Office 365 Licensing Guide

There’s a new (March 2016) Volume Licensing Brief for Office 365.

This document has useful tables showing you all the Office 365 plans and what’s included in each one, as well as availability in the different channels. Then there’s an overview of the four flavours of USL that customers can choose from:

  • Full USL (if you’re a new Online Services customer)
  • From SA USL (if you’re transitioning from existing on-premises products with SA)
  • Add-on USL (if you’ve got traditional licences and want to try the cloud), and a
  • Step Up USL (if you want to go to a higher plan).

Finally, there’s a useful table showing the technical dependencies of some of the Office 365 services.

Find this guide here:

Overview of the Changes to the February 2014 Volume Licensing Product List

Power BI for Office 365 USLs

  • Power BI makes its long-awaited debut and it’s now available as a co-terminous subscription through all the Volume Licensing programs except poor old Select Plus which doesn’t offer any Online Services. More interestingly perhaps, a Power BI USL also gives access to SQL Server 2012 Standard and Business Intelligence editions as an alternative to a SQL 2012 CAL – see pages 36/37 of the January 2014 PUR

Office 365 Add-on USLs through Open

  • The Open Value Offer has now morphed into the Office 365 Add-ons where customers who have made an enterprise-wide commitment can add Office 365 services at a reduced price. Pages 105/106 show a very useful table where you can see the qualifying agreements (Open Value Company Wide or OVS), the Qualifying Licences (Core CAL Suite/Enterprise CAL Suite/Office Professional Plus 2013), the available Add-ons (E1, E3, Midsize Business) and the combinations thereof that are allowed

Server and Cloud Enrolment

  • You may know that customers purchasing eligible products under ECI or EAP received double points towards Planning Services and it’s confirmed on page 67 that this does NOT apply to SCE, and products will receive exactly the same points allocations as other programs

System Center Advisor

  • As of January 2013 System Center Advisor became a free service where SA was no longer required for customers wanting to use it – this is the month that it’s removed from the SA section of the Product List. See the original announcement here:

CRM Online USLs for SA

  • The USLs available for CRM Online for customers who have CRM 2013 CALs with SA aren’t new, but there’s a good table added on page 153 showing the Qualifying CALs and what USLs for SA are available

Overview of the Changes to the October 2013 Volume Licensing Product List

This month’s headliner is CRM in both its online and on-premise flavours. Although it’s not the place to go into the changes in the licensing here (a future blog post perhaps?) you’ll find that the new CRM Online licences replace the old, and all the CRM 2011 offerings are traded up to their 2013 equivalents. However, what’s perhaps more interesting is that there’s further useful CRM licensing information threaded throughout the document:

  • Planning Services: SQL Server Deployment Planning Services (SSDPS) now include deployment planning for Microsoft Dynamics CRM – I guess we should be grateful they didn’t try to get CRM into the (already long enough) acronym! There’s also confirmation that CRM CALs and Server licences are now qualifying licences to contribute points towards the Planning Services days. See pages 63/64
  • Transition rights: when a new product with a slightly different set of licences appears, specifics on the transition rights are always useful and pages 149-151 detail the SA migration path, downgrade rights, as well as the licence grants associated with the end of life of the CRM 2011 External Connector
  • CRM Online Support: pages 93-95 are devoted to a brand new section on various CRM Online Support Offerings

Office 365 Add-ons are cast in a supporting role this month. As a group, these are new offerings for EA customers to bolt onto their existing enterprise-wide CAL Suite commitment, and there are two items of note:

  • There’s a brand new Windows Azure Active Directory Rights Management Add-on User SL which customers who have the Enterprise CAL Suite as a qualifying licence may purchase. The tables on page 104 are a useful resource
  • There’s confirmation, also on page 104, that customers may buy Add-on licences before they buy the qualifying licences. Sound bizarre?! Essentially, it’s just confirming that between anniversaries, customers may acquire Add-ons and then true-up the desktop products in the usual way, and thus be compliant with their qualifying licences at that point

And finally, there are a few changes for Bing if that’s your thing:

  • The Bing Maps Public Website Usage 250K Transactions Monthly Subscription is removed – the remaining SKUs are for 100K and 420K transactions
  • A couple of other products (Bing Maps Enterprise and the Mobile Asset Management Platform) have a reported price decrease and thus decrease their points in the Select Plus program from 50 to 25 points
  • The section on “How to access the Bing Maps Service” is overhauled on page 127

More on the Office 365 Add-ons

I’ve taken all this information from the Microsoft webcast on this topic at If you like to learn by watching a video then proceed with all haste to this link. Otherwise read on for the key points which act as a follow on article to my introductory post on this topic.

Program Availability

  • The Add-ons will be available through the perpetual EA first, then the program will be extended to the Subscription EA as needed
  • There are no changes to the Select Plus program at this point in terms of making these Add-ons available

SKU Notes

  • A customer needs either Core CALs or Enterprise CALs as the underlying licences to purchase these Add-ons and in all cases they’ll need to specify whether they are adding to an underlying Device or User CAL. All Add-ons are USLs
  • Core CAL customers can choose to add on E1
  • Core CAL and Enterprise CAL customers can purchase an E3 or E4 Add-on with or without Office Pro Plus. There is obviously be a price difference, and customers are able to mix the Add-ons within their estate
  • Note that because the customer is maintaining their full CAL there is no need for a Bridge CAL which is required in a transition for the components that aren’t covered by the Office 365 plan

Transactional Notes

  • The Add-ons are Additional Products in the EA, and by default are co-terminous with the EA
  • There is no minimum purchase quantity for the Add-ons, and they may be added by the licence reservation process and then reconciled at the anniversary in the usual way
  • The Add-ons are valid until the end of the contract; at renewal the customer can move to a full USL (via transition) or they can continue to use Add-ons at renewal
  • Customers may mix models (transition and Add-ons) although it’s not necessarily advisable as it may be confusing to manage…!
  • The Add-on is added on for the Primary User of the existing underlying licence and is for a single user if there are multiple people using a device; at no time can you have more Add-ons than underlying licences
  • The standard Online Services terms remain in place, such as cancellations being allowed within 30 days


  • All Add-on prices are monthly prices that take into account the customer’s existing investment. In other words, an E1 Add-on USL to Core CAL is cheaper than the full E1 USL for customers who have not invested in Core CAL
  • There are different prices for the different EA Levels, as usual
  • Customers can add pricing for the Add-ons at any time and if they want locked pricing they should use a Supplemental CPS, as usual
  • The Add-on price is the same for L&SA and SA-only EAs


  • If a customer has, for example, the Enterprise CAL Suite with Office Professional Plus and adds on the E3 Add-on then he retains the rights of the Office Professional Plus licence (perhaps continuing to downgrade to Office 2010) AND receives the rights for Office 365 Pro Plus (such as the multiple install rights)
  • However, the customer must make sure that there is always the underlying licensing in place for the base EA; so any new Qualified Devices must be covered with their own licences rather than using the multiple install rights of an Office 365 Pro Plus licence assigned to another device. The additional rights should be used (as usual) for non-qualifying devices such as mobile devices or in BYOD scenarios

An Introduction to the Office 365 Add-ons

Starting on 1st August 2013 customers will be able to add Office 365 Add-ons to their Enterprise Agreement. Hurrah! Er, actually, why might they want to do this? Well, it’s a brand new model to help customers move to the cloud – let’s take a look…

Previously, customers HAVE been able to move to the cloud in their EA by transitioning their on-premise licences to Office 365 User Subscription Licences (USLs). The simplest example was a Core CAL customer who wanted to transition to Plan E1 who, in effect, traded in his Core CAL licences for E1 USLs and Bridge CALs to cover those components not included in E1 (the Windows CAL and Endpoint Protection). This worked well for customers who were committed to the cloud and didn’t need to retain perpetual rights to on-premise licences, and indeed transitioning will remain a licensing option for customers.

However, for the customer who wants to evaluate the cloud or who does want to move to hosted services, but feels uncomfortable about losing their perpetual rights to existing licences, the new Add-ons are a good solution.

Let’s take an example of a customer who has an EA with 500 Core CAL and Office Professional Plus licences who wants to move 50 users to the cloud and thinks that Office 365 Plan E3 will best meet his needs. He simply purchases 50 E3 Add-on USLs. The structure of the existing EA remains exactly the same with these add-ons which means that he still retains the rights to the underlying licences (downgrade rights, SA benefits etc) and if he decides that E3 isn’t for him, he simply cancels the subscription at anniversary and his licensing position is intact.

I’m sure that you’ve got lots of questions on this! Check our next blog post where we’ll look at the next level of detail on this.

Overview of the Changes to the August 2013 Volume Licensing Product List

This month it’s all about the new Office 365 Add-on SKUs available for customers to purchase through their Enterprise Agreements, and you’ll find the following offerings added to the Product List:

  • Exchange Online Plan 1 Add-on (User SL)
  • Lync Online Plan 1 Add-on (User SL)
  • SharePoint Online Plan 1 Add-on (User SL)
  • SharePoint Online Plan 1 with Yammer Add-on (User SL)
  • Office 365 Enterprise E1, E3, E4 Add-on (User SL)
  • Office 365 Enterprise E3, E4 without Office Pro Plus Add-on (User SL)
  • Office 365 Government G1, G3, G4 Add-on (User SL)
  • Office 365 Government G3, G4 without Office Pro Plus Add-on (User SL)

These Add-on USLs are all listed as Additional Products and are purchased in addition to a Qualifying Licence (or Licences) – which must have active SA of course. Luckily there’s a handy table on page 103 that shows what Add-ons a customers may acquire if they own Core CAL/Enterprise CAL with, or without, Office Professional Plus licences. This page turns up further treasures as some useful notes then follow on purchase eligibility, purchase restrictions, licence assignment, use rights, and true ups.

If you want to know more about these new offerings and the benefits they’ll give customers, then check back for our next post when we’ll cover this in more detail.