Microsoft 365 Price Changes
This article highlights some previous and upcoming changes to the Microsoft 365 pricing model.
In the early part of 2022 Microsoft changed the pricing model for 365 services and introduced the New Commerce Experience(NCE) for its partners like Cutler IT Limited. NCE introduced annual agreements and was brought in alongside price increases of 20% for some Microsoft 365 services.
The change brought Microsoft 365 in line with the common approach in the software market where customers prepared to commit to a longer term agreement benefited from a better price. Those wanting a more flexible arrangement could still do so, however, this would involve paying a premium. This change brings in a requirement to understand the model and find a balance between flexibility and price that works best for you.
In my opinion this change was partly driven by the aftermath of the pandemic to insure against another significant disruption in the global economy. With the old model monthly licenses could be removed at anytime without penalty.
Because the core product we provide for our customers – Microsoft 365 Business Standard was not impacted by the 20% price increase, to minimize any disruption for our customers we decided to keep things as there are and took a calculated risk on other services like Business Basic. Our aim being to keep the same price for our customers across all products while still maintaining the flexibility.
We have taken a hit in some areas, but compared to the disruption this could have caused we believe that this was the right approach. Our customers have retained the flexibility at the same price, avoided any price increases and more importantly avoided the complexity of these changes.
So Whats Changed!
A few things, but the most significant is a move by Microsoft to index link the their pricing to the £/$ exchange rate from 1st April 2023 which for UK customers will mean a 9% increase in all products.
By putting annual agreements in place on the ‘New Commerce Agreement’ prior to this price increase we can lock in the current price for the full year, so now is the time.
Alongside this we would also like to simplify the process for us and our customers when making adds, moves and changes to their Microsoft 365 tenant.
Our plan is to introduce a master agreement whereby authorised contacts can add and remove licenses through a service request or via our customer portal without having to authorise any paperwork and deal with multiple invoices.
We understand these changes introduce more choice and complexity to the licensing decisions so we also want to simplify things by standardizing any annual renewals to 1st March.
In September 2022 we introduced our customer portal. The initial release was focused on our customers technology assets, networks, ticket stats and people. We have now introduced visibility of all Microsoft 365 licensing and following feedback simplified the log on process. You are now able to get the multi factor authentication(MFA) code via email. Due to the sensitive nature of some of the information provided through the portal its important that we have this extra layer of security, however, we have made it easier.
More features will be introduced very soon, but please take the time to get acquainted with the system and review the technology landscape for your organization. If you need any help getting access please give us a call or send over a service request – 0333 700 2077 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Cutler IT Limited customers:
1)Log into the customer portal and check that all the user licenses you have are correct and let us know any that could be removed.
2)Think about whether the number of users is likely to change in the next year – so a decision can be made whether annual or monthly rolling agreement would be the best approach for you.
3)Take a look at the sections below and understand whether now is the right time to switch to Microsoft 365 Business Premium
If you believe that the numbers are likely to remain similar then annual contracts would be the most cost effective option. For some a mix and match may be a better approach where you have 10% of the licenses at flexible and 90% on annual contracts.
Security Security Security!!!
We will discuss this topic more in upcoming articles, however, its important to make the point now while there is a need to review Microsoft 365 licensing arrangements. At Cutler IT Limited we have really bought into the Cyber Essentials certification and drive to bring in a minimum standard security requirement for all our customers.
Cyber Essentials is an accreditation developed by the National Cyber Security Centre – a part of GCHQ. It is a certification scheme that supports organisations of all sizes to guard against online threats and demonstrate a commitment to cyber security to customers and stakeholders.
Through the Cyber Essentials scheme, businesses can learn how to defend themselves by securing internet connections and devices, controlling access to data, and understanding how to protect against ransomware.
Our weapon of choice to help our customers achieve Cyber Essentials and improve their overall security standpoint is Microsoft 365 Business Premium and more specifically some of the products included in the bundled package:
Microsoft InTune & Azure Active Directory Plan 1 & Microsoft Defender for Business!!!
Think of it like airport security. Where your credentials are checked before boarding a plane and you are also checked to make sure you aren’t carrying anything you shouldn’t be through airport security.
These tools allow us to do the same but instead we are protecting access to corporate systems and setting standards for the devices allowed in. With the increasing number of personal devices now access corporate information or Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) it is more important than ever to make sure devices like mobiles and personal computers are checked before been allowed on corporate systems.
Now is the time to switch over to Microsoft 365 Business Premium to lock in the price and also begin the journey to Cyber Essentials accreditation.
Microsoft 365 Product Set
OK – so lets look at some numbers :
|Product/Service||Microsoft Current||1st April 2023 Onwards|
|Microsoft 365 Business Premium||£ 19.92||£ 16.60||£ 21.71||£ 18.09|
|Microsoft 365 Business Standard||£ 11.30||£ 9.40||£ 12.32||£ 10.25|
|Microsoft 365 Business Basic||£ 5.40||£ 4.50||£ 5.89||£ 4.91|
|Exchange Online (Plan 1)||£ 3.60||£ 3.00||£ 3.92||£ 3.27|
Its should be noted that Not for Profit and Education licence pricing differs and to date has not been affected by the New Commerce Experience.
Things are changing but the good news is there are actions we can take now to get the best out of these changes, minimise the impact and come up with a plan together.