Microsoft Product Terms: May 2022


It’s almost the end of Microsoft’s financial year and typically things quieten down, but there is one interesting change this month:

SQL Server Standard can now use Distributed Availability Groups (AG*), a feature which has been an Enterprise only feature up until now. However, it is limited by the fact that the DAG may only synchronise with Azure.

The Microsoft Docs page (like this one https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/database-engine/availability-groups/windows/distributed-availability-groups?view=sql-server-ver15#version-and-edition-requirements) haven’t yet been updated…

*Microsoft say that “DAG” is used for Exchange’s Database Availability Group feature and this SQL feature is to be shortened to “AG” instead.

The couple of other Product Terms changes are:

  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium added as a base license for the Remote Help SKU
  • Terms added to detail the guidance around CSP renewals, cancellations, and co-terms

Microsoft Financial Results: Q3 FY22


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Microsoft’s financial results for Q3 FY22 (Jan – Mar 22) are in and, once again, they’re showing strong growth in all their key focus areas. They also listed several big name customers that they’re working with including:

  • Bridgestone
  • Lufthansa
  • Fujitsu
  • Woolworths
  • Cracker Barrel
  • Heineken

and called out Boeing, Heinz, and Westpac among customers making “strategic” Azure commitments.

Satya Nadella always hits us with a good quote during the earnings call and this quarter’s was:

“The last two years have proven that every organization needs a digital fabric that connects the entire organization”

Let’s take a look at some of the numbers:

Overall

Revenue = $49.4 billion – up 18%

Operating income = $20.4 billion – up 19%

Really strong top line numbers as always – remember, this is for just 3 months!

Productivity & Business Processes

Revenue = $15.8 billion – up 17%

  • Office 365 Commercial up 17%
  • Dynamics 365 up 35%
  • LinkedIn up 35%

Microsoft saw growth in SMB and frontline SKUs as well as increase in Revenue Per User – a key SaaS metric.

Office on-prem revenue was down 28%, continuing the downwards trend that we’ve been seeing for a couple of years now. It was noted as well that the end of Open Licensing has caused a drop in transactional license sales during the last quarter.

Intelligent Cloud

Revenue = $19.1 billion – up 26%

  • Azure (and other cloud services) up 46%
  • Server products up 5%

Another strong showing from Azure…with the number of $100 million Azure deals more than doubling over the previous year.

The server products increase includes Window Server & SQL Server in hybrid use cases (as well as Nuance) and again Microsoft mentioned the impact of Open Licensing’s end.

What else did we learn?

  • Satya Nadella once again called out the performance of Cosmos DB, with 100%+ YoY growth for 3 quarters in a row.
  • Power Platform, as a family, was up 72% year on year.
  • Microsoft Viva has over 10 million monthly active users.

Overall this is another great performance from Microsoft, giving them good momentum as they move into their Q4 (April – June) which is always a busy time of year. It will be interesting to see the full FY results in July for sure!

Microsoft Purview


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Microsoft have once again combined and rebranded some of their products – Azure Purview + the Microsoft 365 compliance products = Microsoft Purview. This new product family combines 17 different products across data governance and risk management – the (relatively straightforward) name changes are:

Current NameNew Name
Microsoft 365 Advanced AuditMicrosoft Purview Audit (Premium)
Microsoft 365 Communication ComplianceMicrosoft Purview Communication Compliance
Microsoft Compliance ManagerMicrosoft Purview Compliance Manager
Office 365 Customer LockboxMicrosoft Purview Customer Lockbox
Azure Purview Data CatalogMicrosoft Purview Data Catalog
Microsoft 365 Data ConnectorsMicrosoft Purview Data Connectors
Microsoft Information GovernanceMicrosoft Purview Data Lifecycle Management
Office 365 Data Loss PreventionMicrosoft Purview Data Loss Prevention
Azure Purview Data MapMicrosoft Purview Data Map
Double Key Encryption for Microsoft 365Microsoft Purview Double Key Encryption
Records Management in Microsoft 365Microsoft Purview Records Management
Office 365 Advanced eDiscoveryMicrosoft Purview eDiscovery (Premium)
Microsoft 365 Information BarriersMicrosoft Purview Information Barriers
Microsoft Information ProtectionMicrosoft Purview Information Protection
Microsoft 365 Insider Risk ManagementMicrosoft Purview Insider Risk Management
Azure Purview portalMicrosoft Purview governance portal
Microsoft 365 compliance centerMicrosoft Purview compliance portal

The new offering now includes data protection for the macOS platform as well as 50+ new sensitive info classifiers, co-authoring of encrypted documents on mobile devices (in preview), and multi-stage retention labels. It’s another step along the way in Microsoft’s journey to make their security portfolio stronger, less fragmented and – perhaps – less confusing.

If you have (what was) Azure Purview – head over to the Microsoft Purview governance portal here.

If you have Microsoft 365 E5 and/or Microsoft 365 E5 Compliance – head over to the Microsoft Purview Compliance portal here.

You can see some of the Purview pricing here.

Microsoft non-profit price increases – 2022


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Microsoft have announced a set of price increases for the non-profit sector from September 1, 2022. The pricing is as follows:

ProductCurrent priceNew price (Sept 22)
Office 365 E1$2.00$2.50
Office 365 E3$4.50$5.75
Office 365 E5$14.00$15.20
Microsoft 365 E3$8.00$9.00
Microsoft 365 Business Premium$5.00$5.50

Microsoft call out that these price increases can be used to drive adoption of Microsoft 365 E5 – which, just as with the commercial SKUs, doesn’t have a price increase planned.

Other changes

April 2022 also saw the end of Microsoft’s free grants for on-premises software – although non-profits in areas where Azure isn’t available can still get grants for Windows Server & SQL Server.

Microsoft are now making grants of 50 Windows Pro licenses available to non-profits, with additional discounted licenses being available

Resources

Microsoft page re: price increase

Microsoft page re: other changes

Microsoft Product Terms – March 2022


Again, not a huge amount of change in the Microsoft Product Terms for March 2022:

Microsoft 365 Privacy Management has been rebranded “Priva”…I thought they might change their mind on this one 😂 I guess they wanted to make sure there was something people could confuse with Viva?!

Expanded pre-requisite licenses for Cloud for Healthcare add-on

Azure Virtual Desktop per user access promo extended to March 31st, 2022 (although the section doesn’t appear to have actually been updated)

SQL Server Big Data Nodes have been retired – anything other than the “core” SQL editions just never seems to quite work does it?

Updated “no cancellations after 72 hours” terms for online services under CSP NCE

Microsoft financial results: Q2 FY22


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Microsoft’s financial results are, once again, fantastic. For Q2 FY22 (Oct – Dec 21) their headline results are:

  • Revenue = $51.7 billion, an increase of 20%
  • Operating Income = $22.2 billion, an increase of 24%
  • Net Income = $18.8 billion, an increase of 21%

That’s over $51 billion in 3 months – a single quarter bigger than recent annual revenues for companies like Oracle, Nike, and Coca Cola.

Looking at the separate business units we see the following…

Productivity & Business Processes

  • Revenue = $15.9 billion, up 19%
  • Office 365 Commercial up 19%
    • “Continued momentum” for E5
  • LinkedIn up 37%
  • Dynamics 365 up 45%
  • Power Apps up 161%
  • Office Commercial (i.e on-premises) down 17%

Intelligent Cloud

  • Revenue = $18.3 billion
  • Azure up 46%
    • “Significant growth” in long-term contracts (again)
  • Enterprise Mobility up to 209 million+ seats

Yet more strong double digit growth across all these product divisions, as we’ve seen so many times before over the last few years. Although the growth is still very strong with Azure, it’s perhaps worth noting that the % increase is dropping slightly over time…from 50 in Q1 to now 46…although this makes sense – as the base grows, maintaining the same % increase becomes more difficult.

We also saw that the security business surpassed $15 billion in revenue, up almost 45% YoY.

“Digital technology is the most malleable resource at the world’s disposal to overcome constraints and reimagine everyday work and life.”

Earnings Call

There is always plenty of great info in the earnings call and this quarter was no different.

  • Azure Arc has tripled its user base YoY as organisations expand hybrid environments.
  • New Azure customers include:
    • CVS Health
    • Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices
    • Kyndryl
    • Wells Fargo
  • Cosmos DB transactions increased 100% YoY
  • Industry Clouds are driving “significant usage” across Microsoft Cloud
  • Teams has 270 million+ monthly active users
  • Microsoft Viva has over 1,000 paying customers already
  • Microsoft Sentinel has over 15,000 customers – a 70% increase YoY

Satya Nadella also discussed “Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces” (currently in preview) which is focused on automating and managing physical processes. This is part of their “Metaverse” play for business.

Note that many of the new “exotic” products are being name checked here:

  • Azure Arc
  • Cosmos DB
  • Industry Clouds
  • Power Apps
  • Microsoft Sentinel

This really helps to highlight Microsoft’s future plans and the successful growth they’re seeing there already. It also seems that there’s plenty of room for growth over the next few years so it doesn’t seem that Microsoft’s growth will be slowing any time soon.

Further Reading

Microsoft Earnings Press Release & documents

Microsoft Viva Insights: What is it?


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Microsoft Viva is the new range of Employee Experience tools from Microsoft and is made up of a range of Viva products:

  • Insights
  • Topics
  • Learning
  • Connections

A brief overview of the four components is here but I want to dive deeper into Viva Insights.

What is it?

Initially it looked like it would build upon the Workplace Analytics product but Viva Insights is now listed as “formerly Workplace Analytics” so it appears to be a rebrand as well as adding new features. Tbh, that makes sense as it helps to keep everything in the “Viva” bucket.

Viva Insights aims to improve employee wellbeing and productivity through using data to highlight people’s work habits such as answering emails outside of work hours and spending too much time in meetings for example. It will also provide reminders to block out time for “focus tasks” and help managers ensure they schedule regular 1-1 meetings with team members. The personal insights also include mindfulness sessions, reminders to take breaks, and a check-in to gauge a user’s mood.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-viva/buy-insights?activetab=pivot%3aoverviewtab

It aims to provide insights at a team level and also an organisation wide level, enabling action to be taken wherever potential issues may arise. Given the impact of COVID-19 and the long-term increase in flexible working, anything that can help organisations better look after their employees – and enable employees to better look after themselves – is well timed and has the potential to be very useful.

I speak to a lot of people who find themselves on constant back to back video meetings and calls, with little time to process any of that information and even less to simply sit back and think and plan. More work = less productivity in many cases and Viva Insights may help with this…if used properly.

Pricing & Licensing

Viva Insights is an add-on license to:

  • Office 365 E1/E3/E5 (plus the A and G versions)
  • Microsoft 365 E3/E5 (plus the A and G versions)
  • Microsoft 365 365 Business Basic/Standard/Premium
  • Exchange Online Plan 1/2

and costs $4 per user per month.

Certain “personal insights” are available to all users with a license that includes Exchange Online, while others require the above add-on. There is also the extra consideration of Viva Insights Capacity.

Viva Insights Capacity

There are a range of additional things that an organisation can do with the data generated by Viva Insights – and this is where we get into the realm of capacity credits.

These additional capabilities include:

  • Analysis templates to quickly generate interactive Power BI reports tailored to common business scenarios
  • Advanced tools to help users query and customize metrics and combine Viva Insights data with external data, such as customer relationship management (CRM) and survey data
  • Analysis accelerators including an R-script library to help analyze organizational data trends, processes and networks
  • Built-in safeguards to help protect personal privacy
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-viva/buy-insights?activetab=pivot%3aoverviewtab

Pricing & licensing

Each Viva Insights license includes 1 capacity credit per month, pooled across the tenant. If an organisation requires additional capacity credits, they are licensed in increments of 5,000 credits and costs $5,000 per month.

Unused credits expire monthly.

Conclusion

Viva Insights represents two growing trends for Microsoft:

  • Software that is sold to parts of the business other than IT
  • Licensing which involves ongoing usage “credits” that can, potentially, be consumed in huge amounts across an organisation…and run up big bills

Organisations are definitely going to be looking for products that help them in this area and, within organisations already using Microsoft 365, Microsoft are well placed to be among the options.

If you’re responsible for Microsoft spend within your organisation, this is certainly something to keep an eye on in the future!

Further Reading

Microsoft Viva Insights

Microsoft Viva Insights Capacity

Microsoft 365 A1 per device licensing


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Microsoft have introduced a new SKU for Education – Microsoft 365 A1 for devices. It costs $38 per device for 6 years and provide the full M365 suite of apps plus Minecraft and cloud management capabilities.

The announcement seems to be aimed at Google due to the mention of “providing more for students and educators relative to competitive offerings at the same price” but, as Mary Jo Foley points out, Google’s most expensive EDU offering is $5 per student per year. Perhaps Microsoft are banking on education establishments seeing a very high ratio of students to devices?

See the Microsoft announcement here.

Podcast: Microsoft New Commerce CSP changes


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Microsoft recently announced a range of upcoming changes to CSP via their “New Commerce Experience” and it’s safe to say that it’s caused some consternation among Microsoft partners – and rightly so really.

Westcoast invited me onto their “Cloud Talk” podcast to talk through some of these changes, what they mean for partners, and what the future might look like. We also talk about the Microsoft 365 price increases.

I had a great time talking to Tom about all this and hope you find the podcast useful and interesting – we cover quite a bit in 34 minutes! Check it out on Spotify here:

For more background, check out my blog posts:

New Commerce Experience changes

Microsoft 365 price increases

Microsoft introduce Defender for Endpoint Plan 1


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Microsoft have announced the preview of “Microsoft Defender for Endpoint Plan 1”.

Microsoft Defender for Endpoint (MDfE) is the new name for “Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection” (MDATP), which is the differentiator between Windows 10 E3 and E5. The existing version of MDfE will become Plan 2 and the newly introduced Plan 1 will contain a subset of features.

What’s included?

Defender for Endpoint Plan 1 diagram
Microsoft Docs site

The Plan 1 offering will include:

  • Next-generation protection
    • This includes anti-virus and anti-malware cover
  • Attack surface reduction
    • These include:
      • Ransomware mitigation
      • Web protection
      • Network firewall
      • and more
  • Manual response actions
    • These are:
      • Run anti-virus scan
      • Isolate device
      • Stop and quarantine
      • Indicators to block/allow files
  • Centralised management
    • Includes access to the Microsoft 365 Defender portal with RBAC access and reporting.
  • It will also include:
    • Security reports
    • APIs

The MS Docs page states that MDfE P1 will support:

  • Windows 10 1709 and later
  • macOS Big Sur, Catalina, and Mojave
  • iOS
  • Android OS

although the MS Tech Community page states “Windows 7, 8.1, 10, 11, macOS, Android, and iOS“.

Differences between Plan 1 & Plan 2

Features exclusive to Plan 2 include:

  • Device discovery
  • Threat & vulnerability management
  • Automated investigation & response
  • Advanced hunting
  • Endpoint detection & response
  • Microsoft Threat Experts
  • Support for Windows Server
  • Support for Linux

Licensing

MDfE Plan 1 will be included in Microsoft 365 E3/A3 and will also be available as a standalone license.

You can check out the preview of MDfE P1 here – Preview signup.

Further Reading

Techcommunity announcement

MS Docs page

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