Microsoft Software Assurance Benefit 24×7 Problem Resolution Support Lost February 2023

Microsoft SA Benefit for PR Support Goes Way of Dodo

Like the Dodo bird, Microsoft’s Software Assurance Benefit (SAB) of 24×7 Problem Resolution Support will become extinct in February 2023. This recent announcement comes as a bit of a surprise to analysts, and Microsoft enterprise customers with significant Software Assurance spends, who were told that the SA benefit would still be available to them after transitioning to Microsoft Unified Support.

Audience: Sourcing, Procurement and Vendor Management | CFO | CIO

Microsoft Software Assurance Benefit - 24x7 Problem Resolution Support - Lost February 2023

Microsoft Reverses Course on SA Spend Threshold

In 2019 Microsoft announced it would be making changes to the Software Assurance PR Support benefit. The plan was for those Microsoft customers with a Software Assurance spend of $250,000 or more, to receive “as needed support” with a 24-hour response time. 

Instead, Microsoft has decided to fully retire the 24×7 Problem Resolution benefit from Software Assurance for ALL customers effective February 1, 2023.

Bitter MSFT Pill to Swallow with Inflation and Recession

CFOs are battling inflation, weakened supply chains, and recession. CIOs and vendor management teams at enterprises must closely control all IT vendor costs including MSFT during economic downturns.

The loss of the Microsoft SA benefit will make Unified Support more difficult to justify as there will be no significant offset against a typical enterprise’s expanding cloud consumption – the primary driver of Unified cost.

Enterprises Reduced to 2 Options at Microsoft for Support

With the retirement of Microsoft Premier Support in June 2022, enterprises now have only 2 options for support at Microsoft.  The first is the Unified Support subscription model which is based on your percentage of spend at Microsoft.

If you don’t have a Unified Support contract as of February 2023, your only other option at Microsoft is the significantly slower (response and resolution time) Microsoft Professional Support which is a pay-per-incident model.

SA Benefit Loss Will Result in 15-25% Unified Cost Increase

The removal of the Software Assurance (SA) benefit of 24×7 Problem Resolution (PR) Support will increase the cost of Microsoft Unified Support by 15% to 25% for all Microsoft support customers.

This SA benefit has been used in the past to soften the transition from Premier to Unified. As it stands, the SA benefit will not be available to those government, academic, and non-profit organizations who have yet to transition to Unified.

Multi-Year Unified Contracts Being Impacted

Enterprises reviewing multi-year Microsoft Unified Support contracts are being impacted with unexpected additional Unified cost since their support contract extends beyond February 2023 and no longer receives the SAB discount.

As such, significant IT budget dollars are at stake and Vendor and Procurement teams should explore all Microsoft alternatives to avoid higher-cost long term lock-in. 

Gartner Identifies US Cloud as Proven Alternative to Microsoft

Gartner has identified US Cloud as the only independent and proven alternative to Microsoft. US Cloud fully replaces MS Unified resulting in significant savings to enterprises around the world. 

In most cases, US Cloud Microsoft Support clients are experiencing faster response and resolution times than their previous year’s Unified response times and time to resolution.

Microsoft Software Assurance Benefits – 2020 thru 2022 Changes

MICROSOFT SOFTWARE ASSURANCE (SA) BENEFITS

Microsoft Software Assurance (SA) BenefitsRedmond, Washington / USA – September 13, 2019: Microsoft announced changes to their Software Assurance (SA) benefits program that will impact all business and enterprise SA customers over the next three years.

Organizations using Microsoft Software Assurance to offset Microsoft software and support costs, will need to know the upcoming change dates and how they may impact their ability to accrue, redeem, and consume the benefits going forward.

What is Microsoft Software Assurance?

Software Assurance is a comprehensive Volume Licensing program that includes an extensive set of technologies, services, rights, and benefits to help you and your organization get the most out of your investments in IT. Software Assurance spans a broad range of Microsoft software and services, including Windows, Microsoft Office, Azure, System Center, SQL Server, and many others. With Software Assurance, you get the tools and training you need to do more with the IT investments you plan to make as well as those you have already made. Software Assurance is available exclusively through Microsoft Volume Licensing—the most cost-effective, flexible, and manageable way to acquire Microsoft software and cloud

Software Assurance Benefits Chart – Commercial and Government

Use this chart to compare Software Assurance benefits across Microsoft Commercial Licensing programs.

Microsoft Software Assurance Benefits Chart

WHAT SOFTWARE ASSURANCE BENEFITS ARE CHANGING?

The comprehensive set of Software Assurance benefits combine to offer a powerful advantage as you plan, deploy, and use Microsoft software and services. Here’s what’s changing now thru 2022.

Deployment Planning Services

Deployment Planning Services will be retired in favor a single approach to supporting cloud deployments through Microsoft’s FastTrack program.

Training Vouchers

Training Vouchers will be retired and replaced with a free online digital learning platform – Microsoft Learn.

Problem Resolution Support (PRS)

24×7 Problem Resolution Support will be updated to provide as-needed support for qualifying customers and credit for customers investing in the Unified Support model.

WHAT ARE THE SA BENEFIT CHANGE DATES?

Microsoft’s current plan is to roll these changes out over the next two years. Here are the important dates:

Microsoft Software Assurance (SA) Benefits - Changes Timeline

February 1, 2020

  • Microsoft will retire all cloud services from the Deployment Planning Services catalog and direct customers to the new FastTrack model.
  • Microsoft will retire Azure training options from the Software Assurance Training Voucher Catalog.
  • Customers will no longer be able to convert Training Vouchers into planning services days.

February 1, 2021

  • Customers will no longer accrue additional Deployment Planning Services for any new purchase.
  • This is the last day for new and renewing customers to create Planning Service Day vouchers.
  • Customers will no longer accrue additional Training Vouchers with any new purchase.
  • This is the last day for new and renewing customers to create Training Vouchers.
  • Customers will no longer accrue additional Problem Resolution Support incidents with any new purchase.
  • Microsoft will begin providing as-needed support (24×7 phone and web support) for qualifying customers.

June 30, 2021

  • This is the last day for existing customers to create Planning Services and Training vouchers on active contracts with remaining benefits.

January 1, 2022

  • This is the last day for existing customers to redeem Deployment Planning Services vouchers.
  • This is the last day for existing customers to redeem Training Vouchers.

PREMIER (UNIFIED) SUPPORT IMPACT FROM SA CHANGES

Microsoft is adjusting Software Assurance support eligibility criteria (most likely towards larger enterprises with larger Enterprise Agreement spends) and replacing incident-based support with as-needed support and a credit towards Unified Support.

Problem Resolution Support (PRS)

A basic level of problem resolution support (yet to be defined in detail) with $250k Software Assurance spend will be included.

Unified Support Credit

An offering credit (may vary based on your EA spend) to upgrade to Unified Support for comprehensive 24×7 as-needed break-fix support with a response time of 1-hour or less for critical issues. Unified gives you a mix of personalized and on-demand services, including asssitance from a designated Technical Account Manager.

Software Assurance Support Benefits

Keep in mind that as your Microsoft Cloud services consumption increases so to do your Enterprise Agreement (EA) and Premier (Unified) Support costs. Per Gartner, it’s important to factor in your total anticipated Enterprise Agreement cost increases over the next 5 years against your Unified Support costs and any offsetting Software Assurance benefits. Read more »

Microsoft Premier and Unified Support Alternative - US Cloud

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