“Mobile First, Cloud First” – Microsoft’s Enterprise Cloud Suite

November 7, 2014
Editorial Staff


Editorial Staff

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella promised a shift in focus. The announcement of the Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS), which goes into effect December 1, 2014, marks a major step in Microsoft’s initiative to support 3rd party devices on a per-user basis so that organizations can comfortably deploy a cloud and BYOD strategy.

ECS – A Subscription for Change

Prior to ECS, licensing Windows Client OS on any device under a per-user model was not an option. In general, enterprise licensing structures favored the per-device model, while per-user models were only offered under the Client Access License (CAL) suite, and often times required a more defined approach.

Office 365 took the first step toward acknowledging the value of the user over the device with the Office Pro Plus for O365 or O365 E3/E4 plans, while April’s Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) announcement made the next leap toward user-centric licensing. The Windows Software Assurance (SA) per User option caps this triumvirate which now comprise the Enterprise Cloud Suite.

Defining the Enterprise Cloud Suite Options – What ECS Means to You

Enterprise Cloud Suite is for organizations with 250 or more users/devices, available through the EA or Enterprise Subscription Enrollment, and makes a seamless transition for existing Enterprise Platform customers. Depending on an organization’s unique needs, ECS can be licensed one of three ways:

  • ECS User Subscription License (USL) – This option covers 1 of 2 scenarios:
    1. Organizations not covered by an existing Enterprise Platform
    2. Organizations that wish to transition their device-based agreements to user-based agreements at renewal
  • ECS Add-on – This option is for organizations with an existing Enterprise Platform who wish to transition to user-based licensing immediately

To reiterate, ECS is geared towards organizations seeking a BYOD/cloud strategy that allows them to leverage multiple devices per-user as a single licensing option. This change from per-device to per-user allows CIOs to revisit the BYOD conversation as cost, security, and compliance concerns for leveraging non-Windows devices within the cloud/datacenter can be set aside. Microsoft’s “cloud first, mobile first” mantra recognizes that organizations are utilizing Android or Apple products alongside Microsoft enterprise solutions, so embracing its competitors’ BYOD market share signifies Microsoft’s commitment to enterprise workplace productivity.

Uncovering Your Organization’s Suitability for ECS

Certain scenarios wouldn’t justify the move to ECS; fortunately, the agreement terms are user-centric. For instance, a desktop machine that multiple employees use throughout the day would be better suited for a device-based model since those employees using the one desktop don’t require the “on-the-go” access to corporate information the way a BYOD exec would.

To help illuminate an organization’s suitability for ECS, SoftwareONE offers several Microsoft Advisory Services geared specifically toward Cloud Strategies and Technology Solution Discovery. Contact our team of Technical and Licensing Specialists to learn more about how you can roadmap your path to a modern solution.

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