Advanced Communications is available

Microsoft announce that Advanced Communications is available from August 1, 2020.

This adds a new set of capabilities for Teams, costs $12 per user per month and may be added on to any licence that includes the Teams service.

It supports large meetings enhancing the standard Teams limits from 10,000 to 20,000 attendees, 15 to 50 concurrent events, and event durations from 4 to 16 hours. Note that these limits are already uplifted for all Teams users until 1 October, 2020 – find details of that here: https://bit.ly/3lf2fON.

It also supports integration with ISV compliance recording and contact centre solutions, and will support custom branded meeting lobbies in the near future.

Find details of what’s included here: https://bit.ly/31r24b8, the announcement itself here: https://bit.ly/3hsYl2l, and a useful FAQ here: https://bit.ly/34vzoQr.

Expansion of self-service purchase capability

Microsoft expand the capability for end users to purchase licences on their organisation’s tenant without going through the IT department.

From 15 September, 2020 users will be able to purchase Visio Plan 1 and Plan 2, and Project Plan 1 and Plan 3, as well as the currently available Power Apps per user, Power Automate per user and Power BI Pro products.

IT administrators can see any licences that have been purchased in this way through the Microsoft 365 Admin Center, and can turn off self-service purchase on a product by product basis using PowerShell – find instructions here: https://bit.ly/2Eum8Am.

There’s also a useful FAQ to get an overview of the processes from both the end users’ and the IT administrators’ perspective here: http://bit.ly/2T034Pe.

System Center Configuration Manager is now Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager

Microsoft Endpoint Manager is the name for all of Microsoft’s endpoint management solutions, and includes System Center Configuration Manager and Microsoft Intune. The benefit of Microsoft Endpoint Manager is that it makes it easier for organisations to concurrently manage Windows 10 devices with both Configuration Manager and Microsoft Intune, a configuration called co-management. Bringing everything up to date, the July 2020 Product Terms updates the name of System Center Configuration Manager to Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager.

In terms of co-management licensing, organisations don’t have to buy both Configuration Manager and Intune licences: if they are licensed for Configuration Manager then they are automatically licensed for Intune for co-managing Windows PCs, and if they are licensed for Intune, then they are also automatically licensed for Configuration Manager for co-managing Windows PCs. There are some management scenarios which aren’t covered with the co-management rights and this article has some useful instances of when you would also need a full Intune licence when you have a Configuration Manager licence, for example: https://bit.ly/2WIZieT.

There’s a name change but there aren’t changes to the licensing of Configuration Manager. As a recap, there’s a current branch and long-term servicing branch (LTSB) for Configuration Manager, with the current branch providing an active servicing model as you would expect. Customers who have active Software Assurance or a subscription to EMS E3 (for example) may use this branch. Configuration Manager must always be purchased with Software Assurance through a Volume Licensing agreement and the LTSB is intended for customers who have perpetual licence rights to Configuration Manager but have let the SA expire. This is a useful article if you want to learn more about branches and licensing: https://bit.ly/3hpw0JX.

And finally, there’s a Microsoft Endpoint Manager FAQ document which you may find useful here: https://bit.ly/32JtVog.

PowerApps and Power Automate Licensing FAQs

If you’re interested in the licensing of PowerApps and Power Automate then you may find this page of licensing FAQs useful. It covers a diverse range of topics including trial licences, the Common Data Service, Add-ons, Portals, and AI Builder. Find it here: http://bit.ly/32U9ocP.

Extended Security Updates for Windows 7 to be available in CSP

Microsoft announce that Extended Security Updates for Windows 7 will be available to purchase through the CSP program from 1 December, 2019. Find the announcement here: http://bit.ly/35gkQ57, and the latest FAQ in the Desktop section of our Licensing Guides emporium: http://bit.ly/MSLicensingGuides.

Monthly payment option for Azure Reservations

Microsoft announce that a monthly payment option is now available for some Azure Reservations. There aren’t any additional costs for choosing to pay monthly rather than upfront, although if you’re in a non-US-dollar market the actual monthly payment may vary dependent on the exchange rate. Monthly payments are available for the following services: virtual machines, SQL Database, SQL Data Warehouse, Cosmos DB, and the App Service stamp fee, and it’s an option you select when you buy the Reservation from the Azure Management Portal.

Find some good pictures of the process and some FAQs here: http://bit.ly/2maim6g.

The original announcement is here: http://bit.ly/2lILGR0.

Windows 7 and Office 2010 End of Support FAQ

There’s an updated (July 2019) Windows 7 and Office 2010 End of Support FAQ. Use it to answer questions such as: which programs are the Extended Security Updates available in (currently EA/EAS/EES, but CSP too by the end of 2019); who’s eligible for free ESUs (EA/EAS customers with active Windows E5 or Microsoft 365 E5/E5 Security subscriptions); and in which Windows environments is Office 365 ProPlus supported (it depends, see pages 12/13).

Find this document, as usual, here: http://bitly/MSLicensingGuides.

Home Use Program Guide

There’s a new guide on the Home Use Program, aimed at those people who manage HUP benefits within a business. These days the benefits are managed through the Microsoft Store for Business, and the guide takes administrators through the steps needed to get set up for this, including using the Azure AD authentication and identity service. There are also instructions for inviting employees to use the Home Use Program, an overview of what employees will need to do on receiving the invitation, and a summary FAQ.

Find this guide in the Volume Licensing Guides section at http://bit.ly/MSLicensingGuides.

Transitioning to the Microsoft Customer Agreement FAQ

Microsoft’s new commerce experience means that eligible Enterprise Agreement customers can transition to buying their Azure services through the Microsoft Customer Agreement.

If you’ve got questions on how this transitioning process works, then this FAQ might be useful: http://bit.ly/2ITH1XO.

Microsoft Commerce Experience FAQ

There’s an updated (April 2019) Microsoft Commerce Experience FAQ which focuses on the new way that customers can buy the Azure services direct from Microsoft through the Microsoft Customer Agreement.

There aren’t major changes to this document, but there is a link included now to view the new Microsoft Customer Agreement.

Find this FAQ in the Volume Licensing Programs section here: http://bit.ly/MSLicensingGuides.