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 »

WHY CHOOSE US CLOUD PREMIER SUPPORT

Microsoft Premier (Unified) Support Alternative - US CloudAs of February 1, 2020 many businesses will no longer qualify for Microsoft Software Assurance benefits.  Since August 1, 2018 Microsoft Premier Support customers have seen a significant and steady decline in both the quality and time to resolution when Microsoft announced their transition from Microsoft Premier to the Unified model.  In essence, Microsoft’s support focus has shifted from serving businesses to large enterprises. Those looking for an alternative should contact US Cloud.  Request a quote »