As I write this on a relatively hot sunny evening I feel the urge to digress a little on this blog first. It’s that time of the year again where the non IT world appreciate a form of sun and heat in our traditionally wet little island, and where IT professionals across the country pause momentarily, longingly staring out of their office window (if indeed they are lucky enough to have a window!) whilst facing some insurmountable task for which summer is the ‘perfect’ time to execute. It’s a well known fact that while offices are a little quieter around this time, it’s time for that major patch, migration, upgrade, new implementation, or whatever else the-powers-that-be can muster up.
Where am I going with this? Well aside from grumbling about the heat (it’s 20c in Scotland I’m burning up!) in my humble opinion it is safe to say that those working in education IT are the worst hit by the summer quiet period. No students, little staff, time to go nuts and upgrade! Office 365 is the hot topic (pun not intended) for institution’s wishing to move their IT systems forward. There are not many schools, colleges, and universities who have not either decided to move to Office 365, are in the process, or have ‘moved’. Microsoft make it an irresistible offer for education and charity sectors so i won’t go in to that, but how do these establishments ensure they procure the service most cost efficiently and maximise the service usage? Microsoft’s answer is to seek out a partner who are an AER (Authorised Education Reseller).
Authorised Education Reseller
Nimbus 365 have been an AER (Authorised Education Reseller) since our inception, but it’s something we’ve never really talked about in great detail. What does it mean? Very little actually, we can sell Education plans either for free, or Education E5 plans at extremely low rates if the Office Pro-Plus application is desired for staff / students. It doesn’t take much for a Microsoft partner to become an AER, in fact all it means is exactly what it says on the tin – Reseller. Surprisingly (or perhaps not if you think about why after reading this), most AERs do not talk about a hidden gem of an offering from Microsoft called OVS-ES (Open Value Subscription Agreement for Education Solutions).
OVS-ES is literally an amazing offering from Microsoft in our opinion for institutions with under 1000 full time members of staff. If the institution has 5 or more full time employees who purchase certain licenses such as Office or Windows, then all students will be entitled to a ‘student advantage’ program, which in simple terms means they will have access to the normal Education Office 365 suite as well as the ability to install the Pro-Plus Office application on up to 5 machines without it costing a penny! In other words instead of paying Education E5 licenses for possibly 100s of users or more, you don’t need to. The number of education institutions missing this is astounding, and it is almost always down to an AER giving bad advice or just simply performing a requested transaction without raising anything. OVS-ES isn’t the only alternative, but unless you are a large university it is hands down the best.
The moral of this story is simple – if you go to a business who act simply as resellers, they will simply sell. If you go to a partner (like us) who offer advice & can resell, you’ll get the right solution. If you want more than that, we’ve also got a team of IT professionals who love working throughout the summer to implement services. The type of IT professionals who prefer the glare of a 30″ LCD display over the ball of light in the sky.