• 8 min read

Microsoft Cost Management updates—January 2023

January is always exciting, and this year is no different with the general availability of EA account management for indirect customers, recent and pinned views in the Cost analysis preview, 3 new preview features, 7 new ways to save, 1 video, and 6 doc updates.

Whether you’re a new student, a thriving startup, or the largest enterprise, you have financial constraints and you need to know what you’re spending, where it’s being spent, and how to plan for the future. Nobody wants a surprise when it comes to the bill, and this is where Microsoft Cost Management comes in.

We’re always looking for ways to learn more about your challenges and how Microsoft Cost Management can help you better understand where you’re accruing costs in the cloud, identify and prevent bad spending patterns, and optimize costs to empower you to do more with less. Here are a few of the latest improvements and updates based on your feedback:

Let’s dig into the details.

Manage your Enterprise Agreement billing account in the Azure portal

In March, we announced the general availability of the Enterprise Agreement (EA) billing experience in the Azure portal for direct customers working with Microsoft. Now that same experience is generally available for our indirect customers working with partners. All the same EA tools are available from Cost Management and Billing in the Azure portal:

  • Seamlessly create and manage departments, accounts, and subscriptions.
  • Manage access to departments, accounts, and subscriptions.
  • View properties and manage policies, like the ability to view charges and purchase reservations.
  • View notification contacts for enrollment emails.
  • View your monthly Azure usage and charges.
  • Generate and manage API access keys.

Looking beyond account management, you’ll also see new tools to help you monitor and manage costs:

  • View and download consolidated usage and charges, including options for amortized reservation charges.
  • Analyze and drill into your costs in the portal or schedule automated exports.
  • Enable tag inheritance to streamline tag-based cost analysis within your account.
  • Split shared costs to drive more visibility and accountability throughout the organization with cost allocation.
  • Configure budgets to get alerted before costs exceed predefined thresholds.

With these updates, EA billing account administrators should start to use the Azure portal for all account management needs. Account management from the EA portal will no longer be available for indirect customers starting on February 20, 2023.

Stay tuned for more updates, including support for indirect partners. To learn more, see EA billing administration on the Azure portal or check out the EA billing administration video series.

Recent and pinned views in the Cost analysis preview

Cost analysis is your tool for interactive analytics and insights. It should be your first stop when you need to explore or get quick answers about your costs. Over the past year, you’ve seen the addition of new smart views and capabilities, like anomaly detection, that offer more insights and help you understand costs more easily in the Cost analysis preview, but many of you have asked where you should start–in Cost analysis or the Cost analysis preview? Now, you don’t have to choose. The Cost analysis preview lets you decide where to start and remembers which views you use most, helping you jump back in and get the answers you need quicker than ever.

Cost analysis comes with various built-in views that summarize:

  • Cost of your resources at various levels.
  • Overarching services spanning all your resources.
  • Amortized reservation usage.
  • Cost trends over time.

Cost analysis has two types of views: smart views that offer intelligent insights and more details by default and customizable views you can edit, save, and share to meet your needs. The first time you open the Cost analysis preview, you start with a list of all available cost views.

Screenshot of the list of all smart and customizable views in the Cost analysis preview.

Smart views open in tabs within the Cost analysis preview, allowing you to switch between views as you investigate issues. To open a second view, select the + to the right of the list of tabs. Customizable views open outside of the tabs in Cost analysis, a customizable view editor.

As you explore the different views, you’ll notice that the Cost analysis preview remembers which views you’ve used in the Recent section. Switch to the All views section to explore all built-in and saved views. If there’s a specific view you’d like quick access to, select Pin to recent from the All views list. You also have quick access rename, subscribe, copy a link to, or delete views from this list.

We encourage you to check out these updates and let us know what you’d like to see next. We’re eager to get your feedback as we continue to evolve the experience for you.

Consistent global pricing for the Microsoft Cloud

Earlier this month, we announced that we are taking several steps to align the pricing of our Microsoft Cloud products (such as, Azure, Microsoft 365) globally, meaning organizations will have consistent pricing reflecting the exchange rate of the local currency to the US dollar (USD). Starting April 1, 2023, pricing for Microsoft Cloud products will be adjusted in the following currencies:

  • GBP: +9%
  • DKK, EUR and NOK: +11%
  • SEK: +15%

In the future, we will assess pricing in local currency as part of a regular twice-a-year cadence, taking into consideration currency fluctuations relative to USD. This will provide increased transparency and predictability globally and move to a pricing model that is most common in our industry.

The Microsoft Cloud continues to be priced competitively, and Microsoft remains deeply committed to the success of its customers and partners. We will continue to invest to enable customers to innovate, consolidate and eliminate operating costs, optimize business performance and efficiency, and provide the foundation for a strong security strategy that customers around the world have come to rely on.

Help shape the future of invoice experiences

Do you view, manage, or pay invoices within the Azure portal or Microsoft 365 admin center? We’re exploring new capabilities to improve your invoice experience and would love to get your feedback.

If you are interested in chatting about your experience, please sign up here.

Help shape the future of cost management for cloud services

Are you responsible for purchasing, managing, and optimizing cloud solutions and software for your organization? Does your daily job role involve understanding and monitoring cloud spending, discovering services, acquiring or updating licenses and subscriptions, analyzing resource utilization, or paying invoices?

If so, we’d love to talk to you and learn more about your job role in a 60-minute discussion. Please send an email to CE_UXR@microsoft.com and we will get back to you.

What’s new in Cost Management Labs

With Cost Management Labs, you get a sneak peek at what’s coming in Microsoft Cost Management and can engage directly with us to share feedback and help us better understand how you use the service, so we can deliver more tuned and optimized experiences. Here are a few features you can see in Cost Management Labs:

Of course, that’s not all. Every change in Microsoft Cost Management is available in Cost Management Labs a week before it’s in the full Azure portal or Microsoft 365 admin center. We’re eager to hear your thoughts and understand what you’d like to see next. What are you waiting for? Try Cost Management Labs today.

New ways to save money in the Microsoft Cloud

This month I’ll share a few updates spread across the Microsoft Cloud:

New videos and learning opportunities

Sharing a recent Azure Friday video that does a good job of providing an overview of cost management and optimization for Azure:

Follow the Microsoft Cost Management YouTube channel to stay in the loop with new videos as they’re released and let us know what you’d like to see next.

Want a more guided experience? Start with Control Azure spending and manage bills with Microsoft Cost Management.

Documentation updates

As usual, there were plenty of documentation updates since our last update. Here are a few documents that were updated that you might be interested in:

Want to keep an eye on all documentation updates? Check out the Cost Management and Billing documentation change history in the azure-docs repository on GitHub. If you see something missing, select Edit at the top of the document and submit a quick pull request. You can also submit a GitHub issue. We welcome and appreciate all contributions!

What’s next?

These are just a few of the big updates from the last couple of months. Don’t forget to check out the previous Microsoft Cost Management updates. We’re always listening and making constant improvements based on your feedback, so please keep the feedback coming.

Follow @MSCostMgmt on Twitter and subscribe to the YouTube channel for updates, tips, and tricks. You can also share ideas and vote up others in the Cost Management feedback forum or join the research panel to participate in a future study and help shape the future of Microsoft Cost Management.