Microsoft Enterprise Licensing: Types, Benefits & Best Practices

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As technology advances and the demand for cloud services grows, understanding the intricacies of Microsoft enterprise agreement licensing becomes indispensable. However, navigating the different types of licensing can be difficult without a clear foundation.

In this article, we provide a high-level overview of Microsoft Enterprise Licensing, including different types, benefits, and best practices.

What is Microsoft Enterprise Agreement Licensing?

Microsoft Enterprise Agreement Licensing offers a systematic approach for businesses to acquire Microsoft licenses. This encompasses a broad selection from Microsoft's pricing catalog, spanning traditional licenses, support, maintenance, and cloud services such as Microsoft 365 and Azure.

Types of Microsoft Enterprise Licensing

Types of Microsoft Enterprise Licensing

Microsoft presents various enterprise licensing options tailored to the distinct requirements of businesses:

  • Microsoft Enterprise Agreement Licensing: Think of a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) licensing plan as buying your software in bulk. This is also known as the “volume licensing” program, where corporate and government organizations can procure software for dozens, hundreds, or thousands of individual users. Suited for organizations seeking enterprise-wide licensing, the EA license often covers multiple “platform products” in the Microsoft ecosystem. Rather than paying upfront for all of those multiple licenses, a Microsoft Enterprise Licensing agreement spreads payments out over a three-year period, with prices locked in for the duration. That’s one of the reasons why EA customers can save up to 45% on their software costs compared to traditional licensing models. A Microsoft Enterprise Licensing Agreement is optimal for businesses desiring software usage flexibility and consistent software updates.
  • Microsoft Office Enterprise Licensing: Exclusively for the Microsoft Office suite, this licensing type ensures access to essential tools like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. It's designed for businesses needing a robust suite of productivity tools.
  • Microsoft 365 Enterprise Licensing: Encompasses the full Microsoft 365 product range, including Office applications, cloud solutions, and enhanced security features. Ideal for businesses seeking both productivity tools and advanced security functionalities.
  • Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite Licensing: Concentrates on mobility solutions, guaranteeing secure work capabilities from any device or location. Perfect for businesses prioritizing secure mobile data and application access.
  • Microsoft Server Enterprise Licensing: Customized for businesses dependent on Microsoft server products. It's tailored for those needing a comprehensive server product suite.
  • Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise Licensing: Designed for organizations utilizing Microsoft SQL Server for database operations. It's the go-to for businesses wanting a robust database management toolkit.

Each licensing category offers distinct features and advantages, allowing businesses to select the one that aligns with their needs and financial capacities. However, one of the key advantages of a Microsoft Enterprise Licensing Agreement is the ability for organizations to get access to the latest productivity-enhancing features as soon as they are released. For example, Microsoft announced in 2023 that the Microsoft 365 productivity suite would receive cloud-powered artificial intelligence features built on Open AI technology called “Copilot.” On day one of their release, organizations with Microsoft 365 Enterprise Licensing agreements received access to the new Copilot AI features. However, organizations using the Microsoft Office 2021 perpetual license for their software do not and will not have access to the Copilot AI features.

Benefits of Microsoft Enterprise Agreement Licensing

Benefits of Microsoft Enterprise Agreement Licensing

Opting for Microsoft Enterprise Licensing brings forth several benefits:

  1. Cost efficiency: Microsoft Enterprise Licensing is ideal for businesses valuing software flexibility and consistent updates. This can be a cost-effective option for businesses that require a comprehensive suite of productivity tools and advanced security features. This licensing option offers built-in savings ranging from 15 percent to 45 percent and allows businesses to spread out their payments by making three annual payments instead of one up-front payment, which can help reduce initial costs, and help businesses forecast annual software budget requirements up to three years in advance.
  2. Broad software access: Microsoft Enterprise Licensing provides access to an extensive array of Microsoft offerings. This licensing option can be an excellent choice for businesses that need to manage a large number of devices and users while also ensuring that their data is secure. For example, businesses can access various productivity tools such as Microsoft Office, Microsoft Teams, and OneDrive, which can help businesses streamline their workflows and improve collaboration among team members. Additionally, Microsoft Enterprise Licensing offers advanced security features such as multi-factor authentication, data loss prevention, and threat intelligence, which can help businesses protect their sensitive data from cyber threats.
  3. Streamlined management: Simplify your license management and renewal processes, ensuring efficient software usage oversight. Microsoft Enterprise Licensing agreements are a valuable tool for business owners and IT leaders, as they streamline the deployment of software to employees. These agreements simplify the management and renewal of licenses, thereby empowering businesses to gain real-time visibility into their software usage.
  4. Flexibility and scalability: Adjust licenses in line with organizational shifts, ensuring adaptability as the business landscape evolves. This flexibility extends across various Microsoft products, including Microsoft Office Enterprise and Microsoft 365 Enterprise, providing comprehensive coverage for your software needs.
  5. Superior support and maintenance: One of the standout features of Microsoft Enterprise Licensing is the mandatory Software Assurance. This provides businesses with regular software updates and support, ensuring that your software is always up-to-date and running smoothly. With Software Assurance, businesses are guaranteed access to the latest features and security updates. This not only helps to improve productivity but also enhances security by protecting against potential threats.

By choosing Microsoft Enterprise Licensing, businesses can enjoy these benefits while ensuring their software usage complies with licensing regulations.

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Licensing Guide and Best Practices

Licensing Guide and Best Practices

Here are some best practices to follow when choosing a licensing agreement:

What To Do

How To Do It


Understand your licensing needs

Assess your organization's current and future software requirements.

Choose the right licensing type for your business needs and avoid overspending.

Choose the right agreement type

Decide between perpetual licenses or subscription-based models based on your business needs.

Perpetual licenses are ideal for businesses that require long-term software usage, while subscription-based models are ideal for businesses that require short-term software usage or want to avoid upfront costs.

Implement software asset management (SAM)

Keep track of all licenses and ensure compliance with licensing regulations.

Avoid legal issues and penalties and get the most out of your software investments.

Leverage volume licensing benefits

Take advantage of discounts and fixed prices offered by volume licensing agreements.

Save money on software purchases, especially if you have many users or need a variety of software products.

Stay informed and stay compliant

Regularly review the terms of the agreement to ensure potential changes do not impact data usage and AI training at your business.

Avoid compliance violations and ensure that you are using your software licenses in accordance with the terms of the agreement.


The realm of Microsoft Enterprise Licensing is intricate, demanding thorough evaluation. By grasping the diverse licenses, their advantages, and associated best practices, businesses can make judicious choices in sync with their operational demands and financial limits. Amaxra can help your business optimize your Microsoft licenses to ensure you maximize your ROI and stay in compliance.

To get a free consultation on how your business can benefit from the Microsoft software optimization program from Amaxra, contact us today.

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