EA vs CSP: which is right for your business? - Bistech

How to navigate the changing landscape of Microsoft subscription licencing.

For large businesses, Microsoft’s Enterprise Agreement has long been the established way to purchase Microsoft subscription licencing. But with the continued global, financial and economic uncertainty, and the shift to hybrid working, does a more agile and futureproof option better meet the needs of our changing world?

EA and CSP defined

Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) — the traditional way that customers have purchased their Microsoft licencing, designed for companies with at least 500 seats that want to license software and cloud services for a minimum three-year period.

Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) — an increasingly popular alternative to EAs that has considerably more agility. By working with a Microsoft Partner and enrolling in the CSP programme, you can benefit from more flexible terms and a lower minimum number of users.

Understanding the distinction

The table below provides an at-a-glance comparison of the key points of both the EA and CSP programmes:

*Depending on provider

Which is best for your business?

If you’re looking for a scalable, agile solution, then it’s worth considering the CSP programme, which provides more flexibility when it comes to not only adding and removing users, but also products — allowing for a phased, more cost-effective rollout of features over time. There’s also a shorter commitment term and no requirement for upfront payment. Combined with the uncertainty of the current business climate and the expectation of remote working opportunities, CSP may be a more futureproof option.

In addition, as CSP agreements are provided through Microsoft Partners, you’ll also receive access to Microsoft Premier Support — which comes at an additional cost with EA — along with the benefits of working with an expert partner who can deliver a tailored solution.

Alternatively, EAs are best suited to large organisations which are confident that they can predict their IT requirements over their three-year contract period and are happy with large upfront annual payments.

Finding the right Cloud Solution Provider for you

Enabling secure remote IT practices that are simple, efficient and accessible from anywhere and on any device has become a priority for businesses over the past 18 months. This can be an intricate task, with IT teams needing to balance secure access to data and resources, changing budgets, scaling and capacity issues and compliance with industry regulations alongside employee-specific needs or specialised workloads. Engaging with a CSP who truly understands your unique business needs and can guide you through the transition is vital.

At Bistech, we take the time to understand your long-term business objectives, putting forward a roadmap that achieves this while maximising the benefits of the CSP programme to reduce costs and increase productivity and flexibility. To understand more about how we can help with your Microsoft subscription licencing, call our expert team on 03330 11 22 55.