Microsoft NCE Deadlines Approaching for Public Sector, Legacy, and Multi-Year Offers

Microsoft is approaching new commerce experience (NCE) deadlines for the public sector, legacy, and multi-year offers.

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    Update on new commerce experience timeline

    Microsoft recently announced some important upcoming deadlines regarding its new customer experience (NCE) program that all partners must know.

    To avoid disruptions for partners, the Public Sector offers in new commerce and Microsoft-led migrations of Public Sector offers will now occur in the calendar year 2024. Starting next year, Microsoft partners can move subscriptions for their public sector clients—academic institutions, government community cloud entities (GCC), nonprofits, and charity organizations—to Microsoft’s new commerce experience platform (NCE). In 2024, Microsoft will begin automatically migrating any remaining legacy seat-based subscriptions for private and public sector customers upon their renewal date. A more detailed update on the revised timeline for these launches will be coming soon.

    Microsoft plans to automatically transfer any remaining legacy subscriptions to annual agreements within the NCE. During that transfer process, partners will have a seven-day window to change subscription terms, adjust the number of subscriptions, or cancel if needed.

    Microsoft believes this approach gives partners as much flexibility as possible in transferring clients to the NCE. Automatic migrations are their way of offering support. But clearly, these deadlines and the planned processes have the potential to cause Microsoft partners some headaches. This article breaks down everything you need to know about these upcoming NCE deadlines.

    What is the NCE?

    The New Commerce Experience (NCE) launched in 2019, but because of the long timelines in place for migrations, some partners still may not be too familiar with it. The NCE is Microsoft’s latest subscription model for its cloud services. It is designed to give Microsoft partners more flexibility in managing services for their clients. For example, helping you manage clients who need frequent adjustments to their license plans and seat numbers on a monthly basis. The NCE framework is an evolution of the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program.

    NCE Migration Details

    In their July announcement, Microsoft shared with CSPs that in November 2023, public sector subscription options will be available in the NCE for partners who want to proactively move their clients to it. For example, for those clients with complex or highly variable subscription needs. This would apply to partners with clients that are academic institutions, GCC-licensed entities, nonprofits, or charity organizations.

    2024 NCE Migration Details

    Microsoft is well aware of the burden they have placed on partners by running multiple cloud subscription programs side-by-side for the past few years. As they said in their July announcement, “We know that managing customers’ business on two platforms is burdensome. Based on partner requests for help, from January 2024, Microsoft will begin migrating commercial legacy seat-based subscriptions to new commerce.”

    That means that starting 2024, Microsoft will roll over all legacy accounts to the NCE that are due for annual renewal each month going forward. So, if your client’s annual renewal is in December, they will automatically roll over to the NCE in December 2024 if you do not take action with them beforehand.

    Microsoft’s statement continues, “We recommend that you manage your customers’ migrations. If your customers want monthly subscription terms in new commerce instead of annual terms, you should migrate them before the legacy subscriptions reach their end of term in 2024…All legacy subscriptions that Microsoft migrates to new commerce will be set to an annual term, with the same billing plan and seat counts that the customers had in legacy. The Microsoft-led migration will occur on the date of subscription renewal, starting with all subscriptions renewing in January 2024 and continuing throughout the 2024 calendar year. Partners will have seven days after migration is complete to change the subscription term and/or quantity or cancel the subscription, if necessary.”

    Other Important Announcements

    Microsoft has also announced that partners can independently begin moving any multi-year services for public sector clients—such as six-year educational SKUs—as soon as they appear in the Microsoft legacy offer list. Additionally, as part of this new schedule, Microsoft will manage migrating these multi-year legacy offers on the subscription renewal date from 2024.

    How and When Should You Migrate Your Clients?

    We here at Stratos Cloud Alliance recommend that partners first look to identify clients with special subscription needs and prioritize their rollover. Microsoft partners are free to wait for the January 2024 start of automatic rollovers if they want Microsoft’s help, but any subscriptions Microsoft automatically rolls over will be on annual subscription terms once in the NCE. For your customers who need or want monthly payment options in the NCE—like terms and number of users—you should transition their subscriptions during the manual rollover window.

    We recommend partners actively manage their clients’ rollovers, either on their own or with the support of a dedicated CSP. If your customers prefer monthly subscription terms in the new commerce system rather than yearly terms, we strongly suggest dealing with that before their auto-rollover month in 2024. Changing terms will be significantly easier and more cost-effective for you and your clients if you deal with it now. The advantage of doing this early is that you can adjust the terms and conditions as needed and inform others in your partner network about the change.

    To assist partners with the migration process, Microsoft has planned technical training sessions and online webinars called CSP Spotlight, which will occur in October, November, and December 2023. These sessions will give partners a clear understanding of the migration process.

    Migrate Your Clients to the NCE Quickly and Efficiently with Stratos Cloud Alliance

    We are the Microsoft Indirect Provider of the Year with extensive experience in helping organizations navigate the ever-changing Microsoft ecosystem. Partnering with us, a proven indirect cloud provider who understands Microsoft’s end-to-end offerings, can help you set your clients up on new NCE terms as painlessly as possible.

    Schedule a quick call today to learn how Stratos Cloud Alliance can help you simplify your client NCE rollovers.