Microsoft 365 Price Increase: Right-sizing protection and cost for your customers

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“Win on the transition” is a term I heard for the first time several years ago. I have written about it and I have conducted numerous public presentations on the topic. Since then, I have observed companies both win and lose on “transitions” across various industries. Some of these transitions are brought about by innovation, economic conditions or, most recently, a worldwide pandemic. We can all think of companies that have supercharged revenue and profits during Covid, while we have seen others wither away.
Within the MSP industry, I have witnessed some MSPs thrive in the last couple years. They have adapted quickly to better secure their customers, and they have empowered digital transformation. At the same time, other MSPs have been slow to evolve. As a result, they are either struggling or growing at a slower rate than their peers.

Change is Coming

I believe we are on the verge of another transition point in the MSP community. Over 90% of all MSPs resell Microsoft 365 and, in case you have not heard, Microsoft is implementing a price increase on 365 starting March 1, 2022.  How MSPs handle this price increase will prove to be a transition point for many. For years, the term “trusted advisor” has been waved about in MSP circles as an aspirational title. While many have struggled to live up to this designation, MSPs are now presented with an opportunity. They can become their customers’ “trusted advisors” with the impending Microsoft price increase that will affect most, if not all, MSP customers. The MSFT licensing programs are very confusing and even most IT professionals have a difficult time understanding them. By understanding the new prices and the different plans, MSPs have an opportunity to right-size both the customers’ protection and their costs for the most widely used application in their stack. Several features are bundled into the different MSFT 365 licensing packages. Most people don’t even know or understand if they need them. Some of these features include:
  • Litigation Hold
  • Auto-expanding email archive
  • Manual, default and mandatory sensitivity in Office 365
  • Sensitivity labeling for containers in Office 365

What the Price Increase Means for MSPs

Most SMB customers don’t understand whether they need MSFT 365 for Business, MSFT for Enterprise or Office 365 for Enterprise. Beyond that, they will need to choose the Basic, Premium or Standard versions of these products. This price increase presents a great opportunity for MSPs to fully understand the differences in MSFT plans, including the features and costs associated with each plan. Most importantly, MSPs can determine how the customer can right-size functionality, protection and cost. SMB customers expect thought leadership from their MSPs in understanding all of the software they use. They rely on MSPs to help them save money by eliminating redundant functionality across different products. In SaaS Alerts’ first SASI Report (SaaS Application Security Insights), released in June 2021, we found that the foreign application most SMBs are logging into, with their MSFT 365 credentials, is Zoom.  But, we all know that MSFT Teams and Zoom do many of the same functions.  As an MSP seeking to be a trusted advisor, I could use that information to propose that the customer discontinues using Zoom to help offset the MSFT price increase. Instead, the customer would use Teams, exclusively. During the month of February, SaaS Alerts is dedicated to better educating MSPs on the different MSFT 365 plans, feature comparisons and pricing options to help every MSP right-size their customers’ protection and cost. Our goal is to share practical insights to help every MSP become a trusted advisor and “win on the transition”. To that end, we invite you to join us for our Microsoft 365 Price Increase webinar on February 15th or February 23rd. In addition to gaining these insights, every attendee will receive access to our new MSFT 365 calculator. This calculator incorporates the price increases and it includes options for different margin expectations.

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