Microsoft

Microsoft Volume Licensing – The Complete Guide

Microsoft Volume Licensing is:

  • A program for organizations to acquire multiple software licenses at reduced costs.
  • Designed for affordability and ease of running software on multiple computers.
  • Allows organizations to avoid purchasing individual software for each device, reducing material costs.
  • Offers more customized purchasing options​

Discover the intricacies of Microsoft Volume Licensing in this comprehensive guide.

Microsoft Volume Licensing Programs

What is Microsoft Volume Licensing?

Microsoft Volume Licensing Programs offer a cost-effective and flexible way for businesses and organizations to acquire Microsoft software licenses.

Unlike retail licensing, where software is purchased individually, often at a higher cost and with fewer benefits, Volume Licensing is designed to meet the needs of various organizations, from small businesses to large enterprises, by providing software licenses in bulk and at discounted rates.

This approach not only simplifies obtaining and managing software licenses but also offers additional benefits such as access to the latest technologies, flexible payment options, and the ability to customize packages based on specific needs.

Benefits Of Retail Licensing

Volume Licensing stands out by offering:

  • Cost Savings: Purchasing licenses in bulk typically results in significant cost savings compared to acquiring individual retail licenses.
  • Flexibility and Scalability: Organizations can adjust the number of licenses according to their needs, allowing for scalability as the business grows or changes.
  • Software Assurance: Many volume licensing agreements include software assurance, which provides access to the latest updates, support, training, and deployment tools.
  • Administrative Ease: Centralized management of licenses through the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) simplifies administration and compliance tracking.

Types of Volume Licensing Programs

Microsoft offers several Volume Licensing programs, each tailored to the size and type of organization, as well as its specific needs:

  • Open License: Designed for small to medium-sized businesses, the Open License program is a great starting point for purchasing as few as five licenses. It offers a simple, cost-effective way to acquire the latest Microsoft technology within a two-year agreement period.
  • Open Value: Ideal for organizations that prefer to spread their payments over time, Open Value includes the option for Software Assurance, enhancing the licensing agreement with additional support and tools. It’s particularly suitable for businesses seeking a comprehensive and customizable licensing solution with the benefits of software upgrades.
  • Enterprise Agreement (EA): Tailored for larger organizations with 500 or more users or devices, the Enterprise Agreement offers the best value, providing a customizable platform that combines a range of Microsoft products and services under a single agreement. EA includes flexible licensing options, comprehensive Software Assurance benefits, and the ability to add or remove products as needed.
  • Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA): The MPSA consolidates the purchasing of Microsoft cloud services, software, and Microsoft Azure in a simplified, flexible agreement. Suitable for businesses of all sizes, MPSA streamlines the licensing process, offering a single, unified agreement that can adapt to the evolving needs of the organization.

Each program is designed to provide organizations with the most efficient, cost-effective way to purchase and manage Microsoft licenses. By understanding the nuances of these Volume Licensing options, businesses can make informed decisions that align with their strategic goals and operational requirements.

Microsoft Volume Licensing is a program that allows organizations to acquire multiple software licenses at a reduced cost. This program is designed to make it easier and more affordable for organizations to run software on multiple computers.

Instead of purchasing individual boxed software for each device, organizations can acquire licenses for the necessary software, reducing material costs and providing more customized purchasing options.

Key Components of Volume Licensing

Key Components of Volume Licensing

Microsoft Volume Licensing encompasses a variety of programs, each with its specific features, eligibility requirements, and benefits.

Understanding these key components is essential for organizations to select the most suitable licensing option.

Open License Program

  • Eligibility: Aimed at small to medium-sized businesses, the Open License program is accessible to organizations that purchase as few as five licenses.
  • Program Specifics: It offers a pay-as-you-go approach, allowing businesses to acquire additional licenses as needed over the term of the agreement, which typically lasts two years. This program is ideal for businesses seeking flexibility without a significant upfront investment.

Open Value

  • Eligibility: Designed for any size of organization that seeks the ability to spread payments over time and requires Software Assurance with their licenses.
  • Program Specifics: Open Value emphasizes the comprehensive benefits of Software Assurance, including access to new software releases, training, and support. It also allows organizations to standardize their Microsoft software across the entire organization, providing simplified license management and better cost predictability.

Enterprise Agreement (EA)

  • Eligibility: Best suited for large organizations with 500 or more users or devices. The program accommodates those looking for a volume licensing agreement that offers the lowest per-unit cost.
  • Program Specifics: The EA provides a three-year agreement that covers software licenses and cloud services, allowing organizations to adjust their license count annually to suit changing needs. It includes Software Assurance as a standard feature, enhancing the value of the agreement through additional support and tools.

Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA)

  • Eligibility: Flexible for businesses of all sizes, MPSA is particularly beneficial for organizations that want a simplified, single agreement for all their Microsoft cloud services, software, and Microsoft Azure needs.
  • Program Specifics: MPSA consolidates purchasing across the organization, offering a customizable and agile licensing agreement that can evolve with the business. It simplifies management through a non-expiring agreement, offering a broad range of products and services without the need for a specific commitment term.

The Role of Software Assurance in Volume Licensing

Software Assurance is a comprehensive maintenance program that can be included with Volume Licensing agreements. It offers a range of benefits designed to help organizations maximize the value of their Microsoft investments.

Key benefits include:

  • New Version Rights: Access to the latest versions of licensed software, ensuring that organizations always have access to the newest features and security updates.
  • Training: Offers training vouchers that can be redeemed for Microsoft training courses, helping IT staff stay proficient in the latest technologies.
  • Support: Provides enhanced support options, including 24/7 access to Microsoft support professionals to resolve issues quickly.
  • Deployment Planning Services: Helps organizations plan their software deployment with the assistance of Microsoft experts, ensuring a smooth and efficient rollout of new software.

Software Assurance plays a pivotal role in Volume Licensing by offering these and other benefits, such as the Home Use Program and the Enterprise Source Licensing Program, which provide additional value beyond the mere acquisition of licenses.

Organizations that leverage Software Assurance can achieve higher productivity, improved IT skills among staff, and better alignment of Microsoft technologies with their business objectives.

How does Microsoft Volume Licensing work?

How does Microsoft Volume Licensing work

The Process of Microsoft Volume Licensing

  1. Assessment of Needs: The first step involves evaluating the organization’s specific software requirements, including the types and quantities of Microsoft products needed. This assessment helps in selecting the most appropriate Volume Licensing program.
  2. Selecting the Right Program: Microsoft offers several Volume Licensing programs, each tailored to different organization sizes and needs. Programs such as the Open License, Open Value, Enterprise Agreement (EA), and Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA) cater to a wide range of scenarios. The choice depends on factors like the number of licenses required, budget constraints, payment preferences, and whether the organization prefers Software Assurance benefits.
  3. Acquiring Licenses: Once the appropriate Volume Licensing program is selected, the organization can proceed to purchase licenses. This is typically done through a Microsoft Partner or directly from Microsoft. The organization will receive access to the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC), where they can manage their licenses, download software, and access benefits associated with their program.
  4. Software Assurance: Many Volume Licensing agreements offer the option to add Software Assurance, which provides additional benefits such as access to the latest software updates, training resources, and support options. Organizations can opt for Software Assurance to maximize the value of their investment.
  5. License Management and Compliance: Through the VLSC, organizations can track and manage their licenses, ensuring compliance with the terms of their Volume Licensing agreement. The VLSC allows easy access to download software, manage keys, and allocate licenses across the organization.
  6. Renewal and Adjustment: Volume Licensing agreements typically have a term length (e.g., two or three years for Open Value and EA programs). Near the end of this term, organizations have the opportunity to renew their agreement, adjust the number of licenses based on current needs, and incorporate new software solutions as required.

Benefits of Microsoft Volume Licensing

Benefits of Microsoft Volume Licensing
  • Cost Efficiency: By purchasing licenses in bulk, organizations can achieve significant cost savings compared to buying individual retail licenses.
  • Flexibility: Volume Licensing agreements offer the flexibility to acquire additional licenses as needed and choose payment plans that suit the organization’s budget.
  • Access to Latest Technology: With Software Assurance, organizations can upgrade to the latest Microsoft software releases during the term of their agreement without additional costs.
  • Centralized Management: The VLSC provides a centralized platform for managing licenses, downloads, and Software Assurance benefits, simplifying administrative tasks.
  • Customization: Volume Licensing agreements can be customized to meet the specific needs of an organization, including the mix of products and services required.

Microsoft Volume Licensing represents a strategic approach for organizations leveraging Microsoft technologies efficiently and cost-effectively.

By understanding how Volume Licensing works, organizations can make informed decisions that align with their operational requirements and financial objectives.

MS Licensing Options for Small Businesses

open value licensing

The Open programs provide smaller organizations with a simple, cost-effective way to acquire the latest Microsoft technology.

These programs include:

  • Open Value: Optimal for organizations that want to standardize their IT infrastructure and maximize their investment with Software Assurance.
  • Open Value Subscription: Optimal for organizations that want lower upfront costs and can increase or decrease license count annually to accommodate changes in desktop PC count.
  • Open License: Optimal for organizations that want to start using the software immediately and pay as they go.

MS Licensing Options for Midsize and Large Businesses

microsoft volume licensing programs

Microsoft Volume Licensing programs can support dynamic IT infrastructure and simplify software license management for midsize and large businesses.

These programs include:

  • Open Value: Optimal for organizations that want to standardize their IT infrastructure and maximize their investment with Software Assurance.
  • Open Value Subscription: Optimal for organizations that want lower upfront costs and can increase or decrease license count annually to accommodate changes in desktop PC count.
  • Select Plus: Acquire the latest Microsoft technology through a pay-as-you-go licensing model so that you can maintain a mixed software environment. Acquire software licenses and services by the business unit while realizing volume purchasing advantages as one organization. The agreement never expires and has an optional 36 months of Software Assurance.
  • Select: Acquire the latest Microsoft technology through a pay-as-you-go licensing model to maintain a mixed software environment. Ability to forecast your license needs over three years. Software Assurance is optional.
  • Enterprise Agreement: Provides cost savings beyond standard license pricing, helps your business standardize IT across the enterprise, and includes comprehensive Software Assurance benefits.
  • Enterprise Subscription Agreement: Provides the benefits of an Enterprise Agreement with lower upfront costs and additional flexibility. Optimal for organizations that want to increase or decrease license count annually to accommodate changes in desktop PC count.

Microsoft Licensing Programs for Government Organizations

Microsoft Licensing Programs for Government Organizations

Microsoft tailors its licensing programs to meet the specific needs of government organizations, offering them a streamlined and cost-effective way to access a wide range of software solutions.

These programs are designed to support public sector entities’ unique operational, security, and compliance requirements, ensuring that government agencies at all levels can leverage Microsoft’s technology to enhance their services and efficiency.

Key Aspects of Microsoft Licensing for Government Organizations:

  • Government Licensing Agreements:
    • These agreements are specially structured to accommodate government entities’ procurement processes and regulatory compliance requirements, offering flexible terms that align with public administration and fiscal policies.
  • Volume Licensing:
    • Similar to the corporate sector, government agencies can benefit from volume licensing, which allows them to purchase multiple software licenses at a reduced cost. This is particularly advantageous for large-scale deployments across various departments and agencies.
  • Secure and Compliant Solutions:
    • Microsoft’s licensing programs recognize the critical importance of security and data protection in the government sector, including access to secure software solutions that comply with national and international regulatory standards.
  • Customizable Options:
    • Government organizations can access customizable licensing options tailored to their specific needs, whether for desktop productivity, database management, server operations, or cloud-based services.
  • Dedicated Support and Services:
    • Microsoft offers dedicated support and services to government licensees, including technical assistance, training, and software updates, ensuring that government agencies can maintain operational continuity and security.

These licensing programs are part of Microsoft’s commitment to supporting public sector efficiency and innovation, providing government organizations with the tools to fulfill their missions effectively and securely.

Through these specialized agreements, government entities can access Microsoft’s extensive portfolio of software products and services, enabling them to leverage technology to improve public services and operational effectiveness.

Microsoft Licensing Programs for Educational Institutions

Microsoft Licensing Programs for Educational Institutions

Microsoft Licensing Programs for Educational Institutions offer comprehensive subscription licensing options tailored specifically to the needs of educational customers.

These programs include three main offerings: Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES), Campus Enrollment, and School Enrollment.

Each of these enrollment options is part of the broader Campus and School Agreement framework, designed to streamline the licensing process for educational institutions.

Key Features of Microsoft’s Educational Licensing Programs:

  1. Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES): This program is ideal for educational institutions seeking a customizable, volume licensing option that scales with their needs. EES offers the flexibility to manage software licenses and subscriptions efficiently, ensuring educators and students can access the latest Microsoft technologies.
  2. Campus Enrollment: Specifically designed for higher education institutions, this option provides a comprehensive licensing solution covering the full Microsoft software suite. It allows universities and colleges to equip their campuses with the latest Microsoft tools and technologies under a simplified agreement.
  3. School Enrollment: Tailored for primary and secondary schools, this program offers a similar breadth of software access as Campus Enrollment but is structured to meet the unique needs of K-12 educational environments. It simplifies access to educational technology, enabling schools to enhance learning experiences with Microsoft’s suite of products.

Each enrollment option includes Software Assurance, a Microsoft program that provides access to the latest software updates, training, and support, ensuring that educational institutions can maximize their technology investments.

Additionally, these programs offer Student Licensing options, allowing students to use Microsoft products for learning purposes at no extra cost, thereby supporting equitable access to technology for students.

Microsoft Subscription Licensing Programs

Microsoft offers several subscription licensing programs, including:

  • Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES): This provides qualifying academic institutions with assured coverage for desktop platform products and the flexibility to add additional products under a single subscription agreement.
  • School Enrollment: This is for primary/secondary schools and preschools that want the simplicity of licensing all products organization-wide and ordering any product for a quantity that matches the annual count of an organization’s PCs/devices.
  • Campus: Campus Agreements offer affordable, subscription-based licensing for higher education institutions to license the entire organization or just a single department. The New EES program currently replaces this annual program; however, existing Campus customers can continue to purchase under this agreement for the remainder of their contract term.

Microsoft Perpetual Licensing Programs

In perpetual licensing programs, you purchase the software licenses, giving your organization rights to the software after the licensing term ends.

These programs include:

  • Open License for Academic: An easy, cost-effective way for educational institutions with as few as five computers to license Microsoft software. You simply order the number of licenses you need. Software assurance and physical installation media are available at additional fees.
  • Select License for Academic: Acquire the latest Microsoft technology through a pay-as-you-go licensing model so that you can maintain a mixed software environment. Ability to forecast your license needs over three years. Software Assurance is optional.

Microsoft Licensing Programs for Charitable Organizations

Microsoft Licensing Programs for Charitable Organizations

Microsoft’s Licensing Programs for Charitable Organizations are designed with the specific needs of nonprofit entities in mind, aiming to minimize their software-related expenditures while maximizing their operational efficiency.

Below is a more comprehensive breakdown of these offerings, emphasizing the benefits and structure of the program:

Key Features of Microsoft’s Licensing Programs for Charitable Organizations

  • Volume Licensing Advantage:
    • Cost Reduction: By participating in Volume Licensing, eligible nonprofits can obtain multiple software licenses under a single agreement. This method is far more economical than purchasing individual software packages at retail prices.
    • Simplified Procurement: Streamlines the process of acquiring software, making it easier and faster for organizations to get the necessary tools.
    • Access to a Wide Range of Products: Charitable organizations can choose from a broad portfolio of Microsoft products, ensuring they have the right tools for any task.
  • Eligibility for Nonprofits:
    • Broad Eligibility Criteria: Microsoft’s programs are accessible to a wide range of charitable organizations, recognizing the diverse needs and functions of the nonprofit sector.
    • Verification Process: Interested organizations must go through a verification process to confirm their eligibility for the program, ensuring that support is directed to qualified entities.
  • Benefits of the Program:
    • Cost-effective Software Management: By reducing software costs, nonprofits can allocate more funds to their primary missions, enhancing their impact on the communities they serve.
    • Enhanced Operational Efficiency: Access to the latest software tools and updates helps organizations operate more effectively, from administrative tasks to program delivery.
    • Support and Training: Participants in Microsoft’s licensing programs also benefit from support and training opportunities, helping them make the most of their software investments.

By leveraging these licensing programs, charitable organizations not only save on essential software but also gain the ability to focus.

Microsoft Licensing Programs for Healthcare Organizations

Microsoft Licensing Programs for Healthcare Organizations

Microsoft recognizes the critical role that technology plays in healthcare, offering licensing programs specifically designed to support healthcare organizations in delivering patient care and ensuring safety.

These programs are meticulously tailored to meet the unique needs of the healthcare sector, from small clinics to large hospital systems, facilitating access to cutting-edge technology solutions that can enhance patient outcomes and operational efficiency.

Key Features of Microsoft Licensing for Healthcare Organizations:

  • Customized Volume Licensing:
    • Microsoft’s Volume Licensing programs are adaptable to the specific scale and requirements of your healthcare organization, whether you’re managing a small practice or a large healthcare system. This customization helps in accurately predicting and managing software license purchases, streamlining budgeting and procurement processes.
  • Support for Patient Health and Safety:
    • At the core of Microsoft’s healthcare licensing is a commitment to supporting the critical objectives of patient health and safety. The available software and services are designed to enhance patient care delivery, secure sensitive health data, and ensure compliance with healthcare regulations.
  • Flexible and Cost-Effective Solutions:
    • The licensing programs offer flexibility in choosing the right software solutions for your healthcare environment, supporting a range of applications from patient management systems to data analytics and telemedicine services. By leveraging Volume Licensing, healthcare organizations can achieve significant cost savings, ensuring that funds are allocated efficiently towards patient care and technological advancements.
  • Enhanced Security and Compliance:
    • Recognizing the importance of data security and regulatory compliance in healthcare, Microsoft includes robust security features and compliance tools in its licensing programs. These are essential for protecting patient information, adhering to health regulations, and mitigating cybersecurity risks.
  • Access to Latest Technology:
    • Healthcare organizations benefit from continuous access to the latest Microsoft technologies, including updates and innovations that can improve care delivery, patient engagement, and operational workflows. This ensures healthcare providers have the most advanced tools to meet their patients’ needs.

Microsoft’s licensing programs for healthcare organizations are designed with the sector’s specific challenges and opportunities, offering scalable, secure, and efficient software solutions.

These programs empower healthcare providers to leverage technology to improve patient outcomes and streamline care processes, ultimately contributing to a healthier society.

MS Licensing Options for Service Providers, Hosters, and Applications as Service Providers and ISVs

Microsoft’s Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA) is specifically designed for organizations that aim to provide hosted software and services to their end customers.

This includes a broad spectrum of services such as web hosting, hosted applications, messaging, collaboration services, and platform infrastructure.

SPLA is an essential tool for service providers, hosters, and independent software vendors (ISVs) who wish to leverage Microsoft technologies to deliver their services.

Key Highlights of SPLA:

  • Broad Service Spectrum: SPLA is versatile, catering to various hosting services including, but not limited to, web hosting, application hosting, messaging, and collaboration platforms.
  • Direct Customer Licensing: Service providers can license Microsoft products to offer services and host applications directly to their customers.
  • Monthly Subscription Model: SPLA operates on a monthly subscription model, offering flexibility to scale up or down based on actual usage, which can be particularly advantageous for businesses with fluctuating demand.
  • Access to Latest Microsoft Technologies: Service providers can access the most current Microsoft software, ensuring they can offer competitive and up-to-date solutions to their customers.
  • Compliance and Legal Assurance: By utilizing SPLA, service providers ensure compliance with Microsoft’s licensing requirements, providing legal assurance and protection for both the provider and their customers.

Microsoft Software Assurance

Microsoft Software Assurance is an all-encompassing program designed to optimize the value organizations derive from their software investments.

This program integrates a suite of benefits that extend beyond mere access to the latest software versions.

It encompasses dedicated phone support, specialized services from partners, tailored training options, and a suite of IT management tools, ensuring that organizations have comprehensive support and resources at their disposal.

Core Components of Microsoft Software Assurance:

  • Latest Software Updates: Subscribers gain access to the newest versions of Microsoft software, ensuring that organizations can leverage the latest features, security updates, and performance improvements.
  • Dedicated Phone Support: Software Assurance includes direct phone access to Microsoft support professionals, providing timely assistance for troubleshooting and operational queries.
  • Partner Services: Organizations benefit from the expertise of Microsoft partners, offering specialized services such as deployment planning and operational optimization.
  • Customized Training: With options for both online and in-person training sessions, Software Assurance facilitates skill development and software proficiency among employees, enhancing productivity and software utilization.
  • IT Management Tools: Subscribers have access to advanced tools designed to streamline IT operations, from software deployment to monitoring and management, aiding in the efficient administration of Microsoft products within the organization.

Activation and Utilization:

  • Immediate Benefit Access: Organizations can opt for Software Assurance at the time of their software purchase, enabling them to start leveraging the extensive benefits right away, for the entire duration of their license agreement.
  • Flexibility and Planning: The inclusion of Software Assurance in the licensing agreement provides organizations with a predictable framework for their software budgeting and planning, ensuring they have continuous access to essential resources and support.

Software Assurance by Microsoft is tailored to ensure that organizations can not only keep their software up to date but also maximize their software investment through a comprehensive array of support options, training programs, and management tools. This holistic approach aids in enhancing operational efficiency, improving security posture, and ensuring that employees are well-equipped to meet the challenges of the modern workplace.

FAQs on Microsoft Volume Licensing

What is Microsoft Volume Licensing?

Microsoft Volume Licensing is a service that allows organizations to acquire multiple software licenses at a reduced cost. This service is designed to make it easier and more affordable for organizations to run software on multiple computers.

How does Microsoft Volume Licensing work?

Microsoft Volume Licensing allows organizations to pay only for the necessary software licenses. This eliminates the need for additional components such as media (CDs/DVDs), user guides, and other packaging items with boxed software.

What are the benefits of Microsoft Volume Licensing?

Microsoft Volume Licensing offers several benefits, including cost-effectiveness, customized purchasing options, and improved software management.

What are the different types of Microsoft Volume Licensing Programs?

Microsoft offers different Volume Licensing programs tailored to meet the needs of specific industries and organization sizes. These include Open License, Open Value, Open Value Subscription, Select Plus, Enterprise Agreement, and Enterprise Subscription Agreement.

What is Microsoft Software Assurance?

Software Assurance is a comprehensive maintenance offering to help organizations maximize their software investment. It combines the latest software with phone support, partner services, training, and IT tools.

What are the licensing options for small businesses?

The Open programs provide smaller organizations with a simple, cost-effective way to acquire the latest Microsoft technology. These programs include Open License, Open Value, and Open Value Subscription.

What are the licensing options for midsize and large businesses?

Microsoft Volume Licensing programs can support dynamic IT infrastructure and simplify software license management for midsize and large businesses. These programs include Open Value, Open Value Subscription, Select Plus, Enterprise Agreement, and Enterprise Subscription Agreement.

What are Microsoft Licensing Programs for government organizations?

Volume Licensing has government licensing offerings for all sizes of eligible organizations with special pricing and terms to better align with the way government organizations acquire software licenses.

If you need assistance navigating the complexities of Microsoft Volume Licensing, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Redress Compliance

Author

  • 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, enhancing organizational efficiency.