Understanding Microsoft’s New Commerce Experience
Microsoft’s New Commerce Experience has reached Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and Power Platform licensing in the Cloud Solution Provider programme – and there are significant changes coming in 2022.
Here at BUI, we’re already hard at work, helping our cloud customers to navigate the New Commerce Experience successfully.
We’re also fielding queries from business teams who are struggling to understand Microsoft’s New Commerce Experience. We hear you. And that’s why we’re tackling your most common questions today. You asked, and we’re answering. Let’s take a closer look.
Q. What is the New Commerce Experience?
A. The New Commerce Experience (NCE) is Microsoft’s integrated commercial platform, designed to simplify the sale of its cloud products and services globally.
Microsoft created the NCE to streamline and standardise licensing via Cloud Solution Providers (CSPs), Enterprise Agreements (EAs), and its own online portals – so that customers experience similar pricing and terms across a number of sales models.
In 2019, Microsoft implemented the NCE for CSPs, starting with Microsoft Azure. And since then, the NCE has been rolled out in stages. Today, customers with Azure Plan subscriptions – as well as those who buy Azure Reserved Instances, perpetual software, server software, and third-party apps and offers through CSPs – transact through the NCE platform.
In January 2022, Microsoft expanded the NCE to include commercial seat-based subscriptions for Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and Power Platform in the CSP programme – and introduced new offers with new rules.
“The New Commerce Experience is the present and future of how Microsoft sells cloud products and services to customers, both directly and through partners… It will also make the selling process, requirements, and capabilities much more consistent across the Microsoft sales ecosystem.” – MICROSOFT
Q. What does the New Commerce Experience mean for my business?
A. Simply put, the NCE will change the way that you purchase Microsoft 365 (M365), Dynamics 365 (D365), and Power Platform subscriptions from your CSP. There are three key differences between the legacy CSP experience you’re familiar with and the NCE. It’s important to note:
1. The subscription options. Under the NCE, there are monthly and annual subscription options to help you cater for fixed and fluid staffing scenarios within your business.
- Monthly subscriptions give you the freedom to purchase licences on a month-to-month basis as needed, and the flexibility to decrease the number of licences at the end of the month. There is, however, a 20% price premium for month-to-month subscriptions.
- Annual (12 months) and Multi-Year (36 months) subscriptions provide price protection for longer term commitments. You will be able to add licences during the term, but you will only be able to decrease licence counts at the end of the term.
2. The cancellation policy. In the legacy CSP experience, an option to cancel a subscription wasn’t available. Instead, your CSP could suspend a subscription to stop the billing for it, and the subscription would expire if not renewed at the end of the term.
- Under the NCE, a seat-based subscription of any term length can be cancelled – BUT only within the first 72 hours of the term, with a prorated refund (calculated daily). After the first 72 hours, no cancellation is possible, and billing will continue for the remainder of the term.
- The cancellation period of 72 hours includes all days of the week, and doesn’t exclude weekends or holidays. So, if a subscription is purchased on a Friday, you will have until the following Monday to cancel it.
3. The seat reduction policy. Seat counts on NCE subscriptions can be reduced – BUT only within the first 72 hours of the term. After the first 72 hours, no seat reductions are possible. It’s therefore critical to ensure that your subscriptions and seat counts are accurate from the start of the agreement.
Q. Why should I have my subscriptions moved to the NCE?
A. Microsoft has made it clear that the NCE platform will soon be the platform on which all CSP products and services are provisioned.
During the months in which the NCE and the legacy CSP experience are available side by side, your CSP will initiate the process of moving your existing subscriptions to the NCE platform, and start placing new subscriptions via the NCE in preparation for the eventual decommissioning of the legacy CSP experience.
Q. When will my subscriptions on the current platform be required to be moved to the NCE?
A. From 10 March 2022, CSPs will no longer be able to order new subscriptions on the legacy CSP platform. From 1 July 2022, CSPs will no longer be able to renew existing subscriptions on the legacy CSP platform. You should engage directly with your CSP to determine the best schedule for your transition to the NCE. Your licensing strategy, your business needs, and your budget (among other factors) should be considered during this discussion.
Q. What other dates do I need to know about?
A. Microsoft is clear about the NCE timelines, and there are several dates to diarise:
1 March 2022. Although unrelated to the New Commerce Experience, Microsoft’s previously announced commercial price increases for Microsoft 365 come into effect at the beginning of March this year. If you have Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Microsoft 365 Business Premium, Office 365 E1, Office 365 E3, Office 365 E5, or Microsoft 365 E3 subscriptions in play, then you’ll need to consider the new pricing as part of your planning for the NCE.
10 March 2022. All new subscriptions must be purchased via the NCE platform from 10 March 2022 onward. Your CSP will no longer be able to order new subscriptions on the legacy CSP platform.
1 July 2022. Starting in July, all renewals must occur via the NCE platform. Your CSP will no longer be able to renew existing subscriptions on the legacy CSP platform.
From October 2022, all customers will have to make purchases via the NCE platform.
In June 2023, all legacy CSP subscriptions will be retired.
Now’s the time to review your subscriptions
If you rely on Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and Power Platform in your day-to-day business environment, then it’s important to evaluate your current subscriptions in line with the New Commerce Experience timelines.
How many licences do you have? How many licences do you actually need? Are you paying a premium for features that aren’t being used? What is the best time for your business to transition from the legacy CSP experience to the NCE? What Microsoft NCE promotions can you take advantage of right now? Consider these questions with your CSP as you review the cloud solutions that enable workplace productivity for your teams.
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