The Role of True-Up in Your Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA); What to know and prepare for 

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, businesses must adapt their technology infrastructure to stay ahead of the curve. This often includes leveraging enterprise software contracts, such as Microsoft’s Enterprise Agreement (EA).    

While the benefits of implementing an EA are undeniable, understanding its nuances is vital, especially when it comes to the True-Up process. Microsoft has made changes to its EA licensing, making things more complex for customers currently on the EA.   

Products that are part of the True-Up process include:  

  • Cloud services   
  • Enterprise products 
  • Additional Products  

 As a user of Microsoft EA, your annual True-Up may be near and you must prepare adequately to meet Microsoft’s request.  

In this piece, we’ll dive into what True-Up is, how it works, and what you need to know before starting with your EA.   

Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, what is it again?   

Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) is a licensing agreement for large organizations, offering volume-based discounts for software and Cloud services purchase. This agreement is ideal for enterprises looking to standardize IT infrastructure across the organization and to gain access to Microsoft’s enterprise software solutions. The EA provides flexibility in terms of pricing and licensing, allowing organizations to match their software needs with their business demands.   

Under the terms of the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, organizations purchase the license usually for a period to access Microsoft products and Cloud services.   

In addition to these licensing benefits, the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement offers enterprise-level organizations a range of other valuable resources, including online technical support, training programs, and access to software upgrades and new release rights. These resources can help organizations maximize their investment in Microsoft software if they know what needs they want met and understand what agreements terms they are signing into. Your understanding and adequately breaking down the complexities can either inform how well you save or lose out on your IT investment.   

What is Microsoft True-Up in the Enterprise Agreement journey?   

Microsoft True-Up is an annual process that organizations must complete as part of their EA use. True-Up allows organizations to reconcile the licenses they have acquired in the past year (12 months) with their current usage. This process helps organizations ensure they are compliant and up to date with their licensing requirements. True-Up is a critical component of the EA as it helps organizations maintain a healthy and compliant IT infrastructure.   

The True-Up process involves conducting an inventory of all the qualified devices, users, and processors that have been added throughout the year. It ensures accurate tracking and compliance with licensing requirements.   

How Microsoft True-Up works in your on-premises and Cloud licenses 

True-Up covers both on-premises and Cloud licenses. In recent times, there is flexibility if you have just updated or renewed your Enterprise Agreement to transition to Microsoft Cloud services. You can fine-tune your Microsoft on-premises software and Cloud licenses that will meet the needs of your users but can fit into your budget and road map. After all this, remember to most importantly account for all changes at your anniversary when it comes to the True-up process.    

As an organization, make sure to have accurate records of all licenses purchased, whether they are on-premises or in the Cloud. As part of what the records should contain is number of users licensed (added or removed), number of devices licensed (added or removed) and total number of licenses purchased over the period.    

For Cloud-based licenses, organizations should invest in monitoring and tracking tools like Software Access Management Tools to help generate reports on usage to reconcile their licenses.    

For the True-Up process, organizations must maintain accurate records of their license purchases and usage to ensure they maintain compliance for on-premises and Cloud licenses.   

Is there any timing within the year for True-Up?   

The timing of True-Up depends on your agreement commencement with Microsoft.    

As an organization, ensure to submit your annual True-Up order to Microsoft within the period of 60 days to 30 days ahead of the anniversary of your enrollment. For example, when your anniversary is due on 30th June, you need to prepare and submit a finalized True-Up to Microsoft between 60 to 30 days prior to your anniversary. You must account for all licensing related changes as happened in your organization.    

Again, for the True-Up, remember that this order is attached to the products that you have already licensed under your on-going Enterprise Agreement.   

To ensure compliance, it is required that all newly introduced products and online services, not covered by your current Enterprise Agreement, be purchased within the month of their first use. Moreover, if there have been no changes to your device or user accounts, or if you haven’t utilized any additional Enterprise Agreement products throughout the calendar year, it remains imperative that you submit an Update Statement. This statement must be signed by an authorized signatory within your organization to fulfill your responsibility.  

For the sake of compliance, all newly introduced products and online services that fall outside the range of your existing or on-going Enterprise Agreement must be procured within the month of initial usage. It’s important to note that even if there haven’t been any increments in device or user accounts, or utilization of additional Enterprise Agreement products throughout the calendar year, you are still obliged to submit an Updated Statement.   

                                                                                           A diagram showing the True-Up process. 

What systems need to be inventoried for a True-Up?   

For a comprehensive True-Up, your organization must inventory all licensed systems, including on-premises and Cloud-based systems. There is the need to maintain accurate records of any new software licenses purchased or deployed during the year, including any updates or add-ons. Organizations should also ensure there is accurate usage data for all licensed software, whether it is accessed via the Cloud on-premises.     

How to prepare for a Microsoft True-Up  

  • Understand what is involved with the True-Up process: This will require the reviewing of Microsoft documentation to include specific guidelines or instructions.  
  • Gather information: This requires accuracy of inventory of all Microsoft licenses in use within the organization. From current licenses, the number purchased, the types of licenses and users. Make sure you have calculated the difference between the last reported True-Up count and the current count of Qualified Devices and/or Users.  
  • Review license documentation: All documentation in your possession over the period such as purchase agreements, Volume Licensing Agreements and License certificates must be valid and match your software installations.  
  • Conduct a software inventory: This involves a comprehensive look to identify all instances of Microsoft software being used in your organization. After identifying any instances where the number of installations exceeds the number of licenses purchased or otherwise.    
  • Correct compliance gaps: If after the inventory and internal audit, it is detected that there are compliance gaps, take appropriate steps to rectify them. You may have to purchase additional licenses and make changes to your software deployment practices.  
  • Engage Microsoft to submit True-Up: If you are sure that your records are accurate, contact Microsoft to start the process or seek clarity if need be. All compiled accurate information to include license inventory, usage data and additional purchase, tender in True-Up per Microsoft’s instructions.   

Not knowing how to do a proper True-Up will cost you a lot of money  

Q-Advise’s True-Up service has been developed to relieve customers of maintaining an up-to-date overview of their Microsoft licensing positions. Q-Advise takes on a supporting role in making an inventory of the current and future license position. Based on observed data, Q-Advise provides strategic advice, which can strengthen the COOP’s negotiating position. 

Q-Advise will approach the True-Up process focused also on the future where working in the Cloud may play a role. After running the True-Up service, the COOPs have data that is based on facts that they can use to report to Microsoft. 

Engaging us opens you up to detect new technologies to take advantage of better ways to stay updated and save on your purchases.   

Conducting True-Up Support for various organizations over the period has afforded us the strategic position of hindsight benefit to understand the complexities of various Microsoft products and services and offer various unbiased scenarios you will need to make the right decisions.   

We will help you plan your True-Up Support in line with Microsoft’s timelines and ensure you stay compliant and discover saving avenues for the years ahead as a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement client.

Contact us today.   

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