As a leading provider of technology solutions and one of the largest global resellers of Microsoft products and services, Insight offers a combination of expert technical resources, strategic business perspective, and strong architectural deployment and solution support.
A long-time Microsoft partner, Insight has implemented and supported Microsoft solutions for more than 25 years. As a trusted advisor to its clients, Insight focuses on helping them use technology to achieve new efficiencies and realize cost savings, while meeting IT business priorities. That strategy generated sales of US$5.1 billion in 2013, adding to the millions of seats of cloud services for commercial and public sector clients around the globe.
As one of the first Microsoft Licensing Solution Providers and a partner with several Gold competencies, including one in Volume Licensing, Insight is well versed in helping its clients choose the Microsoft licensing option that best meets their needs. The complexity of those programs in the past required a significant amount of explanation, which took time away from developing new solutions for their clients.
Over the last few years, more and more Insight clients have been adding Microsoft cloud services to their on-premises solutions. That trend added another layer of complexity for commercial organizations that wanted to acquire both on-premises and cloud-based applications on an as-needed basis. In addition, many organizations required separate Select Plus and Microsoft Online Subscription agreements to support unique IT projects at the division and departmental level. This created multiple agreements with different renewal dates that made managing their Microsoft portfolio time consuming and potentially costly.
In 2012, Insight was pleased to hear that Microsoft was developing a simpler, more inclusive licensing agreement that would cover both on-premises solutions and cloud services. When invited to participate in developing that agreement, Insight enthusiastically joined Microsoft and other key partners to co-design the new Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA), which:
• Streamlines licensing with a single, eight-page agreement that combines on-premises and cloud services purchases.
• Allows an organization (or a group of organizations) to achieve the best volume discount.
• Is supported by new online systems and tools to simplify the overall experience.
One of the first Insight clients to choose the MPSA was looking for a cost-effective way to implement Microsoft Exchange Online. To support that move, the client first needed to upgrade multiple devices to the current version of Microsoft Office Professional Plus, including Outlook, which would result in having to manage a mix of on-premises and cloud licenses.
“The MPSA provides a licensing avenue that enabled this hybrid approach to be transacted in one sales order and one agreement. That was huge for us and for the client,” says Mark Berlin, Senior Manager Product Management, Insight Enterprises.
The client was able to deploy the new on-premises licenses for Office and to self-provision Exchange Online, all from the new Microsoft Volume Licensing Center (MVLC). Now all components of the purchase—on-premises and cloud—apply to the same MPSA annual point level.
“Once the client signs an MPSA, they have access to the MVLC so they can add cloud services within a day rather than go through the multiple day process it was before,” says Berlin. “Rather than getting one bill for cloud services and another for on-premises software, they get just one bill from Insight, and we can manage all of the licenses for them.”
In offering the MPSA to its clients, Insight is finding several benefits:
Streamlined sales process. “Our clients especially like that the MPSA is nonexpiring and simpler, and that the contract is much shorter in length than previous licensing options,” Berlin says. “The ease of signing is decreasing the sales cycle time, so we can spend more time discussing the benefits of the technology with our clients instead of explaining complex licensing scenarios.”
Lower cost of sales. The simplified agreement, integrated systems, and data available to partners through the Microsoft Volume Licensing Partner Center (VLPC), and easier self-service provisioning for clients through the MVLC contribute to a lower cost of sales.
Expanded revenue opportunities. “New tools in the VLPC give us a comprehensive view of our clients’ software assets and make it much easier for us to identify complimentary solutions to ensure that they get the maximum benefit from their technology investment,” says Berlin. In addition, Insight can now realize revenue from cloud opportunities along with its on-premises solutions.
Greater sales flexibility. The flexibility to include both on-premises and cloud solutions in a single agreement suitable for commercial, academic, and government account types enables Insight to more closely meet clients’ specific needs. This helps build closer client relationships and frees up time previously dedicated to administrative tasks.
“By engaging with partners to co-design the MPSA, Microsoft demonstrated that they really value our input,” says Berlin. “The result of that collaboration is delivering the benefits that partners were looking for—a lower cost of sale, expanded revenue opportunities, and greater sales agility.”