Microsoft / Microsoft EA / Microsoft Enterprise Agreement

Microsoft Enterprise Agreement Direct vs Indirect

Microsoft / Microsoft EA / Microsoft Enterprise Agreement

Microsoft Enterprise Agreement Direct vs Indirect

Differences between Microsoft Enterprise Agreement Direct and Indirect:

  • Microsoft Enterprise Agreement Direct:
    • Direct interaction with Microsoft.
    • Simplified transactions without intermediaries.
    • Full control over software procurement and license management.
    • It requires in-house management and an understanding of Microsoft’s licensing rules.
  • Microsoft Enterprise Agreement Indirect:
    • Involves a Microsoft Licensing Solution Provider (LSP) as an intermediary.
    • Offers expert assistance and administrative support from the LSP.
    • Personalized customer service from the LSP.
    • It may incur additional costs and slower communication due to the middleman.

Microsoft Licensing: A Brief Overview

Microsoft Licensing

Overview of Microsoft’s Licensing Programs:

Microsoft offers a variety of licensing programs tailored to meet the needs of different organizations. These programs range from simple single-user licenses to complex volume licensing agreements. They are designed to provide flexibility and scalability, allowing organizations to choose the most appropriate licensing structure based on their specific requirements.

Target Audience for Microsoft Enterprise Agreement

The Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) targets large organizations with 500 or more users or devices. This agreement is ideal for businesses that require a manageable and cost-effective way to license Microsoft software and cloud services across their entire organization.

Designed for Organizations with 500+ Users or Devices The Enterprise Agreement is structured to accommodate the needs of large-scale operations. It provides a comprehensive solution consolidating the licensing of multiple Microsoft products, making it easier for organizations to manage their software assets.

Benefits of the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement

  • Combines Cloud Services and Software Licenses: The Enterprise Agreement allows organizations to combine cloud services and on-premises software licenses under a single agreement, providing flexibility and simplifying license management.
  • Cost Savings: Organizations can achieve significant cost savings by purchasing licenses in volume compared to purchasing individual licenses.
  • Simplified Management: The EA simplifies the management of software licenses, making it easier to track usage and ensure compliance.

Microsoft Enterprise Agreement: Direct

Definition and Explanation of the Direct Enterprise Agreement:

A Direct Enterprise Agreement involves a direct relationship between the organization and Microsoft. In this model, the organization handles all licensing and procurement activities directly with Microsoft without the involvement of intermediaries.

Key Benefits

Direct Communication: Faster Issue Resolution

One of the primary advantages of a direct agreement is the ability to communicate directly with Microsoft. This direct line of communication can expedite the resolution of any issues that arise, ensuring that problems are addressed quickly and efficiently.

Simplified Transactions: No Intermediaries Involved

Transactions are more straightforward without intermediaries. The organization deals directly with Microsoft for all procurement and licensing matters, reducing complexity and potential misunderstandings.

Autonomy: Full Control Over Procurement, License Management, and Negotiations

With a direct agreement, the organization retains full control over all aspects of software procurement, license management, and negotiations. This autonomy allows for greater flexibility and the ability to tailor the agreement to the organization’s needs.

Requirements and Challenges

In-house management of All Procurement and Licensing Tasks

Managing a direct Enterprise Agreement requires the organization to handle all procurement and licensing tasks internally. This can be resource-intensive and require dedicated personnel to manage the agreement effectively.

Understanding Microsoft’s Licensing Rules

Organizations must thoroughly understand Microsoft’s licensing rules and policies to ensure compliance. This knowledge is crucial to avoiding potential pitfalls and making informed licensing decisions.

Possible Requirement for Dedicated Staff to Manage the Agreement

Given the complexity of managing a direct Enterprise Agreement, organizations may need to allocate dedicated staff to oversee the process. This ensures that all licensing activities are handled efficiently and that the organization complies with Microsoft’s licensing terms.

Microsoft Enterprise Agreement: Indirect

Definition and Explanation of the Indirect Enterprise Agreement An Indirect Enterprise Agreement involves a third party, a Licensing Solution Provider (LSP), acting as an intermediary between the organization and Microsoft. The LSP assists with procuring and managing Microsoft licenses, offering expertise and administrative support to the organization.

Role of the Licensing Solution Provider (LSP) The LSP plays a crucial role in the indirect agreement model. They bring extensive knowledge of Microsoft’s licensing schemes and provide valuable assistance in managing and optimizing the organization’s licenses. The LSP handles administrative work, freeing up internal resources and ensuring compliance with Microsoft’s licensing policies.

Key Benefits

Expert Assistance: Knowledgeable About Microsoft’s Licensing Schemes The LSP’s deep understanding of Microsoft’s complex licensing rules can help organizations navigate the intricacies of licensing, ensuring they are fully compliant and making the most cost-effective decisions.

Administrative Support: LSP Handles Administrative Tasks, Freeing Internal Resources By managing the administrative aspects of the licensing agreement, the LSP allows the organization’s internal team to focus on core business activities. This support includes tracking license usage, managing renewals, and ensuring compliance.

Customer Service: Personalized Service and Support from the LSP LSPs provide personalized customer service, tailoring their support to the organization’s specific needs. This can include dedicated account managers, customized reporting, and proactive advice on optimizing license usage.

Potential Downsides

Slower Communication Due to the Middleman One potential drawback of the indirect model is slower communication. Since the LSP acts as an intermediary, there may be delays in resolving issues or getting answers to questions compared to direct communication with Microsoft.

Additional Costs Associated with LSP Services Using an LSP typically involves additional costs. These can include service fees for their administrative and support services. Organizations need to weigh these costs against the benefits provided by the LSP.

Direct vs. Indirect: Which is Right for Your Organization?

Direct vs. Indirect

Factors to Consider

Size and Complexity of Your Organization

  • Large Organizations: Larger organizations with complex structures and extensive licensing needs might benefit more from the expert assistance provided by an LSP. The LSP can help manage the complexity and ensure compliance across various departments and locations.
  • Smaller Organizations: Smaller organizations with simpler structures might find managing their licensing directly with Microsoft easier and more cost-effective.

Internal Resources

  • Direct Model: Suitable if the organization has sufficient internal resources and expertise to manage licenses and procurement activities. This model provides greater control but requires a good understanding of Microsoft’s licensing policies.
  • Indirect Model: Ideal if internal resources are limited. The LSP provides administrative support, freeing internal staff to prioritize other priorities.

Software Portfolio

  • Significant Microsoft Software Portfolio: Organizations with a large and varied Microsoft software portfolio might benefit from the indirect model. The LSP’s expertise can help optimize licensing across the entire portfolio and ensure compliance.
  • Smaller Software Portfolio: Organizations with a smaller, more straightforward software portfolio might manage adequately with a direct agreement.

Communication Preferences

  • Direct Model: Preferable for organizations that value direct communication with vendors and want faster resolution of issues without intermediaries.
  • Indirect Model: Suitable for organizations that prefer having an intermediary to handle administrative tasks and provide personalized support, even if it means slightly slower communication.

By carefully considering these factors, organizations can determine which Enterprise Agreement model—direct or indirect—best aligns with their needs, resources, and strategic goals.

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  • Fredrik Filipsson

    Fredrik Filipsson brings two decades of Oracle license management experience, including a nine-year tenure at Oracle and 11 years in Oracle license consulting. His expertise extends across leading IT corporations like IBM, enriching his profile with a broad spectrum of software and cloud projects. Filipsson's proficiency encompasses IBM, SAP, Microsoft, and Salesforce platforms, alongside significant involvement in Microsoft Copilot and AI initiatives, improving organizational efficiency.

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