How to Get the Most Out of Your Microsoft Enterprise Agreement

This is How to Get the Most Out of Your Microsoft Enterprise Agreement

This is How to Get the Most Out of Your Microsoft Enterprise Agreement

What is a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement?

For organizations with 500 or more users or devices, a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) delivers the most value for software licensing and cloud services in one comprehensive agreement. The Microsoft EA also allows companies the flexibility to purchase additional services under the agreement.

An EA is a direct agreement between the customer and Microsoft, but a partner such as SoftwareONE can help you facilitate it.

A typical EA lasts for three years, allowing businesses to use the services they require to function optimally. At the end of three years, an organization can renew for either one or three additional years.

What is a Microsoft True-Up Agreement?

Most enterprises anticipate growth, but factors such as a volatile economy, changing market conditions, business expansion, or downsizing can alter that expectation. The fact is that circumstances are bound to change in 36 months, so three years can sound like a long time to commit. That’s why Microsoft offers its clients a Microsoft True-Up.

A True-Up takes place annually and allows a business the opportunity to examine its licenses and make certain they are either adding new licenses or removing underutilized ones to ensure the most business value from software and cloud services.

Since Microsoft requires enterprises to submit their True-Up order between 30 to 60 days before their contract anniversary date, organizations should begin reviewing their Microsoft software, hardware, and online licensing purchases approximately 120 days before that time.

Microsoft advises that each organization ask themselves a series of questions during this review, including whether or not your company:

  • Increased user or computer base in the past year
  • Made any new acquisitions
  • Clustered any servers or increased the number of servers used
  • Shifted to/from on-premises licenses to/from online services licenses
  • Reserved any online services subscriptions before utilizing them
  • Implemented any virtualized server or desktop environments
  • Deployed any desktop applications not used previously
  • Established warm or hot disaster recovery for any servers
  • Put any piloted products or applications into production

The answers to these questions can help a company more accurately determine where and what licensing alterations need to be made.

Additionally, to arrive at an accurate assessment of software licensing and cloud service use, SoftwareONE recommends companies follow best practices throughout the year, including:

  • Tracking, managing, and optimizing existing Microsoft licenses
  • Watching for underutilized licenses and considering eliminating those subscriptions
  • Utilizing Microsoft resources that can help examine changes to an organization and recommend products that might be a better fit

What is the Benefit of a Microsoft EA?

A Microsoft EA is a volume licensing program that allows organizations to streamline their purchases under one agreement. Without it, an enterprise might have multiple agreements that can be difficult to manage.

There are numerous additional benefits of a Microsoft EA, including:


A Microsoft EA delivers the best business value with optimal pricing, discounts, 24x7 tech support, planning services, and technical training. Additionally, locked-in pricing helps reduce up-front costs while spreading payments across a three-year contract term.


A Microsoft EA enables an organization to adapt and quickly change with access to the latest versions of on-premises and cloud software. This empowers businesses to meet their unique technology needs to be scaled to their business size and requirements.


A Microsoft EA simplifies subscription license management with a comprehensive, organized contract for license management, predictable, scheduled payments, and assistance from a partner like SoftwareONE.

How Does a Microsoft EA Differ from a Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) Program?

Smaller companies with 3,000 employees or less will typically gravitate toward a Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program as an alternative to EA. A CSP does not require a number of minimum users and provides more flexibility with monthly payments than three-year contracts. This enables users to add or remove licenses as needed, so they only pay for what they actually use.

However, the options for increasing or decreasing licenses are more restrictive with a CSP, meaning a company could go over budget if there were a swift or unanticipated shift in demand.

A large organization looking for fixed licensing pricing that does not expect to make notable changes over three years may prefer the fixed costs associated with an EA.

Because there are many nuances involved with each program, an organization should seek assistance when choosing an EA versus a CSP. A partner like SoftwareONE can help determine which will offer the most value.

How to Realize Return on Investment (ROI) from the Procurement Process

There are several ways to ensure maximized value and return on investment when negotiating a Microsoft EA:

Choose a Single Vendor

If a company uses multiple applications that overlap with Microsoft products (Teams vs. Zoom, Outlook vs. Gmail), it pays to consolidate to Microsoft products. In doing so, license needs increase and may qualify for volume discounts.

Increase Lease Terms

By negotiating a more extended, multi-year lease term, a company could decrease costs with term discounts. By locking in pricing and spreading payments across the three years, a business will minimize up-front costs and budget more effectively.

Select Plus Pricing

Government and academic organizations receive savings from 15 to 45% with Select Plus Pricing when they lease Microsoft on-premises software for up to three years with no organization-wide commitment.

Is a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement Right for You?

Make the Right Choice for You

When selecting the proper Microsoft agreement for your business, you don't need to make the journey alone. SoftwareONE offers Microsoft Advisory Services to help you make the right choice based on your specific needs. We have a long and successful history of working with our clients to achieve Microsoft licensing renewals.

Contact Us

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Robin Duprel

Robin Duprel

Senior Microsoft Licensing Consultant

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