Upcoming changes to Microsoft Software Assurance Benefits

Microsoft Software Assurance is an insurance policy safeguarding customer’s investment in Microsoft Volume Licensing. The program contains 28 different features which Microsoft refers to as ‘benefits’. Now Microsoft has announced some serious changes which undermines the ‘benefit’ part of Software Assurance. The highlights.

Training Vouchers
With some contracts, like the Enterprise Agreement or Open Value Subscription Agreement customer receive training vouchers. With a to a employee assigned training voucher this employee of your organization can get a full day of certification training at an authorized training organization and pay with this voucher.
In February 2020 Microsoft will retire the entire Training Voucher part of Software Assurance. Vouchers which are assigned before the retirement date will stay valid until January 2022.
With the retirement of the program Microsoft will also remove Azure training from the catalogue.

Planning Services
Deployment Planning Services vouchers gives organizations entitlements to various deployment planning services from certified Microsoft partners (such as Quexcel). Starting February 2020 Microsoft will retire some of the Deployment Planning Service. Services affected are all Cloud focused Planning Services, for which Microsoft offers customers the Fasttrack program. Deployment Planning Services for IT Infrastructure deployments like SQL Server remain intact (for now).

24×7 Problem Resolution Support
With 24×7 Problem Resolution Support eligible customers receive direct support from Microsoft, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Starting February 2021 the criteria for support will change. Only customers spending a minimum of USD 250,000 Software Assurance spending’s annually will get as needed support. This means that only large enterprises will keep the benefit and small and midsized organizations will have to turn to their Microsoft partner for (payed) support.

Eroding the benefits
Now Microsoft is eroding Software Assurance benefits, what can we conclude? Is the Volume Licensing program close to retirement too? Or is Microsoft pushing customers to the cloud, where in the Cloud Solution Provider Program it is the partner who delivers training, planning services and support to customers? It is just your two cents worth, but might you need training, deployment planning services or support on your entire Microsoft technology estate, please do contact us to discuss a tailor made solution for your organization.

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