Chances are you\u2019ve probably heard of a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) before. It\u2019s just a volume licensing deal for software, right? What\u2019s the big deal? Well, a few years ago, a volume licensing program was just a better way to get bigger savings on big orders. Today, it\u2019s a whole different ballgame.\nWith the rise of cloud, big data, and new ways of working, everyone\u2019s looking for greater flexibility. As your technological landscape changes, you need to be able to download products, use them, pay for them, and bring them into the environment at your leisure\u2014not on a transactional basis. Microsoft EA delivers that flexibility.\nSo how can an EA help you take advantage of this exciting, new cloud-first, mobile-first world? Microsoft has released some pretty interesting products in the last six months to help guide you through that. As part of the Enterprise enrollment, you get a cloud-optimized option with Office 365. You get the server cloud enrollment that\u2019ll give you Azure and other products that are all catered towards the cloud. In the newest offering, the Enterprise Cloud Suite even offers Windows on a user base license as needed. There\u2019s a tremendous amount of flexibility there. Oh, and don\u2019t get the wrong idea\u2014those \u201cbig savings\u201d I mentioned earlier are still there. If you\u2019re comparing EA to current select licenses, you could have anywhere between 15\u201345% savings. There\u2019s still no better way to save on Microsoft.\nAside from best value and the flexibility to switch up your lineup as business needs change, why choose an EA from the PC Connection, Inc., family of companies? Ask anyone, and their first answer will probably be \u201cmanageability.\u201d Now, when I say manageable, I mean you\u2019re able to now track all of your purchases in a central location. When you think about all of the software titles across your entire organization, that\u2019s a huge deal.\nThe experts at PC Connection can really help you out with your Microsoft license management. We offer concierge services to help you manage every stage of your EA. Think about having people there to give you continual care over the life of your agreement. We\u2019re there to ensure your investment stays in line with your needs. Throughout the duration of your agreement, you have constant assistance. We help you manage your benefits. We help guide you through asset management. We have a licensing optimization program that shows you how to save and where you actually need to spend to achieve compliance. A well-planned licensing strategy presents a great opportunity for savings, and we can give you some smart ideas of areas where you can cut costs.\nI\u2019ve talked a lot about savings and reducing complexity, so you might be wondering just how big of an organization you need to be in order to take advantage of a Microsoft EA. There are a few ground rules to keep in mind. You must have at least 250 users or devices to get in. That\u2019s the minimum; there\u2019s no break in that rule. You also have to know that you\u2019re buying perpetual licenses or subscription licenses via cloud. And you have to commit to Software Assurance, which is not necessarily maintenance as most people think\u2014it\u2019s actually a benefits package that provides all future updates and releases during the contract term.\nSo let\u2019s say you meet all of those criteria, and an EA sounds right up your alley. How does it all work? Bear with me for a minute while we go through the nitty-gritty. It all starts with a three-year commitment\u2014a contract signed between you and Microsoft that says you commit to standardizing your desktops in at least one of Microsoft\u2019s major pools. This sets you up for annual ordering and annual payments. That\u2019s where you can see some big savings. The initial costs of licensing are a lot lower than other models because you\u2019re opting to subscribe to Microsoft products, rather than owning them. Once you commit to your licenses at the beginning of the contract, you pay for those licenses on an annual basis. In between those payments, you\u2019re able to make \u201ctrue-up\u201d payments for anything that\u2019s added into it. Once you make those true-up payments, you\u2019re not committed to any other payment until you move into a new contract.\nStill there? Great! Now that wasn\u2019t so bad, was it? It\u2019s really not that complicated once you\u2019ve got all the relevant information in front of you. And that\u2019s something our experts specialize in. We understand Microsoft EA inside and out\u2014and if you tell us a little bit about your organization, we can give you advice that\u2019s tailored to your unique environment and goals. If you\u2019re interested in learning more about Microsoft EA, drop us a line, listen to my podcast, or check out our free assessment tool. It\u2019s a great way to get started.