The SPAR Group LTD is using Office 365 and Azure. They have over 10 000 employees, are part of an international group and have been operating in South Africa since 1963. You’d expect that they’d have done their homework, ensuring they partner with the best to get the best business results. In the past, their scale would have meant that they can achieve so much more than any SMB.

Microsoft Cloud has changed that completely though. Now any size business can get enterprise capabilities. The key to success for SMBs is choosing the right licensing model and Microsoft partner.

Why is it important to choose the right licensing model?

The right Microsoft licensing agreement works to support and compliment your business needs. However, the task of choosing the right licensing model remains complex based on the numerous options available to you. Businesses with less than 500 users traditionally would have purchased licensing as part of Microsoft’s Open Licencing Program (OLP) or Open Volume Service (OVS). Today though, SMBs can also purchase their licenses from a Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) gaining more flexibility.

Here we list 4 key considerations when choosing a license agreement model to clarify and explain which model will best support your business.

  1. Appetite for commitment

2-year commitment. 3-year commitment. Monthly. No commitment and the option to cancel at any time.
  1. Payment

Annually upfront at the beginning of the agreement. Annually upfront at the beginning of each year. Monthly. Detailed billing is provided.
  1. Flexibility and scalability

Increase at any point during the agreement. Increase or decrease only on agreement anniversary. Increase or decrease the number of licenses you need at any time.
This is a 2-year agreement. This is a 3-year agreement. Cancel the subscription at any time.
The license you start with is the license you keep for 2 years. The license you start with is the license you keep for 3 years. Change the license type at any time.
CompanyWide agreement. CompanyWide agreement. Choose the license type relevant to each user’s needs.
  1. Legacy agreements and software assurance

You can use legacy agreements in the cloud if you purchased software assurance at the beginning of the agreement. You can use legacy agreements in the cloud if you purchased software assurance at the beginning of the agreement. Software Assurance is automatically included in this licensing model.

Why choose the right Microsoft partner?

In the article about SPAR, Kleshen Pillay: Cloud Solutions Specialist for SPAR, talks about having access to Microsoft Professional Direct Support. As with any business, specialist resources are limited and are charged for at a premium – in this case a whopping $ 1000 per month. South African SMBs therefore need to look at alternatives to ensure they get the best support available. Microsoft requires partners to keep abreast of their latest product developments through a series of competencies. Choosing a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, ensures SMBs get to access the support of companies that meet Microsoft requirements. Still, all is not equal, and SMBs must look at partners who attend Microsoft events, webinars and training sessions to ensure they gain insight into complex problems in order to best support SMBs.

With proper planning, strategizing, and collaboration with relevant stakeholders, your migration to the cloud will be a success once you’re sure you’re using the best license model available to suit every users’ need and partnering with an expert. As a Gold Microsoft Partner, Crimson Line will happily share our experience and knowledge with you, or your IT team, just as we did for these clients. Contact us for a free Microsoft licensing assessment regardless of where you are in the project.

Crimson Line: Microsoft Gold Partner