Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) Program landscape is dynamic. It is continuously adapting to address and cater to the current business needs of companies. Recently, Microsoft launched some vital changes to its terms, pricing, and product licensing with the New Commerce Experience. Since its announcement, we’ve observed an astonishing number of concerns about how it can affect businesses. No worries because we’re here to explain everything and ensure that you’re in good hands.
What is the New Commerce Experience (NCE)?
The New Commerce Experience is an update on how businesses provide licenses and products with Microsoft. It is a revamp under CSP and emphasizes more options in terms of commitment. Additionally, it is built to fulfill the goal of simplifying and creating a consistent and flexible purchasing experience on Microsoft’s commerce model. Transacting licenses and attaching and managing services in CSP are easier in CSP.
Who will be affected by the licensing changes?
If your business subscribes to any of the listed below, the NCE will affect how you license those plans henceforth.
- Microsoft 365 Business Basic
- Microsoft 365 Business Premium
- Microsoft 465 E3
- Office 365 E1
- Office 365 E3
- Office 365 E5
What are the most significant differences that we can see between CSP and NCE?
One of the most significant changes that NCE has brought is the expanded term options, specifically the monthly subscription, which comes with annual subscriptions. The 36-month term is also newly launched, giving customers an option to commit long-term. To paint you a clearer picture of the New Commerce Experience, let’s look at the table below:
Monthly and Annual
Monthly, Annual, Upfront
+20% Price Premium
Same as Legacy pricing
Same as Legacy pricing
Cost Savings, Price Locking
Cost Savings, Price-locking for long term
Notable NCE Dates to Keep in Mind
Initially, the New Commerce Experience was launched solely for Microsoft Azure in 2019. Still continuously evolving, it expanded to include other Microsoft solutions, including Dynamics 365, Microsoft 365, Windows 365, and Power Platform commercial seat-based offers. Generally, most of the changes will take effect in 2022. Keep reading if you want to be updated with all the announcements (so far).
- October 14, 2021 – Technical Preview 2 for NCE went live.
- January 2022 – NCE was launched for General Availability and became available for
- February 28, 2022 – No new SKUs are allowed for Legacy CSP models beyond this date.
- March 15, 2022 (formerly March 1, 2022) – Some Modern Work offers will implement a price increase.
- March 10, 2022 – New subscriptions must be bought in NCE.
- July 1, 2022 – Customers can renew through the “legacy” route until this date.
*Microsoft continues to release updates from 2022 and beyond. Keep in touch with our ECF team to know the latest Microsoft news about NCE.
Frequently Asked Questions about Microsoft New Commerce Experience
Understandably, a new announcement will stir a mix of reactions and questions that need to be addressed. So, we compiled and listed them out for you to straighten things out and answer these pressing questions.
Question 1: Is it possible to cancel, and can I avail a refund?
Unlike the legacy CSP program, where there is no option to cancel, the seat-based subscription of NCE under monthly, annual, and tri-annual can be cancelled. However, it’s only plausible within the first 72 hours of the term, including a prorated refund. Past the 72 hours, the cancellation policy wouldn’t apply, and the billing will remain for the rest of the subscription. This cancellation period doesn’t exclude weekends and holidays.
Question 2: Can I reduce seats during a withstanding contract?
The rules for reducing SKUs possess the same as the NCE’s cancellation policy. Explicitly, Microsoft will only enable you to scale down your licenses only after the 72-hours of your purchase. After this time, you will only be allowed to do upgrades, and you will be set to pay those licenses depending on your availed subscription.
Question 3: Is it possible to combine the three term options for different products?
Absolutely! We know that there are certain SKUs that you will only use for a month, probably for a short-term project, or perhaps you want to test the waters first and figure out the number of licenses that you’d need. Again, NCE was made for flexibility. So, if there’s anything that will be useful to your business, you can take advantage of locking in that price for the entire year.
Question 4: How does the price protection work?
Though it is quite a rare instance that Microsoft implements price hikes, it may happen in the future. For NCE, the price protection will be in line with your chosen timeframe. Those availing the 12 months will have the advantage of a price lock for the entire year, and that same policy applies to businesses availing of the 36-month subscription.
Question 5: Since it is newly launched, does Microsoft offer promos?
NCE commercial offers run until June 30, 2022. This time provides customers to try the monthly term without the 20% uplift. With that, it will align with the annual subscription price.
Question 6: Are there any new features?
Of course, you can count on Microsoft to add new features. Most of these revolve around billing, data processing, and subscription management. Some of these involve:
- Complete upgrade of automatic seat assignment: Before, scaling up was only possible for SMBs, but not even enterprise-level SKUs could also avail of the automatic seat upgrade. This feature promotes ease and efficiency in managing subscriptions, especially for larger customers.
- Toggle auto-renewal: Partners can now switch auto-renewal and manually submit it. This feature allows managing renewals (including terminations) and planning better in line with managing subscriptions.
- Schedule changes: This feature allows partners to convert SKUs, schedule seat counts, renew different billing options, and change term-length renewals. You can count on better operational efficiency because you will remove the manual changes at renewal.
- Switching partners: Transferring active subscriptions to a new partner wouldn’t be possible. What is possible is adding users and new subscriptions. Clients will remain to be responsible for current subscription terms.
- Resume/Stop subscriptions: In the legacy CSP model, the partner must suspend the subscription and reorder it if the term expires. With NCE, you can halt your subscription and resume within the period without cancellation. The billing will proceed through the suspension.
Question 7: Will these changes affect the non-profit, educational, and government institutions?
NCE is only applicable to commercial licenses. Non-Profit, Educational, and Government licenses will not be covered by NCE currently. Conversely, they are also exempted from the price increase.
Your Next Step with ECF Data
When dealing with transitions and changes, it is crucial to work with a reputable and hands-on partner who will guide you and make sure that you can fully optimize your entire business. ECF Data is a Microsoft Gold Partner and a hands-on companion in this shift. Whether you are an existing client or want to inquire about the ins and outs of CSP and NCE, we are here to help, clarify, and answer all the queries you may have. Fill out our forms to reach out to one of our experts to get you started.