Microsoft SPLA Guide


Microsoft’s Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA) allows organizations to create software solutions based on Microsoft software and provide it to their clients, who can then use it to serve their end users. This differs from traditional licensing programs which are generally intended for internal use only at the organization that purchased the licensing.

Many businesses use custom solutions built on Microsoft software to handle a variety of functions. For example, a hospital may provide this type of solution to clinics or other entities without realizing that this activity may be in breach of their software agreement. They might offer patient record management or electronic prescription solutions (built on Microsoft software) to their medical clients for a fee. This activity constitutes a breach of a standard license agreement and would likely require a Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA).


This Microsoft SPLA report outlines the risks associated with Microsoft SPLA and provides some tips to reduce SPLA licensing costs in the following sections:


1. Microsoft SPLA Licensing Road Map


Though SPLA does offer some licensing benefits, it can be difficult to understand whether you need it because there are 
limited use cases where you can legally provide these solutions to end users under the Self Hosting clause of the 
Microsoft Enterprise Agreement. This guide includes a flow chart created by Microsoft to show when SPLA licensing is required to maintain compliance.


2. Microsoft SPLA Compliance Risk & Cost Exposure


Microsoft’s broad and confusing SPLA licensing structure poses significant risk to customers. If customers are not aware of the best licensing practices regarding SPLA rights, they will pay a steep price in audit true-ups and noncompliance findings Microsoft has a long history of designing licensing rules to provide sales opportunities, maximize findings and generate revenue. This section provides examples of the most common risks Microsoft SPLA customers face.


3. Microsoft SPLA Risk Case Study


To illustrate how SPLA compliance can impact bottom-line Microsoft costs, ClearEdge includes a real-life case study based on how a hospital failed to manage their SPLA licensing effectively and was audited by Microsoft. We highlight the pitfalls the customer fell into and how that translated into penalties worth millions in total Microsoft costs. Learn from the mistakes made in this case study to protect against compliance exposure in your Microsoft SPLA environment.


4. Strategies for Reducing Microsoft SPLA Licensing Costs


To assist Microsoft SPLA administrators, ClearEdge Partners consolidated eight key tips to keep in mind when monitoring your SPLA utilization to reduce licensing costs. By following these eight steps, your organization will be able to minimize SPLA licensing gaps, optimize current Microsoft spend, and mitigate any potential future compliance-related fees.

For more details on how these strategies can help your organization drive down SPLA licensing costs, fill out the form below to download our Microsoft SPLA Guide. If you are looking for assistance on an upcoming Microsoft purchase or want to stress-test your environment to ensure SPLA compliance, contact us to meet with one of our software asset management or deal negotiation experts to assess your current situation.


Download Our Microsoft SPLA Guide

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