TechSoup Licensing Strategy: Allotment, Title Group

I’m updating and adding some licensing. That involves navigating the TechSoup options for Microsoft Licensing. Here’s a few tidbits and questions I have. Please let me know if you’ve learned something different, or if I’m making some unwise assumptions:

My use case/what we use:

  • Office Suite
  • Pro or Mac
  • Counts as 1/10 for a Title Group
  • 50 license limit
  • Use-Case: max this out, because the ROI is high (high per-unit savings %, lots of volume)
  • Windows Server
  • Standard or Datacenter
  • Counts as 2/10 for a Title Group
  • Now uses Core-Based in packs of 2, with a minimum of 16 cores licensed/server
  • Does NOT count as a ‘server’ product for the 5 server product limit
  • 50 license limit
  • Use-Case: max this out, because the ROI is high (high per-unit savings %)
  • System Center Configuration Manager Client ML
  • We buy per-user
  • Counts as 3/10 for a Title Group
  • 50 license limit
  • Use-Case: max this out, because the ROI is high (high per-unit savings %, lots of volume)
  • Windows Remote Desktop Services CAL
  • We buy per-user
  • Counts as 4/10 for a Title Group
  • 50 license limit
  • Use-Case: max this out, because of the good ROI (high per-unit savings %, lots of volume)
  • Windows Desktop Operating Systems
  • OS Upgrade (typically less $ than SA alone elsewhere)
  • Counts as 5/10 for a Title Group
  • 50 license limit
  • Use-Case: max this out, because the ‘upgrade’ techsoup fee is good ROI compared to SA alone (lots of volume)
  • Windows Server CAL
  • We buy per-user
  • Counts as 6/10 for a Title Group
  • 50 license limit
  • Use-Case: this comes last, as there will be higher ROI in other products (low per-unit cost)
  • System Center Server Management Suite (in consideration, looks expensive)
  • Standard or Datacenter (provides management of server OSE’s)
  • Confused: Now uses Core-Based in packs of 2, but I’m unsure how the denomination/minimums work on Standard?.. On Datacenter Edition I would license similar to Windows Server?
  • 50 license limit
  • Counts as 7/10 for a Title Group
  • Counts as 1/5 for server products?

We may end up needing SQL Server, but it’s highly unlikely before our next 2-year cycle comes up, so I’m waiting for now on including that in my planning/evaluation.

Systems we use:

  • Windows Endpoints, managed by System Center Configuration Manager (including deployment/imaging)
  • Hyper-V
  • Windows Servers
  • MS Office
  • Remote Desktop Services for delivery of ACS People Suite and QuickBooks to our staff
  • Google Apps
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We actually started recommending getting Office via the $2 /month ProPlus subscription via Office365 as it’s the sameish price and you aren’t limited by number of users, as well as providing all the updates and home-use easily.


We’re doing the same as @codatory. For the desktop apps, $2 a month is a no-brainer. Additionally, if someone ever moves on, licenses are easily reassigned. Plus, 5 devices per user!? You’re essentially also offering those individuals full Office suites for their home and mobile devices. Oh, and don’t forget about that 1TB of storage for personal files that also comes included.

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I usually forget about the space… My luck with the OFB sync
system is …low

Haha! I hear that! Have you tried out the new client? In my limited testing so far, it’s much better:

Good point @codatory re: the monthly cost instead. We actually prefer that mode.
So, we’re a Google Apps shop. How would I go about making the process of those copies of office being installed/activated seamless to the user? At this point adding another ‘thing’ that they have to login to wouldn’t be ideal.

I’d also have to figure out how to minimize exposure to all the other O365 bits that we don’t use (Email, Sharepoint, ODFB, etc.). Not opposed to them using ODFB, but we like Google Drive, and the other things would just be confusing.


You can dirsync to Office365, and provided the user doesn’t frequently change computers a one-time setup is all that’s required to get Office going. If you only license them for Office ProPlus, that’s all they’ll see when logging in to which is where they can grab the installer for use on other computers.

If you do federation, then you can have Office authenticate itself when the user logs in but in a shared workstation scenario we either use volume licensing (volunteers) or just license everyone and pick a user to authenticate the machine with and call it a day.

@sross the change in DataCenter licensing is a HUGE change for Tech Soup. Previously server licenses was a limit of 5 including Windows server… but now you can pickup 50 DataCenter core licenses. Granted, microsoft’s change makes licensing the servers more expensive… but you can cover more virtual host boxes with datacenter now than you could before.

@codatory i go back and forth each year on Office vs O365, its $38.11 per user for 2 yrs software assurance or $48 for O365…SA comes with Home Use for $9.00 for the employee, but O365 they could install it on 4 other systems beyond their work computer. Am i missing other benefits of O365 for the $10/user per two years?

One other benefit of O365 is the 1TB of cloud storage for each licensed user. There are lots of people that have issues with syncing, but I’ve had really good luck and there’s a new client that’s in beta to resolve many of the issues that users have.

The main advantage is easier license tracking and management.

Yes but you get the 1TB of OneDrive storage with E1 which is free for non-profits too…

@codatory that’s what i thought… but we’d have to switch all our devices from perpetual license installs to subscription so there’s a soft cost there too… i look at the numbers about this time every year and it just hasn’t been compelling for us to switch… but I always want to make sure i’m not missing something either that would push us over the edge to switch.

great conversation

@sross, if you haven’t ordered from Techsoup and you are just looking to chat with someone who has we ordered each year since 2013 from tech soup as well as from our normal re-seller for the other licenses we need. Recently our re-seller of choice for MS licensing is IT1source

Hm, seems I overlooked the storage component of the E1 plan. :flushed:

We usually do the transition for customers when they do a major version upgrade, so from 2010 to 2016 in most cases :wink:

There are a few differences.

If we are discussing office, you have already alluded to the fairly liberal “per user” model of O365 which can be extended to home access rights, etc. Along those same lines you also get 5 copies of Android/iOS office. I don’t know how you are dealing with mobile file access, but accessing central data stores from mobile devices is becoming more common. Having Office to go along with that can be convenient.

Additionally, the subscription copies of Office have begun receiving features that are either delayed or restricted from the other channels.

Outside of Office you pickup things like larger user mailbox support in E3 (and above)

A (potential) biggie is Azure RMS being integrated into E3 for those people who need it.

E3 also makes office apps essentially self-service, which can be advantageous in some circumstances

Lastly, there is some logic to a conversation acknowledging a strong likelihood that we will be forced to move this direction sooner than later in either case, so might as well do it on your own terms.

It’s certainly not right for everyone - and E1 being free for non-profits does shift the value conversation vs a more typical List price conversation.

Karl P

If you get the “pleasure” of going through a Microsoft license audit, I recommend subscription first as being the easiest to justify as they correspond to your actual staff count and automatically deactivate when you turn them off (keep your invoices for computers with Windows OEM licenses though! Unless you volume license them after purchase with Software Assurance), volume licenses as being second easiest (these are still per device and activation count isn’t limited to actual # of licenses so you’re on the hook for keeping track of active installs vs. licenses purchased), OEM and Retail being hardest (separate invoice for each order), but…above all try to be consistent! Do ALL licenses with one method if you can. Mixing and matching will make you cry if you have to justify it all…or it’ll make your IT vendor cry and make them rich at the same time :slight_smile: