Traditionally, software is installed, used, managed, and supported locally on a computing device within your organisation’s workplace. For example, you install and use Microsoft Office locally on a PC or possibly a Server under Terminal Services; managing and maintaining this operation as part of your organisation’s overall IT environment.
With Online (Cloud) Services the service provider is responsible for managing the operation, upkeep, and maintenance of the software on their systems.
Microsoft Online Services are subscription-based and licences for these services and the software that comes with them is not perpetual. You have the right to access and use the online service, and install and use the related software only during your paid subscription term, with the added flexibilty to scale this to meet your business's usage needs.
Below is the current range of products available:
- Bing Maps
- Dynamics CRM Online
- Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS)
- Microsoft Azure
- Office 365 (including Exchange Online, OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online, Skype for Business, Yammer and Office Web Apps)
There are 3 general programmes that an online service can be licenced through:
Grey Matter is a Direct/1-Tier CSP.
CSP is a customer platform for the provision, monthly billing and support of multiple Microsoft Cloud and packaged Partner Services.
With the Microsoft Online Subscription Programme, customers can purchase subscriptions to the Office 365 Suite and its components directly with Microsoft. Further information and a trial offer can be accessed through this link.
Most Online Services are available on all volume licence schemes – Open, Open Value, MPSA (Microsoft Products and Services Agreement) and Enterprise agreements - so that you can acquire both Microsoft on-premise software and Online Services under the same agreement. Refer to those sections for advice about these schemes.
Customers can place orders for Online Services One-Year at a time. Even on 3-Year, per year schemes (e.g. Open Value), there is no automatic price protection on these subscriptions when it comes to an Anniversary. At the Anniversary (or Renewal) the then current price has to be applied each year. Microsoft do offer 'coterminous' options so that when subscription licences are added during a scheme year, proportionalised pricing is available, so that old and new licences expire at the same time.
It should be noted however that Office 365 subscriptions are different. A full year subscription is always purchased. It does not tie in with the Anniversary dates of the Agreement, but when an administrator activates an Office 365 subscription (one or more licences) the year of use starts at that point (whether an individual user makes use of the software or not). If more licences are purchased and added into the same portal by an administrator, Microsoft consolidates, proportionalises and extends the subscription expiry to a common date.
Azure on Open Licensing is purchased in single SKUs of $100 credit value. Multiple SKUs can be purchased to reach the credit required. A single OSA Key will be provided for the total credit purchased once the order is complete. As with Office 365, Azure on Open does not tie in with the Anniversary dates of the Agreement, but when an administrator activates the OSA Key in the Azure portal, the credit will expire one year after activation with no carry over. More credit can be purchased at anytime and added to the Azure portal and each Key will have an expiry of one year from date of activation.