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How To Speak Microsoft, Vol. 2: Even More Acronyms You Need To Know

Good communication is the basis of strong relationships -- and when it comes to Microsoft, that means figuring out your CAUs from your PDUs.

Acronyms, acronyms and more acronyms. If you've worked with Microsoft you know the company absolutely loves them, and perhaps you've been thrown off once or twice by the lingo. No more! Here are some must-know acronyms when speaking with Microsoft!

C + E -- Cloud & Enterprise
Known as the Cloud and Enterprise division (C + E) or Intelligent Cloud, these folks focus on building the intelligent cloud platform that can power any application on any device. Key strategic businesses housed in C + E include Cloud Infrastructure, Data and Analytics, Business Applications and App Platform, Enterprise Mobility, and Developer. As a result, this team owns products such as Azure, SQL Server, Developer Tools and Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS). This division also includes Premier Support Services and Microsoft Consulting Services. Other major divisions include Productivity and Business Processes (Office, Office 365, Dynamics) and More Personal Computing (Windows, Gaming, Devices).

PDU -- Practice Development Unit
This team, created in 2016, focuses on how to help identify, recruit and enable partners to develop practices to drive the accelerated consumption and usage of Microsoft's services. It was designed with a goal of helping partners create new practices around Microsoft's cloud services. If you're looking to build a new practice area with Microsoft, the team can assist with product expertise, guidance and training. The PDU tends to pick a small number of partners with which to go deep. Look for it to choose a new list of partners at the start of the fiscal year.

CAU -- Cloud Active Usage
Cloud Active Usage is the way that Microsoft measures how much of the service end users are consuming. Microsoft applies this metric to its field teams and its partners. For partners, the company uses this metric as a way to calculate the partner of record (POR) payments. Basically, it comes down to the number of users interacting with each service in the cloud -- including Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Skype Online and Yammer. Microsoft continues to lower payment out to partners and continues to use these payments to shift behaviors -- for example, Redmond recently stopped paying partners when the customer purchases directly from Microsoft via the Office 365 portal.

ACR -- Azure Committed Revenue
Azure is a huge focus for Microsoft. As part of their sales process, customers can make an Azure monetary commitment on their Enterprise Agreement (EA) or their Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE) -- two different licensing programs. Basically, the Azure Commitment is a prepaid bucket of funds that the customer will use to pay for their Azure services. Microsoft wants to maximize not only the purchase of their prepaid funds, but also their usage.

P-Seller -- Partner Seller
The P-Seller program is a select group of individuals carefully chosen from Microsoft's partner community whose role is to communicate the value of Microsoft solutions to customers and to provide architectural guidance for Enterprise Integration solutions. Essentially, P-Sellers are a Microsoft partner resource that acts as an extension of the Microsoft sales team and can position, demonstrate, design and implement Microsoft solutions to help partners. The upside is that P-Sellers gain access to resources usually limited to only full-time Microsoft employees. The downside is that there's an investment in time needed to stay up-to-date technically and also complete required Microsoft training -- that is, anti-corruption courses. (Ed.'s Note: Microsoft nerfed the P-Seller program after this column's writing. Read that story here.)

PSC -- Partner Sales Connect
Partner Sales Connect is the replacement for the Partners Sales Exchange (PSX). It is an online platform where partners can enter in opportunities that they are working on with Microsoft or that would benefit Microsoft. This can be a requirement to justify marketing investments that Microsoft has made in the partner or as part of being managed in the field by Microsoft.

SPE -- Secure Productive Enterprise - E3/E5
Secure Productive Enterprise is a critical new licensing vehicle from Microsoft. It replaces the Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS). SPE is essentially the biggest bundle of enterprise-level products that Microsoft has available. With SPE you get the best of Office 365, Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS), and Windows 10 Enterprise. There are two different plans: the E3 and the E5. The E3 includes Office 365 E3, the previous version of EMS (now called EMS E3) and Windows 10 Enterprise (now with the suffix E3). If you are ready for the top of the line, then SPE E5 is for you. That includes Office 365 E5, an enhanced version of EMS called EMS E5 and Windows 10 Enterprise E5, which includes new functionality for security.

More Columns by M.S. Partner:

About the Author

M.S. Partner is a pseudonym for a former Microsoft U.S. field rep who returned to the channel and writes this column to help other partners succeed with Microsoft. Let M.S. Partner know your thoughts and questions about how Microsoft works at mspartner@rcpmag.com.