The University’s Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft is a subscription-based software site licensing program based onĀ  institutional headcount rather than device count. It’s intended to reduce costs associated with acquiring and managing Microsoft products, to facilitate new IT service and support strategies, and to improve the availability and consistency of important and pervasive communications, collaboration, and productivity tools at the University.

Additional information about software, services, and constituents encompassed by the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement is outlined in the Coverage Overview.

Benefits to individuals

Under the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, full and part-time employees are eligible to use the most current and capable versions of Microsoft Windows and Office on BU-owned PCs and Macs. Note that PCs are eligible for Windows upgrades only, i.e. a Windows license is a prerequisite for PCs under this program; BU-owned Intel-based Macs are licensed to use Windows with or without a preexisting Windows license. Students are eligible to purchase the most current and capable version of Microsoft Office at reduced cost.

In addition, students, faculty, staff, and affiliates are licensed for access to many BU-based Microsoft services such as SharePoint. All products licensed under this agreement include benefits associated with Microsoft Software Assurance, providing web-based access to client and server software training modules and deployment tools.

Benefits to departments and IT support staff

Prior to the Enterprise Agreement, acquiring Microsoft products at BU was subject to decisions, administration, compliance, and funding on a unit, department, and individual basis. This agreement reduces the administrative effort and expense associated with ordering and tracking resources on an a-la-carte, per-unit, cost-recovered basis. Under this arrangement, the cost of licensing Microsoft products has been centralized and consolidated and software is available on an as-needed basis without additional licensing and transaction costs. This agreement offers many operational and strategic advantages to help improve services, bolster security, ensure license compliance, and reduce license administration overhead.

Furthermore, plans call for the consolidation of institutional email on Microsoft Exchange, necessitating new Microsoft Client Access Licenses (CALs) for several thousand full- and part-time BU staff and faculty and a limited number of contractors and other affiliates. Use of and reliance on Microsoft SharePoint is also expanding and may ultimately rival Exchange as new information and collaboration services are established and the two platforms become better integrated. Without this agreement, Client Access Licenses for Exchange, SharePoint, and related services would carry a significant additional expense.

The agreement also provides site licensing for select Microsoft enterprise software, including Windows, Exchange, SharePoint, Office Communications Server (OCS/Lync), Windows Rights Manager, System Center Configuration Manager, and the Forefront family of security and threat protection technologies for all institutional Windows-based PCs and servers.

The agreement also provides Microsoft External Connector Licenses for Windows, Exchange, SharePoint and System Center Configuration Servers, enabling BU to offer non-institutional entities, including partners, and affiliates access to many BU Microsoft-based systems and services. This represents a potentially significant savings since Microsoft External Connector Licenses are expensive a la carte. Furthermore, students are entitled to access Windows-based institutional resources, such as SharePoint services for document management and collaboration among students, faculty, and staff. A site license for so broad a portfolio of Microsoft products and services offers students an opportunity to gain experience with IT solutions prevalent in industry, making BU graduates more competitive in the job market.

More information

For more information, please contact the IT Help Center by submitting a Help request through this website, by calling 617-353-HELP (4357) or by writing to