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Microsoft’s “New Commerce Experience”

Big changes are coming to Microsoft 365 licensing, and while licensing isn’t anyone’s favorite topic to spend a lot of time thinking about, the upcoming changes Microsoft announced are significant to the way your business uses Microsoft online services.

The changes are a part of Microsoft’s “New Commerce Experience” that will apply across the board to all Microsoft seat-based licenses (Office 365, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, etc.) and will apply to every license channel and every way your organization can obtain these licenses, whether via the Microsoft 365 Portal (aka Web Direct), via Cloud Solution Provider (a CSP, like FMT), or via Enterprise Agreement.

There are several benefits to NCE, including:

  • Multiple term options for more flexibility
  • Predictable licensing payments
  • Promotions
  • Multi-year plans to lock in pricing

Microsoft 365 migration services and consulting

The benefits come along with additional changes that are important to understand from both a planning and operational perspective, including:

  • Enforced 72-hour cancellation policy (early termination fees apply after this period)
  • Ability to add licenses during a term
  • Restrictions on reducing licenses during a term

Frequently Asked Questions:
Any time a provider makes a change like this, there are a lot of questions that our clients bring up. Some of the most frequently asked questions about these changes are below.

Why is Microsoft doing this?
Microsoft’s licensing structure has been unique in the industry for years, making it unnecessarily complex for clients to manage. Shifting to the New Commerce Experience program, transforms the way clients support their businesses and allows more consistent policies, processes, and agreements with their cloud services from Microsoft.

What can I and can’t I do with my seat count within the 72-hour cancellation period?
When you add seats to your subscriptions, you can cancel those seats for a pro-rated rate within the first 72-hours. After that point, you are responsible for all licensing fees until the end of your subscription term. You are welcome to ADD additional seats, but you cannot reduce your seat count until the end of the term. And while 72-hour cancellation window is new to Microsoft, it’s common among other cloud service providers. Keep in mind this 72-hour cancellation period also applies when adding new subscriptions.

I have seasonal fluctuations in my seat count, can I still easily manage this?
Absolutely. Microsoft understands the need for having flexible term solutions and has introduced a monthly subscription term option. These monthly subscriptions come with a 20% price premium though, so it might make sense to mitigate the number of monthly licenses you buy. We help clients with this all the time and are here for you to discuss your options to balance your seats in the most cost-effective way.

What if my business changes mid-term of my subscription and I don’t need all my licenses?
When you sign up for annual (or longer) subscriptions, you are financially responsible for all licensing fees due until the end of your subscription term. If, in planning your needs, you feel there is a risk of this, you’ll be more financially protected by purchasing the licenses on a monthly term.

Keep in mind that this program is evolving daily, and while we provide the answers below, there might be changes or limitations that change based on Microsoft’s discretion. Before deciding what’s best for you and your company and if you have questions, it’s best to talk with our team of experts to make sure you have the most current and accurate information.

How we can help, and key dates:
As a Direct Cloud Solution Provider, FMT has the experience and ability to assist you with your migration to the New Commerce Experience. Feel free to schedule a meeting any time. If you are a current FMT client, we will be proactively reaching out to discuss your licensing needs and ensuring a smooth transition to the New Commerce Experience.

Key Dates:

  • NCE Program General Availability: January 10, 2022
  • New subscriptions only via NCE: Starting March 10, 2022
  • Existing renewals only via NCE: Starting July 1, 2022

These changes can easily be confusing, and they have real impacts to your IT and financial planning and budgets. FMT is here to help. Schedule a call with our team of experts today to ensure your licenses are optimized for the New Commerce Experience.

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