Microsoft NCE 2024 Updates for MSPs

The evolution of the New Commerce Experience (NCE) has reshaped the way MSPs, and their customers do business. In 2020, the majority of commercial customers (and their respective MSPs) witnessed its impact. And now in 2024, public sector customers (i.e. non-for-profit, education, government) are also set to feel the effects. While the initial release dates have been delayed from January to March, it is never too early to prepare. In this blog, we will explore actionable steps that Partners can take to stay ahead of the curve and deliver value to their customers in 2024.

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What is changing and when?

According to Microsoft, the new public sector SKUs will be similar to how it was for commercial users where it was released in waves, with the first beginning in March. A few key details to remember:

  • NCE will introduce annual and monthly commitment periods, and a 20% price premium for monthly subscriptions for the added ability to increase and decrease licenses monthly.
  • Partners and customers will now also have a seven-day grace period after activating subscriptions to modify quantities or cancel the subscription. Once this period lapses, the subscription becomes locked in for the agreed commitment term.
  • Additionally, NCE allows a single customer tenant to qualify for both education and nonprofit licenses.

It is worth noting that Microsoft is also offering special promotions for early adopters that drive these discussions with customers early. For Partners to make the most of this opportunity it is important to understand how public sector decisions are made.

Public Sector Decision Triangle

Public Sector customers have unique needs in comparison to those in commercial, and this upcoming update will prompt many crucial discussions. For instance, drawing from partner experiences, public sector customers must balance three key considerations when making IT Investments:

Flexibility: In the Public Sector, where temporary staff and cyclical trends impact average company size, flexibility is paramount. Solutions tailored to this sector must align budget considerations with the adaptability required to meet a dynamic workforce. Potentially, Partners may need to discuss with customers the mix of fixed staff vs temporary staff and how it is translated into licensing terms.

Future-Proof: Amidst the broader focus on increasing Microsoft 365 usage, NCE discussions present an opportunity to right-size and future-proof public sector customers’ technology investments. Key technology trends such as automation, AI readiness, and hybrid work are all factors that public sector customers need to consider as they invest in technology for today and tomorrow.

Budget: Given that the public sector often works within specific budget approval windows, considerations on how Microsoft 365 financials will impact IT budget allocation will be crucial to monitor. This may lead to discussions on licensing terms, such as monthly vs. annual commitments, and how to offset any increases in spending through economical decisions.

Impact to Partners

NCE is a unique point-in-time engagement for partners to drive a meaningful dialogue with customers on their technology decisions. MSPs can take the lessons learned from their past experiences with the commercial NCE update and apply them to the public sector. It is important for Partners to not only consider the Microsoft decisions that need to be made but also other complementary solutions that right-size the investment. One key trend to address is the rise in data coupled with the sensitivity of public sector data. As the data risk landscape continues to evolve, MSPs have the task of preparing customers for a secure future. This is why framing the importance of data protection is crucial for MSPs catering to the unique needs of the public sector.

Why data protection is crucial

To help Partners frame data protection, we have mapped the decision triangle to SkyKick Cloud Backup:

Flexibility: To meet the needs of a dynamic workforce, SkyKick’s recent updates, specifically Group Management, empower MSPs to selectively back up specific public sector users through Entra ID. This tailored approach ensures efficiency and scalability. Moreover, SkyKick offers Partners the flexibility to grant end-user access to backups, enabling co-management with the customer’s IT team.

Future-Proof: As your public sector customers start to use more services in Microsoft 365, SkyKick can protect their entire journey. In addition to backing up Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Teams, and OneDrive for Business, SkyKick Cloud Backup now covers Planner. By having a comprehensive data protection solution, customers can rely on its growth to meet their future needs.

Budget: It is important to understand if your public sector customers’ IT expenses are either capital or operating expenses. SkyKick Cloud Backup offers flexibility in both billing frequency (monthly or annual) as well as billing terms (monthly or annual). Additionally, MSPs can unlock substantial discounts by opting for annual plans based on their preferences.

Next steps

As a Partner, you play a pivotal role in guiding your customers through this next phase of NCE. Therefore, as an added resource, we have provided a FREE customer email template for you to download, designed to help you initiate discussions early so that you can take advantage of Microsoft incentives. Overall, the journey toward a secure and future-ready IT landscape for your public sector customers requires strategic conversations and a comprehensive approach.

Download the to-customer email template
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