Software Assurance) they can run a second instance in a shared environment.  As the Service Provider, you will report the SAL for SA SKU for each user that has access to the solution.

Is there charity pricing in SPLA?

No.

Is there charity pricing in CSP?

Yes. You can read more here

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

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Posted by on August 31, 2017 in SPLA General, Uncategorized

 

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Top 5 CSP Questions…Answered

Here are a few hot topics this week around CSP.  Enjoy!

What would happen if I sell myself Office Pro Plus through my own CSP authorization?  Can I do that?

No.  You cannot sell yourself Office 365 Pro Plus licenses.  You can purchase it through any volume licensing program or through another CSP provider.  Might be a good way to check out the competition support processes though!

If you are CSP authorized in Australia, but have customers in UK, can you resell Office 365 through CSP?

No. You can only resell in the region in which you are authorized. 

If my end customer purchased Office 365 Pro Plus through Volume Licensing, can I host it from my datacenter if I am QMTH authorized?

Yes. The end customer can purchase from any licensing program as long as it is Office 365 Pro Plus version.  As the service provider, you must be QMTH authorized.

 

If I purchase CSP licenses indirectly from my distributor, do I qualify for QMTH?

No.  You must CSP Direct authorized in order to that.  You cannot purchase from a distributor and offer VDI or Office Pro Plus.

If I sell Azure through CSP, how do I know which region my data is located?

With Azure, you get to pick the region.

If I sell Office 365 through CSP, which region is my service hosted from?

The address on the invoice determines the location of the services. 

***Watch out for the new Microsoft Cloud Agreement (MCA) coming in September.  You can download the old version here

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2017 in Cloud Solution Provider Program

 

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Free SPLA Licensing Consultation

The complexity of SPLA and CSP licensing is not getting easier. In fact, I would argue it's getting more challenging.  I am often asked about topics such as:

  • How does the CSP Qualified Multitenant Hosting work?
  • How do I know I am NOT being overcharged for my SPLA licenses?
  • How can I compete against AWS and Azure?
  • How does License Mobility work?
  • How about a second opinion?
  • How does an audit work?

If you are interested in the above "How's"  we are offering a free licensing consultation to get those questions answered. For a limited time, we will review  anything related to Microsoft SPLA licensing. We can sign an NDA if preferred.  It's for (1) 30 minute review and is valid only through 8/18/2017.

The catch?  I ask you to make a donation (large or small) to my buddy Brett.  If you think Microsoft licensing is hard – look at what this boy has gone through:

Brett was a healthy child until around May of 2014 (age 10) when he was diagnosed with a high grade brain tumor (anaplastic astrocytoma) shortly after experiencing many headaches, nausea and fatigue. Brett has endured 7 weeks of daily proton radiation, 5 brain surgeries on an ‘inoperable tumor’, 3 years of chemo, and multiple hospital stays and is now on immunotherapy. It has been a difficult journey, but Brett has always been hardworking and determined to get better.

The Make-A-Wish foundation told him he could meet any celebrity or go to any sport event he desires.  His choice?  He wanted to be a priest for just one day.   He got his wish.  I think this is a testament of his character, his family, and his desire to help others even though he is going through something no one (especially a child) should have to go through.

Let's solve the world's licensing problems while helping this boy out.  Email info@splalicensing.com and your donation and let's set up time to review.  Here's how to donate:  https://www.gofundme.com/team-brett-stay-strong 

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man #IHATECANCER

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Licensing Office Online for External Users

What happens if you have end customers who want to use Office Online for external users (non-employees of your organization).  Is that SPLA?  In this article, we will break down Office Online through three programs – SPLA, Volume Licensing, and CSP.

SPLA

If you are hosting Office for another organization SPLA definitely fits.  As an example, if you provide DaaS to your customers who are also licensed for Office, they can access Office Online.  In this model, you license SharePoint (requirement for Office Online) Office by user, RDS per user, and Windows + SQL Server.   Very expensive to simply offer a customer the ability to view and edit documents online.

Volume Licensing and Office 365

Office Online was added as a Software Assurance benefit for Office in 2016.  End customer’s who simply want to view documents can download it directly from the Volume Licensing Services Center (VLSC).  End customers that require document creation, edit/save functionality will be required to have an on-premises Office license with Software Assurance or an Office 365 ProPlus subscription. Any customer that purchased an Office 2016 suite through Volume Licensing before August 1, 2016 will not require SA through August 1, 2019.   After August 1, 2019 they must buy SA for any on-premise Office licenses.

According to the Product Terms (May 2016) “If Customer has a License for Office 365 Pro Plus, then Customer may use Office Online services.  Each of Customer’s Licensed Users of Office 365 Pro Plus may access Office Online services for viewing and editing documents, as long as they are also licensed for SharePoint Online or OneDrive for Business.”  It’s the last sentence that stings.  In other words, you want Office Online?  Better buy Office 365 E3.

Office Online for CSP

The same rules apply.  In this scenario, the hosting company could sell Office 365 E3 through CSP program to their end users.  In CSP, the end customer is paying month – month and paying for support.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2017 in Office 365

 

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Slaying the dragon and saving the princess – audit style

We all love stories.  All of us. We love to hear about good overcoming evil – the prince saving the princess, the bad guy that's captured by the good guy.  In short, what we love are fairy tales.  The reality is we do not live in a world of fairy tales and sometimes, yeah, the bad guys do win. The prince, admired by many, is not such a good prince after all.  We trust without knowing they can be trusted.  So, what does this have to do with audits?

Businesses are built based on one concept – to solve a customer's problem.  You are their hero to save whatever pain they have or problem they can't seem to overcome.  You, are (as the story goes) their knight in shining armour.  Your customer needs someone to deliver a solution, you are just the good guy to do it.

Fast forward a couple years, your business is booming, your customers are happy, and in walks every IT nightmare…the auditor.  Eye glasses the size of saucers, a necktie tied just a shade too short, and a laugh that is about as annoying as a nail on a chalkboard; you are succumbed to a software audit.

How do you defend such evil?  The biggest mistake a hosting partner (or enterprise's in general) often makes is being fearful.  They give the auditors everything they ask.  That's not always bad, but if you don't understand why they are asking for certain things or feel they are painting you in a corner, take a step back.  Don't give in without understanding what they are asking and why.  Why do they want to know who your customers are?  Why do they ask about customer owned licenses?  Software Assurance? Historical information?  If you can't answer "why" maybe you need help.  In walks SPLA Man.  Nah, in walks Mrs. SPLA Man, every auditor's worst nightmare.  She put together the following list on how to better prepare yourself for the unexpected.

Mrs. SPLA Man's List

  1. Don't be fearful – no matter what, it's your business and YOUR customers.
  2. Have a plan.  Know what's in your customer agreements.  If you need to refresh your agreement language, do it.  Software licensing rules change daily, if you have not updated your contracts on license mobility or datacenter outsourcing, update it now.
  3. Don't bring unwanted attention to your organization.  Always report usage on time and pay on time.  80% of all delinquent reporting has nothing to do with the reseller or Microsoft.  It has everything to do with a SPLA partner's account payable dept.
  4. Don't have one person manage your usage reporting.  In a lot of cases, a person leaves a company who was the only one who worked with the reseller directly.  When that person leaves, who is responsible for reporting?
  5. Don't be pressured.  Audits can take up a lot of resources.  Don't give up customer engagements to satisfy an auditor.  Your customers are the lifeblood of your business, don't delay meetings with your clients.
  6. The publisher needs you.  You are their sales arm.  You bring the hybrid cloud to life.
  7. Find out from the publisher who manages your account.  When was the last time you spoke to them about strategy or best practices?
  8. Relax.  It's not the IRS auditing you (yet)
  9. Don't settle just to settle.  You didn't grow your business to the magnitude you've grown it without having negotiating skills (and guts).
  10. Don't be scared to ask for help.   Have a question?  Email info@splalicensing.com

Thanks for reading,

Mrs. SPLA Man

PS – Slay that dragon!

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2017 in Compliance

 

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How the Microsoft CSP Program Indirect Program Works…Directly

The CSP Indirect program is a quick and relatively painless way to get started with Office 365 and other cloud solutions.  In this article, we will review how it works, how it doesn’t work, and things to consider before signing up.

The point of this blog is to make things simple; let’s stay with that concept for a moment.  In the simplest terms, CSP Indirect means you are “indirectly” selling solutions to your end customers.  Why indirect?  In this model, you do not hold (perhaps you do but don’t want to mess with it) the qualifications/authorizations to sell Microsoft cloud solutions directly to your end customers from Microsoft, you must purchase through a distributor and then sell to your customers.  This could mean higher pricing, working with third-party systems instead of your own, and procurement.  One of the biggest disadvantage (sometimes an advantage) is there’s no direct support line to Microsoft.  If something goes wrong, you contact your distributor, who works directly with Microsoft.

As a cloud provider, you are also limited in some of the solutions you can sell to your customer from your datacenter environment.  Take as an example, the Qualified Multitenant Hosting Addendum (QMH).   If you are currently purchasing licenses through an indirect partner, you cannot host Windows 10 E3/E5 from your shared cloud environment. Only authorized CSP Direct partners have that luxury.  The same is true for Office Pro Plus and other desktop applications.

The advantage of CSP Indirect is you do not have to spend resources (including investing in additional staff and funding a platform) That’s all on the distributor.  You can think of CSP Indirect as white labeling Office 365.  It’s not technically white labeled (your end customer knows they are getting Office 365) but the billing comes from you.  CSP Indirect means you are leveraging someone else’s resources to deliver a solution to your end customers.  You still bill your customer and can provide basic support, which has its benefits.

Is CSP Indirect right for your business?  If you are just getting started in selling Office 365 or are currently purchasing Office 365 licenses on behalf of your customers from the Microsoft portal, CSP Indirect is the way to go.  If you are a large provider who has the resources, personnel, and funds to support CSP Direct solution, I would recommend going CSP Direct over Indirect.

In either program, you do not get off without knowing the licensing.  That’s for another article.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 

 

 
 

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