Microsoft’s New Commerce Experience: what you need to know

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Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that it was changing the way customers purchase and manage their licenses through the New Commerce Experience (NCE). 

Many of Microsoft’s products have evolved over the years, resulting in complexity and confusion for customers over the pricing and licensing of products. In answer, Microsoft targeted the complexity of these issues and has changed the subscription details and pricing of Azure, Microsoft 365, Windows 365, Dynamics 365, and Power Platform for commercial seat-based offers.

While these subscriptions are going up in price, there are certain things you can do to minimise the increase.

What is included in Microsoft’s NCE?

The New Commerce Experience comprises a range of new purchasing options for end customers of per-seat licensing. It has been designed to provide cost-savings for long-term commitments, and flexibility for businesses with seasonal employees.

These changes provide customers with a more straightforward way to manage subscriptions, allowing them to buy only what they need “per seat”.

This model currently only applies to commercial pricing; not-for-profit, government, and academic models have not been included. This may change in the future.

These options include:

Monthly subscription:

  • With this plan, the number of seats can be increased, decreased, or cancelled, with only a month-to-month commitment.
  • Includes a 20% premium for the flexibility on offer.
  • Customers can cancel with 30 days’ notice, or increase/decrease the number of seats at the end of each month.
  • Prices will increase in line with any changed Microsoft makes.
  • Includes a 72-hour cancellation window for new purchases.

12 or 36-month subscriptions:

  • Customers receive cost increase protection for the full plan duration.
  • Can only be cancelled within 72 hours of the purchase.
  • Seats cannot be decreased, but can be increased with pro-rated billing.
  • Longer term licensing commitments.
  • Choice to be billed monthly, annually, or up front.

Subscriptions can be mixed under the NCE; this is particularly worthwhile for businesses with fluctuating or contractual employee numbers. Microsoft will allow customers to mix and blend licenses to provide additional flexibility.

For example, a business might hold 50% of its Microsoft 365 Business Premium licenses on a 12-month agreement, and the other 50% on a month-to-month subscription. This means the business can easily cancel any portion of its monthly seats if needed.

Can subscriptions be cancelled?

Each subscription comes with a 72-hour window for cancellations. Once you have passed this time frame, you will be obligated to fulfil the entire subscription period. 

Once the 72-hour timeframe has passed, customers will be locked in to their billing contracts. You can add licenses during your agreement term, but seat reductions cannot be made until the end of the subscription period.

Bills will also not be transferable to any other partner until the current agreement has expired.

When does the NCE come into force?

The NCE was launched for Microsoft Azure in 2019, and expanded to include Microsoft 365, Windows 365, Dynamics 365, and Power Platform for commercial seat-based offers in January 2022. However, it will not come into effect until June 30 for existing subscriptions. Any new subscriptions added after March 10 are only available under the NCE model. 

If your existing license has a renewal dated after June 30, it will transition to the NCE on the renewal date.

Cost-savings and flexibility benefits

The NCE is the perfect opportunity to audit your current Microsoft licenses, which will help ensure that you are not paying for licenses you don’t need, or worse, paying a premium for features you are not using.

Under the NCE, you will be able to choose exactly how many seats you require. If you are unsure, the month-to-month subscription will allow you to increase or decrease your seats at the end of each month, allowing for greater flexibility.

Find the right solution for your business and save money

The New Commerce Experience is an accessible and flexible way to purchase Microsoft software. It is designed to save costs for businesses with long-term licensing commitments, and provide more freedom of choice for customers who want to tailor their on-premises deployments to meet specific business needs.

Talk to the Microsoft specialists at RODIN for an audit of your current Microsoft licenses. Their consultants can help you save money with the right subscription, seamlessly transition over to the NCE, and manage your Microsoft environment for optimum performance.

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