Expanding Copilot for Microsoft 365 to businesses of all sizes


Our vision for Microsoft Copilot is to bring the power of generative AI to everyone across work and life. Customers like Visa, BP, Honda, and Pfizer, and partners like Accenture, KPMG, and PwC are already using Copilot to transform the way they work, and 40% of the Fortune 100 participated in the Copilot Early Access Program.

We are updating our Microsoft Copilot product line-up with a new Copilot Pro subscription for individuals; expanding Copilot for Microsoft 365 availability to small and medium-sized businesses; and announcing no seat minimum for commercial plans—making Copilot generally available to individuals, enterprises, and everyone in between.

Read on for all the details.

Copilot for Microsoft 365

Copilot for Microsoft 365 enables users to enhance their creativity, productivity, and skills.

Updates to our Copilot product line-up

First, we are announcing an update to our Copilot product line-up: Copilot Pro—a new Copilot subscription for individuals priced at $20 per individual per month.

Copilot Pro has foundational capabilities in a single experience that runs across your devices and understands your context on the web, on your PC, across your apps, and soon on your phone to bring the right skills to you when you need them. And it has web grounding, so it always has access to the latest information. When you’re signed into Copilot with your Microsoft Entra ID, you get commercial data protection for free—which means chat data isn’t saved, Microsoft has no eyes-on access, and your data isn’t used to train the models.

Copilot Pro provides priority access to the very latest models—starting with OpenAI’s GPT-4 Turbo. You’ll have access to GPT-4 Turbo during peak times for faster performance and, coming soon, the ability to toggle between models to optimize your experience how you choose. Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscribers can use Copilot in Word, Excel (currently in Preview and English only), PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote on PC, and soon on Mac and iPad. It includes enhanced AI image creation with Designer (formerly Bing Image Creator) for faster, more detailed image quality as well as landscape image format. And Copilot Pro gives you the ability to build your own Copilot GPT—a pre-customized Copilot tailored for a specific topic—in our new Copilot GPT Builder (coming soon) with just a simple set of prompts.


Sign up for a free trial 

While Copilot Pro is our best experience for individuals, Copilot for Microsoft 365 is our best experience for organizations. Copilot for Microsoft 365 gives you the same priority access to the very latest models. You get Copilot in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, and Microsoft Teams—combined with your universe of data in the Microsoft Graph. It has enterprise-grade data protection which means it inherits your existing Microsoft 365 security, privacy, identity, and compliance policies. And it also includes Copilot Studio, so organizations can customize Copilot for Microsoft 365 and build their own custom copilots and plugins as well as manage and secure their customizations and standalone copilots with the right access, data, user controls, and analytics.

Here’s a summary of the updated Copilot product line-up:

There are 9 rows of text: Foundational Capabilities, Web Grounding, Commercial Data Protection, Priority Model Access, Copilot in Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, Copilot in Teams, Microsoft Graph Grounding, Enterprise-Grade Data Protection, and Customization.
Click the image above to make it larger.

No seat minimum and expanded availability of Copilot for Microsoft 365—including small and medium-sized businesses


Watch the video 

To empower every organization to become AI-powered, we are making three changes. First, we are removing the 300-seat purchase minimum for Copilot for Microsoft 365 commercial plans. Second, we are removing the Microsoft 365 prerequisite for Copilot—so now, Office 365 E3 and E5 customers are eligible to purchase. We’re also extending Semantic Index for Copilot to Office 365 users with a paid Copilot license. Semantic Index works with the Copilot System and the Microsoft Graph to create a sophisticated map of all the data and content in your organization—enabling Microsoft 365 Copilot to deliver personalized, relevant, and actionable responses. Third, we are excited to announce that Copilot for Microsoft 365 is now generally available for small and medium-sized businesses—from solopreneurs running and launching their first business to 300-person fast-growing startups. If you are using either Microsoft 365 Business Standard or Microsoft 365 Business Premium, you can now purchase Copilot for Microsoft 365 for $30 per user per month.1

Small and medium-sized businesses are the heart of every community and the lifeblood of local economies. They have an outsized impact on the world and markets they support—in the United States, this category accounts for 99.9% of business and employs nearly half of the workforce.2

These businesses stand to gain the most from this era of generative AI—and Copilot is uniquely suited to meet their needs. Small and medium-sized business owners report that communicating with customers takes up most of their time (66%), with managing budgets (50%) and administrative tasks (48%) not far behind.3 Copilot for Microsoft 365 can help reduce this daily grind, giving business owners valuable time back to focus on what matters most: growing their business. And with the Microsoft Copilot Copyright Commitment, small business owners can trust that they are working with a reliable partner. Small and medium-sized business customers that have Microsoft 365 Business Standard or Business Premium can learn how to purchase Copilot for Microsoft 365 via our website or by contacting a partner.

We have been learning alongside small and medium-sized business customers in our Copilot Early Access Program. Here’s what they’re saying about how Copilot for Microsoft 365 is already transforming their work.

“I love that it’s in our environment. It’s able to cross-pollinate and gather information from all of the data we’ve got in Microsoft 365. As a business owner, that’s really important to me because it keeps our people working inside our systems.”

James Hawley, CEO and Founder at NextPath Career Partners

“I do believe that there isn’t a single job position in the company that won’t benefit in some way from Copilot being available to them.”

Alex Wood, Senior Cloud Engineer at Floww

“Copilot accurately summarizes the call and meeting notes in minutes. That’s not just faster, it means callers can add more value to the discussion rather than just take notes.”

Philip Burridge, Director, Operations and Strategy at Morula Health

Empowering partners to help every customer become AI-powered

Commercial customers—including small and medium-sized businesses—can now purchase Copilot for Microsoft 365 through our network Cloud Solution Provider partners (CSPs). This means Copilot for Microsoft 365 is now available across all our sales channels. CSPs have served as trusted advisors to their customers, unlocking profitability for businesses and expanding their own capabilities. Learn more about Cloud Solution Provider partners.

Next steps for Microsoft 365

These announcements come just one month after we announced that we are making Copilot for Microsoft 365 generally available to education customers with Microsoft 365 A3 or A5 faculty, and we’re expanding that to include Office 365 A3 or A5 faculty with no seat minimum. While education licenses are not yet included in the CSP expansion announced today, we will share updates in the coming months. It’s all part of our vision to empower everyone—from individuals to global enterprises—for an AI-powered world.

Learn more about Microsoft Copilot and visit the Copilot for Work site for actionable guidance on how you can start transforming work with Copilot today.

Learn more about how Copilot for Microsoft 365 for small and medium-sized businesses, including next steps licensing and technical requirements, and get familiar with Copilot capabilities.

Visit WorkLab for critical research and insights on how generative AI is transforming work.

a close up of an umbrella

Microsoft Copilot

Copilot helps you achieve things like never before using the power of AI.

1Copilot for Microsoft 365 may not be available for all markets and languages. To purchase, enterprise customers must have a license for Microsoft 365 E3 or E5 or Office 365 E3 or E5, and business customers must have a license for Microsoft 365 Business Standard or Business Premium.

Copilot is currently supported in the following languages: English (US, GB, AU, CA, IN), Spanish (ES, MX), Japanese, French (FR, CA), German, Portuguese (BR), Italian, and Chinese Simplified. We plan to support the following languages (in alphabetical order) over the first half of 2024: Arabic, Chinese Traditional, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (PT), Russian, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, and Ukrainian.

2U.S. Small Business Administration. (2023). Frequently Asked Questions.

3Wakefield Research. (2023). Microsoft study: Small businesses intrigued by AI and the opportunities it brings.

Managed Solution, a leading technology solutions provider based in San Diego, proudly announces its participation in Giving Tuesday by making a generous donation to the San Diego Humane Society. This contribution not only reflects the company's dedication to corporate social responsibility but also secures its place on the esteemed donor wall of the San Diego Humane Society.

Giving Tuesday, celebrated globally on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, encourages individuals and businesses to give back to their communities and support charitable causes. Managed Solution is delighted to contribute to the vital work of the San Diego Humane Society, an organization dedicated to promoting the welfare of animals and providing compassionate care.

In a unique twist to this year's Giving Tuesday initiative, Managed Solution invited its employees to nominate non-profit organizations for consideration. CEO Sean Ferrel, known for his commitment to community engagement, has personally selected ALL five charities nominated by employees. Each charity will receive a donation in kind on behalf of the employees below.

The selected charities are:

  1. Youth on Their Own (Nominated by William Ford)
  2. American Heart Association (Nominated by Josh Ose)
  3. Teddy Bear Care (Nominated by Sarah Wolf)
  4. Frosted Faces Foundation (Nominated by Alecia Wilson)
  5. CASA - Louisiana (Nominated by Kat Grunzinger)


The company encourages other businesses to embrace similar initiatives that empower employees to make a difference in the causes they care about. By supporting multiple charities, Managed Solution aims to amplify the positive impact on communities and create a ripple effect of generosity.

About Managed Solution: Managed Solution is a leading technology solutions provider based in San Diego, offering a comprehensive suite of services, including IT consulting, cloud solutions, and managed services. With a commitment to innovation and community engagement, Managed Solution strives to make a positive impact on businesses and society.


For more information about Managed Solution and its philanthropic efforts, please visit https://www.managedsolution.com/culture/.

New Microsoft Teams Essentials is built for small businesses

While the past 20 months have been challenging for all organizations, I don’t know any that have been hit harder than small businesses. They’ve had to adapt nearly every aspect of how they operate and work with customers, often without access to critical tools and technologies. The world isn’t going back to the “old” way of working, so small businesses need solutions that are designed specifically for their unique needs to thrive in this new normal.

Today we’re excited to introduce Microsoft Teams Essentials. It’s the first standalone offering of Microsoft Teams designed specifically with small businesses in mind. It brings together features small businesses need to serve customers, including unlimited group video calls for up to 30 hours, group chat, file sharing, and calendaring. And at only $4 USD per user per month, it’s the most affordable all-in-one solution in the market today.

Teams Essentials is built for small businesses

With Teams Essentials, small businesses from restaurants to retailers to professional services can easily meet, collaborate, communicate, and serve customers in new ways. Take Bristol Dental Specialists, a United Kingdom-based practice that began using Teams last year. From virtual consultations to collaboration with colleagues, the Bristol team delivers faster, friendlier, and more cost-effective patient care with Teams.

“Communication is so important, and with Teams, we’re working together better than ever to provide patients with a standard of care that sets us apart.”—Rebecca Metcalfe, Senior Treatment Coordinator, Bristol Dental Specialists

The need for affordable communications tools isn’t limited to traditional for-profit small businesses. Nonprofits, religious organizations, schools, and community groups also struggle to connect and collaborate effectively. These organizations and small businesses need to get up and running fast, and Teams Essentials makes it possible with no IT expertise necessary. Teams Essentials enables those with and without a Teams account to participate easily and effectively. While the free version of Microsoft Teams is still available, Teams Essentials offers extended limits like longer meetings and more storage. Let’s take a closer look at how Teams Essentials can support your needs.

Expansive meeting limits and easy-to-use features let you host professional meetings

Meeting up to 300 participants on a group call
Shared default Google calendar integration.

Working closely with customers and partners can be a challenge for any business without the right communication tools. Teams Essentials brings existing Teams capabilities together with features specifically designed for small businesses and community groups:

  •  Extended meeting times—With meetings that can last up to 30 hours, there’s no need to worry about your Teams Essentials meeting running over its time limit, whether you’re meeting one-on-one or in a group.
  •  Large meeting capacity—With the ability to host up to 300 people at once, Teams Essentials offers the ability to bring everyone into the same virtual room.
  • Calendar integration—In addition to integration with Outlook Calendar, the new Google Calendar integration in Microsoft Teams means you can use your existing calendaring tool to stay on top of schedules and manage your meetings. *Google Calendar integration coming soon.
  • Simple, easy invitations—Inviting people to a meeting is easy. Simply add them to the Teams meeting invitation using their email address. They will receive a meeting invitation with a link to join. And if they don’t have Teams, the meeting will open directly in their browser. No sign-up, sign-in, or installation required.
  • Interactive meetings—Professional meeting tools and capabilities like meeting lobby, virtual backgrounds, Together mode, live closed captions, live reactions, and more allow any organization to host engaging meetings.

With the ability to connect existing tools and store content in one place, it’s easy to stay organized

Easily share files on any Teams chat
Edit and co-author files in Office web apps

Teams Essentials simplifies communications for small businesses and community groups with a single solution for chat and meetings—saving time, and most importantly, keeping meetings and conversations in context. It includes tools to work effectively with anyone, including Office web apps, file sharing, group chats, task management, and more.

  •  Additional cloud storage—Don’t worry about running out of storage or wasting time searching for documents. Easily co-author, view, edit, and store Office 365 files. Teams Essentials offers a total of 10 gigabytes (GB) file storage, which is twice the amount of storage available in the free version of Teams.
  • Ongoing chat—All conversations in Teams are persistent, helping you to keep the conversation going so you never lose context or continuity. The conversation doesn’t end when the meeting ends.
  • Small business group chat template—Quickly start a group project and host meetings with anyone, assign tasks to teammates, and create polls to receive feedback quickly all in one hub, taking productivity to the next level. *Coming soon to desktop and web.
  • Chat, meet, and collaborate with anyone—Whether you are working with someone within or outside your organization, using the Teams app or dialing in, your chat and collaboration experience is kept in one place. There’s no need to jump between app experiences when you’re working on a project with an outside company.
  • Mobile chat dashboard—Just click on dashboard view in any one-on-one or group chat to conveniently access all shared content neatly organized into categories such as locations, photos, files, task lists, upcoming events, weblinks, and more. *Available for customers purchasing directly from Microsoft.

Teams Essentials offers the value and support small businesses need

Costs are top of mind for every business and community. Microsoft Teams Essentials offers the most value at the best price. And with a simplified interface that is easy to learn, it is straightforward and easy for employees to quickly be productive.

  • Get the most from your technology tools—With rich communications features at the lowest cost in the market, at $4 per user per month, Teams Essentials offers outstanding value for small companies and community groups.
  • Support from Microsoft—Teams Essentials is backed by Microsoft and runs in the Azure cloud. This means security, reliability, performance, and support. Microsoft is here to help with the technology you need—within your budget.

How to buy Teams Essentials

Microsoft Teams Essentials is available from a variety of Microsoft Cloud Partners including some of the most recognized names in the industry:

ALSOCrayonIngramPax8RhipeTD SynnexTelefonica (ES)Deutsche TelekomVodafone (IT)Wortmann AG.

Microsoft Cloud Partner logos

Customers worldwide can also purchase Teams Essentials direct from Microsoft.

Customers looking to use Microsoft Teams for personal use can get access to these same features and extended meeting limits with a Microsoft 365 Family and Microsoft 365 Personal subscription.

Microsoft is committed to providing small businesses with technologies that power their core needs. That’s why we built Teams Essentials and recently announced expanded security offerings for small and medium businesses with Microsoft Defender for Business, designed to help small businesses protect against ransomware and other cyberthreats. With Teams Essentials, we are excited to take another step in our commitment and enable small businesses to collaborate securely from virtually anywhere.

Get started with Microsoft 365

Help people and teams do their best work with the apps and experiences they rely on every day to connect, collaborate, and get work done from anywhere. Chat with one of our Microsoft Specialized experts today to get started.

Upcoming Free Microsoft 365 Workshops for SMBs

Be sure to register for one of our upcoming workshops to dive into Microsoft 365 and unleash its full potential to boost your ROI in all of your operational endeavors.

Join us Oct. 25th or November 15th


May Mental Health Month: Creating Supportive Workplaces to Foster Mental Well-being


May is a month of blooming flowers and vibrant growth, and it also holds great significance as Mental Health Month. It is an opportune time for businesses and organizations to cultivate open conversations and implement practices that prioritize the mental well-being of their employees.

In this blog, we will explore the importance of recognizing and addressing mental health in the workplace, as well as practical steps that businesses can take to create a supportive environment for their employees.

We’ll also showcase some of the initiatives we’re taking to open the conversation in our own organization and provide our team with access to resources and support.


Managed Solutions Mental Health Week Initiatives

At Managed Solution we work to promote a fun, healthy culture that enables our employees to succeed because they feel safe, happy, and supported.

That is why this month we dedicated an entire week of activities to promote team bonding, highlight the importance of mental health, share available resources, promote self-care, and open a conversation we hope to keep a special focus on beyond the month of May. Check out some of the activities we initiated below!


Mindful Monday

We kicked off Mental Health Week with a deep breath and a mindful pause. Encouraging our team to explore the following options to boost their mindfulness and mitigate stress.


Treat Yo Self Tuesday

We took a note from Parks and Rec royalty, Donna and Tom, for Treat Yo Self Tuesday! Where our team entered a spa-day gift card raffle by listing the things they do for self-care, or to simply “treat” themselves.


Feed Your Soul Wednesday

On Wednesday we fostered team bonding and connection through a virtual luncheon hosted on Microsoft Teams. Our team had a blast gathering to share stories, meet new members, and catch up on each other’s daily lives.


Mental Health Day of Action

Thursday was our ‘Mental Health Day of Action’, where we focused on spreading the idea that mental health IS health. We took more time to address the conversation on the importance of mental health and the tangible steps that we can all take to care for ourselves both mentally and physically. We further backed this by sharing more mental health resources offered to our employees and guiding them to places or personnel they could reach to access them.


Friday Afternoon Move & Groove

We finished big with a virtual dance party on Friday. It may sound silly but sometimes letting your team know that they’re safe to let loose and be themselves can be a great way to promote mental health.

Professionalism is of course important, but people are people at the end of the day, and knowing you’re free to bust out the sprinkler amongst your team can serve as a fun mood booster. At least, it sure did for us!


Acknowledging the Importance of Mental Health

Mental health is an integral part of overall well-being, and businesses have a vital role to play in acknowledging and addressing this reality. By recognizing that mental health impacts employees' productivity, job satisfaction, and overall quality of life, organizations can foster an environment where individuals feel valued and supported.

Creating Open Conversations

Encouraging open conversations about mental health is a cornerstone of creating a supportive workplace. Businesses can take proactive steps to destigmatize mental health by:


Promoting awareness

Use internal communications, newsletters, or workshops to educate employees about mental health issues, symptoms, and available resources. Share personal stories and testimonials to foster empathy and understanding.


Implementing mental health training

Provide managers and employees with training on mental health awareness, recognizing signs of distress, and supporting colleagues in need. This knowledge empowers individuals to offer appropriate support and creates a culture of empathy and compassion.


Establishing support networks

Encourage the formation of employee resource groups or support networks focused on mental health. These safe spaces allow individuals to share experiences, seek guidance, and build a community of understanding.


Implementing Supportive Practices

In addition to creating open conversations, organizations can implement practical measures that prioritize the mental well-being of their employees. Check out some of the examples we have listed below:


Flexible work arrangements

Offer flexible working hours, remote work options, or compressed work weeks to promote work-life balance and reduce stress. Flexibility empowers employees to manage their mental health effectively while fulfilling their professional responsibilities.


Employee assistance programs (EAPs)

Collaborate with mental health professionals to establish EAPs that provide confidential counseling, therapy, and resources for employees seeking support. These programs ensure that employees have access to professional help when needed.


Wellness initiatives

Introduce wellness initiatives such as yoga or meditation classes, mindfulness workshops, or access to wellness apps. Encouraging physical activity and stress reduction techniques can significantly contribute to employees' mental well-being.


Encouraging time off

Emphasize the importance of taking regular vacations, mental health days, and sick leave without guilt or stigma. Encourage employees to prioritize self-care and model this behavior from leadership positions.


There’s no perfect way to talk about mental health. The important thing is to talk about it in a way that’s authentic to your organization. Mental Health Month presents an invaluable opportunity for businesses and organizations to foster an environment that prioritizes the mental well-being of their employees.

By creating open conversations, implementing supportive practices, and recognizing the importance of mental health, businesses can nurture a workplace where individuals feel valued, supported, and empowered to thrive both professionally and personally. Together, let us embrace the journey toward a mentally healthy and resilient workforce.


By: Amanda Hawthorne- Director of People and Culture

No matter your role in the workforce, you’ve surely heard by now that we’re not only in the midst of a global pandemic, but we’re also seeing an epidemic of people leaving their jobs. According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report released earlier this month, 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in December 2021. Though that number is a slight downtick from the month prior, the number of quits is still outpacing years prior; in fact, more Americans quit in 2021 than ever before recorded. The Great Resignation’s acceleration of employee turnover just adds to the difficulty of running a business in these challenging times. So, what can employers do to cope? What’s the solution?

Here, we explore some of the ways to increase worker satisfaction and reduce turnover -- and be ready for the inevitability of some churn within your workplace.

But any efforts to increase retention may fail if you haven’t first understood the reasons for employees leaving in the first place. Let’s explore some common themes for employee resignations in today’s work environment:

Employees leaving to handle caregiving responsibilities. It’s undeniable that Covid-19 exposed serious gaps in our country’s caregiving infrastructure. Some parents have dropped out of the workplace because of the intensive care burdens of young children and the lack of available daycare facilities – not to mention the increasing costs of such care. Others are leaving to care for an elder parent because long-term care facilities are expensive and perhaps less desirable during the pandemic. Still others have school-aged kids at home who just aren’t going to make it through Zoom school without supervision. The choice to leave the workplace may have been most common among caregivers whose jobs require their presence onsite, versus remote or schedule flexibility, but even those whose jobs allow such flexibility may find the competing pressures of work and caregiving to be in conflict – and overwhelming. It’s not surprising that some of these people decided to leave the workforce or seek out new opportunities with additional flexibility.

What can employers do? Employers should remember that employees are people, too – with complex lives and competing responsibilities beyond their paid employment. Consider whether offering benefits such as childcare subsidies or backup childcare assistance could benefit your workforce. These benefits can be a win-win for employees and employers, offering much-needed assistance to workers and potentially a tax credit for the business offering child are subsidies. Many employers already offer access to an Employee Assistance Program, which can offer referrals for child or elder care resources. If this is something you offer, make sure your employees know about the benefit – EAPs are easy to forget if you’ve never accessed one before.

Employees leaving for greener pastures: more flexibility, stronger benefits… Now that we are through the initial shock of being in a pandemic, when many people may have held steady in jobs they might have otherwise considered leaving, people are now starting to re-evaluate. Employees may be taking stock of their position on a total-rewards basis: what benefits is my employer offering? Are they helping cover the costs of healthcare for me and my family? Do I have access to progressive benefits coverage like telehealth? Especially as workers see peers leave their roles for greener pastures, they may be more likely to start wondering what else is available, and how their current opportunity stacks up.

What can employers do? Working with an insurance broker, companies can evaluate whether their existing benefits offerings are competitive. Employers must remember too that they are competing with larger companies for talent. It may not be possible to offer all the bells and whistles, but where can you really add value? You may want to work with your broker to survey your team to find out how they’re using their current benefits and where else they’re looking for you to assist.

Employers should also evaluate their workplace policies to see whether offering increased flexibility or other family-friendly policies could benefit their teams. At Managed Solution, we’ve offered varying degrees of remote work and schedule flexibility for years. Before the pandemic, this was more cutting edge, but as many jobs went remote for Covid-19, work-remote opportunities have become more of an expectation among workers. Now, employees are looking to their employers to understand what policies and programs will exist beyond the pandemic: will they continue to have access to remote work? Can they adjust start times to accommodate day-care or school drop off? Do you offer flexibility for part-time roles or job-sharing to accommodate those who need more time for caregiving? Now is the time for employers to start defining what the future will hold for their workers – and the more flexibility you can offer, the better!

Employees leaving to secure a raise. Inflation is real, and employees are aware of the rapidly increasing costs to even maintain a current quality of life. According to Bloomberg, “U.S. consumer prices soared last year by the most in nearly four decades, sapping the purchasing power of American families” -- and even as minimum wages have increased in parts of the country, “rising prices are eroding those advances.” For most workers, the best way to secure a significant wage increase is not to wait for an annual review at a current employer, where they may see a small cost-of-living adjustment, but to seek an offer at another firm.

What can employers do? Take time to look at your current team’s wages. How does it stack up to the market? Remember, too, that with the rise of remote work opportunities, you may be competing against wages on a national scale, as employees’ options are no longer limited to a local work market. Although it may not be possible to offer significant increases across the board, it may be prudent to identify key talent and ensure the individuals in those roles are paid appropriately. If base wage increases aren’t an option and you’re already paying market-fair wages, perhaps you can offer other creative incentives based on specific organizational outcomes… which may be written in a way that requires employees to remain employed with your organization for a specific duration to receive payment. (Future bonus opportunities may not be enough to overcome other significant deficiencies in employee satisfaction, so be sure there aren’t other underlying issues with workplace rigidity, culture issues, or lack of growth opportunities.)

Employees leaving a toxic or lack-luster work environment. As much as we’d like to think we can throw money at a problem to solve it (and sometimes that does help), recent data published by MIT Sloan Management Review suggests that a toxic corporate culture can be a top predictor of attrition – more than pay: according to the article, “a toxic culture is 10.4 times more likely to contribute to attrition than compensation… Our analysis found that the leading elements contributing to toxic cultures include failure to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion; workers feeling disrespected; and unethical behavior.” With so many job openings, employees in such toxic environments can feel compelled to explore new opportunities in organizations that prioritize recognition, respect, and collaboration.

Additionally, many employees are feeling disconnected from their workplace without an office to visit. Employees may seek opportunities with organizations that prioritize team building, including those that offer virtual or hybrid events to help them get to know coworkers beyond their day-to-day work interactions. According to Angela Ashenden, citing findings from her co-authored paper (“Employee Workplace Technology Survey, 2020”) in an article posted on Reworked: “Although most of the technology basics are now in place to enable them to access their work tools remotely, employees highlight a lack of social interaction with colleagues (33%) and a lack of connection with what's happening in their organization (22%) as their biggest challenges with remote work.”

What can employers do? Employers should evaluate their own corporate culture. What are employees saying in exit interviews? What’s being reflected in employee surveys? Do you have a defined Code of Conduct or set of company values that outlines how your company engages internally and externally, to ensure that all team members feel respected? If these documents already exist, how are you reinforcing them on a day-to-day basis with your teams? Do your team members have ways to identify individuals whose behavior falls short of those standards, without fear of reprisal?

If you’re feeling good about the basic foundations of respect, inclusion, and equity within your organization, start considering how you’re engaging your remote or hybrid teams. Do you have an accessible intranet and collaboration tool like Microsoft Teams? (If not, let’s chat!) Are you helping team members connect on those platforms by announcing important company updates? Here at Managed Solution, we’ve leveraged Microsoft Teams to build community through Virtual Spirit Weeks, where our team members posted photos or responses to various topics. We were blown away by the responses to our prompts, such as “ManSol’s Got Talent” - where employees showed off their painting, cooking, athletic, and other skills. From virtual trivia night to a hosted virtual escape room, to “Quaran-teams” pods to connect folks across the organization for 15-minutes social breaks throughout the week, there are so many ways to help your team members feel connected on a social level.

Employees leaving for growth opportunities not available in their current environment. At the end of the day, most employees are looking for the opportunities to succeed at work – and the opportunity to grow into new roles within a company. If employees don’t see a clear path for growth within an organization, they may begin exploring ways to grow beyond it. Employees left in the dark about what opportunities exist in their organization, or who aren’t provided coaching support to take on stretch goals, may not want to languish in the same position forever.

What can employers do? First and foremost – make sure your employees know what opportunities exist! Particularly in a remote environment where there’s less of a chance someone can hear of something ‘through the grapevine,’ employers need to take care to publish job openings across the organization. Be sure to take seriously any employee who shows interest in an open role: at a minimum, someone in HR and/or the hiring manager should meet with that person to discuss the role, even if the person isn’t yet qualified. If that person isn’t yet eligible or suited to a role, help them understand the gaps – and provide guidance on how to close them! Engage your supervisors and managers in development efforts. Are they regularly meeting with team members to discuss performance and growth? And if someone in your organization has been promoted, how are you highlighting this story in your recruiting and internal communication? Employees want to know that internal growth is possible – and how to achieve it for themselves. Particularly for industries like IT, where there’s always something new to learn, consider how you are helping your team members learn. Can you offer professional development funding or tuition assistance? Reimbursement of certification costs? Outline these programs, and make sure they’re published across the organization. Helping people see opportunities and see your commitment to their achievement can keep employees committed to your organization for the long haul.

These are just some of the reasons employees are re-evaluating their careers during the Great Resignation. Whichever factors are driving turnover in your organization, making a concerted effort to uncover the reasons and address them will be critical for improving retention.

And while evaluating your strategy for retention is a must, employers must realize that it can take time to implement new programs or policies and see any impact. So, what to do in the meantime, when the Great Resignation is still underway? With the combination of a tight labor market and an acceleration of turnover, employers need to also be ready to engage in a competitive recruiting market to fill those inevitable openings. In many cases, this can mean looking to an outside recruiting firm for help.

Managed Solution has developed a consistent, proactive recruiting practice to ensure we’re connecting with qualified talent and building our pipeline for common IT roles, sometimes even before we have an active opening. But not every company is going to have a dedicated internal recruiting team building that pipeline even before it’s needed. Given today’s intensely competitive recruiting marketing, where candidates may have multiple offers in front of them, working with an outside recruiting firm can help your company improve success in hiring the right talent, fast – which is even more important when you get that unexpected two-weeks-notice letter from someone in a key role!

Do you have a critical opening you need filled yesterday? Just received a devastating two-weeks-notice letter from an employee in a key role? Let us know -- we can help!

Staffing Services: The Details- What you need to know!

By: Amanda Hawthorne, Director of People and Culture at Managed Solution

So you’ve got an opening or resource need on your team? Exciting! Managed Solution’s Staffing Services can help! But knowing where to start with an outside recruiting firm can be tough, and you may have a lot of questions about the process…

There are plenty of choices for service providers: so how do you know which is going to deliver?

Sometimes the exact resource or budget requirements for your position may be a bit hazy, and you may still be sorting out how exactly a new hire will engage within your team. Who can help you define your needs and understand a market-realistic hiring budget?

Everyone is already stretched thin today, and no one has time to interview a series of candidates who completely miss the mark. Working with a trusted Staffing Service provider like Managed Solution can help you quickly connect with pre-vetted technical talent so you can make efficient staffing decisions and get back to work with the right team!

Why You Can Trust Managed Solution to Deliver Top Talent

Managed Solution is an IT service provider – which means IT people are our business. For over 20 years, we’ve been meeting talented engineers and connecting them with our clients across Southern California (and beyond!) to fulfill ongoing support or even project-based needs. In the age of remote work and the “Great Resignation,” it’s more important than ever to hire highly skilled and vetted engineering talent – and even harder to find them!

After hearing from client after client about the challenges they’re having in finding and vetting top talent, we saw an opportunity here: open our Talent Community to our clients, giving them access to the amazing people we’re meeting daily. (And as a bonus, individuals in our Talent Community have already been vetted by our Microsoft-certified engineers!)

Plus, since hiring our Talent Advisor, Kat Grunzinger, we now have a talent concierge to meet with our clients and really dive into their needs, to help define an opportunity for efficient recruiting. Kat has years of experience in the recruiting space and has a true knack for building quick rapport with candidates, diving into what they know (and don’t), as well as understanding what opportunities are truly of interest to them. She leverages this same inquisitive nature to consult with clients to understand what Staffing Services are best-suited to their needs – and which candidates will really fit the bill!

What You Need to Know When Getting Started with Managed Solution’s Talent Advisor

You may be asking, what’s it like to work with Managed Solution’s Talent Advisor?

Here’s what you can expect:

First, Our Talent Advisor will want to interview you! We’ve found the best way to understand the true needs of an organization isn’t to rely on a job description (which may be out of date or miss key aspects of what a position truly requires), but to go straight to the source: you!

As a hiring manager, you’ll have insight into your needs, your team, and your organization – even if you haven’t scoped out a formal job description yet, or if you haven’t gotten the chance yet to update the one that’s been on file for years.

Our Talent Advisor can help you outline the specific function that’s needed. She’ll be aiming to understand the ins and outs of your open role, so she can connect you to the right resources. Key questions she’ll ask include:

  1. What function or role will this person play in your organization or project? Do you need someone to take charge and lead a team? Someone to execute tasks already outlined in a project plan? Someone your end users can trust to solve their issues in a responsive and friendly manner?
  2. What skills & experience are essential for their success? Are you seeking a well-rounded IT generalist with demonstrated success in a particular industry? A helpdesk superstar already proficient with a specific ticketing system and Office365 administration? An SQL wizard?
  3. Who will this person interact with most often? What people skills would make someone most successful in those interactions? Every team has a different style, and Our Talent Advisor knows a successful candidate will be a value-add to your existing team culture. Is your team highly process oriented or working in a compliance-heavy environment? Operating in a start-up mentality where adaptability is key? Our Talent Advisor wants to know so we can present candidates who are ready to jump in and be successful!
  4. What is the available budget and target market for hiring? Are you looking for an onsite resource in your downtown Los Angeles office, or flexible to find someone fully remote from anywhere in the nation? Do you have budget for a full-time internal hire, or will you be looking to staff a temporary need with an external position on an hourly bill rate?

Our Talent Advisor will ask these key questions so she understands exactly what this individual will be doing on a day-to-day basis and how their success will be defined. This will help her articulate the opportunity to potential candidates - and help us avoid wasting your time with candidates who would fall short of expectations. This understanding will allow her to scroll through her mental Rolodex of people in our Talent Community so she can quickly connect you with any pre-vetted candidates that might align with your goals.

Understanding your needs can also help us align our Staffing Service offering with your ‘ask’ to ensure we’re helping you meet your need in a cost-effective manner.

How Managed Solution Approaches Staffing Services

Managed Solution offers several different Staffing Services to meet your IT hiring needs:

  • Direct Hire Recruiting: With this model, Managed Solution will leverage your job specifications to actively seek out qualified resources for you to interview, hire, and onboard onto your team. In addition to the keen instincts of our Talent Advisor, we vet candidates with our Microsoft-certified engineers before we even present their resumes to you. When we send a candidate profile your way, you can be confident of that resource’s technical skills – plus, they’ll have been briefed by our team on your needs and expectations so you can get have a meaningful conversation from the start. With our significant IT hiring experience and vast Talent Community of pre-vetted resources, our Direct Hire Recruiting service will get the right person, sooner, so you can focus on your team.
  • Staff Augmentation Resourcing: In this service, Managed Solution performs the same service of connecting you with talent aligned to your needs, but, in this case, the resource will be retained by our team and assigned to a project or temporary position on yours. Let us handle the administrative side of things, from payroll to benefits, and you can focus on your team’s priorities. You’ll still get all the benefits of our pre-vetting, our Talent Advisor’s concierge intake process, and our Talent Community – plus, after a set term, you’ll have the option to convert your Staff Augmentation Resource to your own team without an additional fee.
  • Technical Vetting: With technical vetting, we’ve shifted the recruiting model a bit – you bring the candidates, and we provide feedback about the candidates’ critical skills, based on interviews with our Microsoft-certified engineers. This service is especially suited to hiring for executive or management-level IT staff: after all, who at your firm can provide a true skills assessment of a resource if that resource is meant to be the most technical member of your team? In that case, we’re happy to leverage the technical knowledge of our seasoned engineers and even our executive teams to help vet your candidates along job-related criteria that you define when you engage our services. We can also help provide feedback for your systems engineer, systems/network administrator, and helpdesk technicians! For a reasonable, fixed price, gain some additional peace of mind about your next hire!

When our Talent Advisor meets with you to discuss your team’s needs, she’ll help you determine which Staffing Service is right for you.

How a Strong Rapport with Your Talent Advisor Helps You Hire Better, Faster

Once a Staffing Service Agreement is signed, she’ll begin sorting through our existing connections within our Talent Community and will reach out to appropriate passive candidates on your behalf.

When we find suitable candidates – aligned to your role in terms of experience, skills, location, culture, and career goals – we’ll pre-vet them with our Microsoft-certified engineers and then present you with their talent profiles (a fancy term for their resumes, catered to your position). Ideally, they’ll all look good on paper, and then it’s time for you and your teams to interview!

Our Talent Advisor will work with you to define your own vetting process for the opening – who will be involved in the interviews; when/how interviews will be conducted; etc. Then, she’ll coordinate scheduling and share pertinent information to the candidate so they can be on-time and ready to discuss your opportunity, whether that’s in person at your office, or via Microsoft Teams video interview. (We can even send out a Microsoft Teams meeting bridge for you and the candidate to connect on!)

During the interview, you’ll get a sense of your own as to whether the candidate meets the eligibility and suitability requirements of your role. Our Talent Advisor will check in after your interviews to hear about what went well, what concerns still linger, and what next steps look like. Our Talent Advisor will also get feedback from the candidate to ensure a strong mutual fit before moving ahead in the process. This two-way flow of information and feedback is one essential for effective recruiting services – and helps ensure that by the time an offer is issued, you’re confident it will be accepted.

Having a strong rapport with your Talent Advisor can help you move through the hiring process faster, more effectively, and with the outcomes you’re looking for. Sometimes hiring managers hesitate to share negative feedback about a candidate’s skills or experience (because who likes giving bad news?), but we encourage open communication during this process. Understanding exactly what is or isn’t working helps us ensure a better outcome on the next candidate. And if things are going well, timely communication is even more important: you’re more likely to get an enthusiastic “yes!” in response to an offer when the candidate feels the process has moved along at a natural clip, and they’ve received timely, positive feedback. Plus, a strong rapport with your Talent Advisor also allows her to share honest feedback from candidates about your position, interview process, and the candidate experience.

What details Talent Advisor Wants You to Know

Want the inside scoop about working with our Staffing Services professionals? We sat down recently with Kat Grunzinger, Managed Solution’s Talent Advisor, to talk about her professional background in recruiting and her hopes for Managed Solution’s Staffing Services.

Here’s what Kat Grunzinger, Managed Solution’s Talent Advisor, wants you to know!

Q: What do you want a hiring manager to know about you?

A: “I want hiring managers to know that I’ve been in their seat! I know how challenging it can be to find, vet, and hire the right people for the right positions.  That level of empathy drives me to move quickly across the process – jumping onto an intake call, running through recent conversations to see if there are any immediately ‘right’ candidates, proactively sourcing talent across multiple platforms, and being timely in scheduling and feedback. I will earn the hiring manager's trust by active listening to quickly understand an opening; by being flexible and available for their calls; by following through on any action items outlined; and by reassuring them that I’m here for them! I feel most successful when I know we’ve done the right thing for the client.”

Q: What drew you to recruiting and what’s your favorite part of the process?

A: “I love getting to meet talented individuals and hearing their stories and learning what they want out of their careers – and then getting to help make that happen! It’s a privilege to assist in their journeys, and I take seriously that we are talking about a person’s livelihood. The same care I take in building relationships of trust with hiring managers, I apply to our Talent Community. My goal is to facilitate transparent, two-way communication. I’m not afraid to tell a candidate when a job isn’t going to help them meet their goals because it frees them up to find the opportunities that are right.”

Q: What should a hiring manager know about your job to make the relationship more effective?

A: “Honest and open communication matters. Not only is this aligned with Managed Solution’s values and Code of Conduct, it’s truly critical for recruiting and other Staffing Services. A hiring manager needs to be honest and realistic about budgets, the true needs of their team, – and sometimes as an outside entity, I’m able to help them see another side of the coin. Whether that’s advising the client about the right pay scale for a position with a specific region or helping them see that their job description is unrealistic (or describes three different jobs), I really appreciate when hiring managers value this two-way feedback. I think it brings us more credibility as recruiters and ultimately helps clients fill their needs.

I think it’s also important for a hiring manager to understand that my role as a recruiter is to help sell the value of an organization or position to candidates. The time we invest up front in an intake call positions me to effectively communicate with potential candidates about the roles, and to proactively answer the questions they have. We’ll both spend more time talking to the right people if a hiring manager spends the time with me up front to help me learn how their team functions, what types of soft skills help someone thrive, and what perks/benefits exist within their organizations. I’ll definitely do the right homework on my side to read the job description, the company website, and more before that meeting, but there’s nothing like learning straight from the hiring manager how the team is doing and what it needs.”

Q: What are your hopes for Managed Solution’s Staffing Services?

A: “My hope is that we can continue building trust with our clients, as we succeed in connecting them with qualified talent. I know I’ve done my job when a client comes back for help with another opening or refers us to their colleague for assistance on a role. Continuing to help good people find fulfilling work with amazing organizations – that’s what it’s all about!”

Ready to hand over the heavy lifting to us? Email us about our Staffing Services today!

By Ashley Triplett

The first of several significant commercial price increases from Microsoft for Office 365 since its launch a decade ago is occurring March 1, 2022.  Microsoft plans including business software subscriptions for Microsoft 365 Business (Basic and Premium), Office 365 (E1, E3, and E5), and more will be affected. Businesses that use these products should expect increased charges. 

These increases will apply globally with local market adjustments for specific regions. The good news is that the price increases will only affect commercial and business users, with no changes to pricing for education or consumers subscriptions.  

There is a silver lining, in March of 2022, Microsoft will be adding Audio Conferencing to all licenses that include Teams, which will include unlimited dial-in capabilities for Microsoft Teams meetings across the enterprise, business, frontline, and government suites. 

Here is the official Microsoft announcement of the price changes. 

Microsoft 365 Upcoming Price Changes Effective on March 1, 2022 

  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic - from $5 to $6 per user 
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium - from $20 to $22 
  • Office 365 E1 - from $8 to $10 
  • Office 365 E3 - from $20 to $23 
  • Office 365 E5 - from $35 to $38 
  • Microsoft 365 E3 - from $32 to $36  

How Will These Changes Affect Managed Solution’s O365 Customers? 

  • You may still add licenses to your current subscriptions and pricing will remain the same until December 31, 2022.
  • Only Net New Subscriptions will be affected by the price increase on/after March 1, 2022.
  • If you are intending to make a transition to any new licenses in 2022, we recommend adding at least 1 license before March 1, 2022 to lock in the current pricing until December 31, 2022.
  • Managed Solution will be renewing subscriptions for all customers taking advantage of our Cloud Solution Provider program savings the beginning of 2022 to lock in the current pricing before March 1, 2022.  This will ensure your pricing and budget do not change until at least December 31, 2022.
  • Microsoft will be moving all Legacy (existing) subscriptions to the new pricing platform December 31, 2022. We will be sending more information out on how the new prices and changes will affect our clients prior to December and will have available meeting times for Q&A.

Purchasing New Subscriptions after March 2022 – What You Need to Know

Starting in March, new all Microsoft 365 subscriptions must be purchased under the New Commerce Experience.   The New Commerce Experience is Microsoft new subscription platform where you will have 2 options when purchasing new subscriptions.  New Commerce Experience subscriptions are available to purchase now and currently qualify for promotions, outlined below.

The first option is to purchase an annual subscription.  Annual subscriptions will be at a lower price per seat; the subscription is billed 12 months in full at time of purchase, however, some customers may qualify for monthly termed invoicing under the annual commitment.  Annual subscriptions do allow you to increase your seat count at any time, but you may not decrease the number of licenses you purchased until the 12 months is met.  In addition, Microsoft is offering a 5% promotional discount for any new annual subscriptions purchase before March 31st, 2022.

The second option is to purchase a monthly subscription.  Monthly subscriptions, under the New Commerce Experience, are 20% more than the monthly price of the annual subscription. Monthly subscriptions allow you to increase your seat count at any time, but you may not decrease the number of licenses until the end of each month.  Microsoft is offering a 16.7% monthly promotional discount for New Commerce Experience Monthly Subscriptions until June 30th, 2022.

Very Important to Note: With the New Commerce Experience, Microsoft is enforcing its cancellation policy that states Cancellations are only possible within the first 72 hours of purchase with a prorated refund (proration is calculated daily).  This policy is enforced with both Annual and Monthly subscriptions, when a cancellation request is submitted after 72 hours of purchase, the cancellation will not take effect until the end of the Monthly Term or the Annual Term.


  • Microsoft has put a 2400 Seat limit per license type, this limit excludes Windows 365
  • Promotions do not apply to Non-Profit, Academic or Government licenses.

Additional Microsoft Price Increases That Took Effect in 2021 

There was a quiet price increase for the Enterprise Mobility Suite and Intune licenses announced in July and the price increase took effect August 2021.  The new pricing will take effect when subscriptions are renewed at their annual term.  Managed Solution is sending out notices to our clients before the price increases take effect. 

Microsoft also implemented price increases to their Windows Server offering on September 1, 2021, Windows Server Standard, Win Server CAL, and Win Server RDS licenses all received a 10% price increase. 

 Open Licensing Program is Ending December 31, 2021 

As of January 1, 2022, commercial customers will not be able to buy new or renew software licenses or online services through the Microsoft Open License program. New license-only purchases should be transacted through partners in the Cloud Solution Provider program.  You will continue to have full rights and access to all perpetual software licenses acquired through the Open License program. There are currently no changes to the Open Value or Open Value Subscription programs.   

  • You may receive a notice that you have an Agreement that is expiring, these notices are likely just for the Authorization number expiring. 

Managed Solution is happy to provide quotes for any licenses you need. We can offer great pricing on the new Software Perpetual licenses through the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program or if you are in need of Software assurance, we can quote the Open Value licensing as well. 

For more information on the Open Licensing Program changes, see the Microsoft official announcement here.  

Contact Us 

If you are a current licensing client and have questions, please reach out to our Cloud Team at o365@managedsolution.com

If you are new to working with Managed Solution, and want to learn more about how we can help you with your Microsoft licensing and other IT needs, please contact us at sales@managedsolution.com 

Want to help us petition against the Microsoft Price Increase?  Sign the Petition here.  

By Avarra Gordon

This year marks the inaugural UpCity “Best of” awards honoring the top providers around the world in specific service categories based on their Recommendability Rating. The UpCity Recommendability Rating was developed to determine a B2B service provider’s credibility and trustworthiness, giving UpCity the confidence to recommend them to those businesses seeking services.

We are thrilled to announce that Managed Solution has been recognized as a Best of Cloud Consulting award winner by UpCity!

UpCity is a resource that helps connect businesses to service providers they can trust. With more than 70,000 listed providers—from marketing agencies to accounting firms to HR consultants to IT specialists and many more—nearly 2 million businesses (and counting) have visited UpCity to research and identify the best partner for their needs.

Mark Tepper, SVP of Sales & Customer Success at UpCity, had this to say about Managed Solution:

“Managed Solution is a company that focuses on getting meaningful results for their clients. Everything they do is customized and tailored to your business needs, and we are thrilled to present them with this award.”

—Mark Tepper, SVP of Sales & Customer Success, UpCity

This honor has been driven in large part by our 5-star review rating on UpCity. Here are some of our favorite pieces of feedback we’ve received from our incredible customers:

“Managed Solution continues to be a great technology partner for our company, Red Door Interactive. Their breadth of services and depth of expertise have allowed us to take on and complete projects. The teams I have worked with are engaged, and they put their best effort to ensure success and offer any assistance to go beyond expectations.”

- Dennis Gonzales, Customer

“We have entrusted Managed Solution to provide our company with complete, end-to-end solutions for all of our technology needs since 2019. Our Platinum Support Plan encompasses server and workstation monitoring, helpdesk, and remote/onsite support services as well as a multitude of other services that leave all technical recommendations for data management and security to Managed Solution. During these past few years, we have always received excellent support from their entire team. They have been very responsive to our issues/inquiries and provided the technical support necessary to resolve the problem(s). They are also very patient with our technically-challenged employees which is very helpful when dealing with issues that can slow down productivity.”

- Susan Bunn, Customer

We’re honored to accept this amazing award.  It is our mission to empower people with technology that drives business growth and solves complex challenges. Thank you UpCity for recognizing our efforts and thank you to our customers who trust us to build and support the backbone of our business.  You are why we do what we do.

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