Why Microsoft Software Assurance Benefits Matter

Microsoft announced that they would be making more changes to their Software Assurance Benefits (SA Benefits) Program in September of 2019. This is not the first time (nor will it be the last time) that Microsoft has made changes to their program. In 2018 for example, they made a change to the Home Use Rights that were part of their SA Benefits.

Although the announcement was made already, the changes do not start to take effect until February 1st, 2020 with some of them having little to no impact on certain customers until January 1st, 2022.

Changes were made to 3 of the SA Benefits:

  • Deployment Planning Services
  • Training Vouchers
  • 24×7 Problem Resolution Support

In this blog we are going to look at the recent changes Microsoft has announced to the SA Benefits Program. Specifically we will look at the changes to Deployment Planning Services, Training Vouchers and 24 x 7 Problem Resolution Support.

How Do You get SA Benefits?

Customers who purchase Software Assurance through Microsoft’s Volume Licensing Programs receive various benefits based on what products they purchase Software Assurance (SA) on. The quantity of each benefit you earn is outlined in the Microsoft Product Terms.

Deployment Planning Services Microsoft will be retiring Deployment Planning Services (DPS) over the next 2 years and moving customers to their FastTrack Program. Microsoft is making this change to align themselves more closely with their goal of driving adoption of their cloud products (Microsoft 365, Azure and Dynamics 365). Many customers in the past took advantage of DPS, as it allowed them access to Microsoft Consulting or Partner Services to assist with deploying Microsoft technologies.

Key Dates For Changes To The DPS

  • February 1, 2020 – all Cloud Services will be removed from the DPS catalog. If you want Cloud Services after this date, you will have to access them through the FastTrack program.
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    Note: Some customers elected to transfer their training vouchers in a 3:1 ratio to DPS credits. You will only have until this date to this after which you will no longer be able to trade in training vouchers. If you want to do this, it can be done via the Volume License Service Center Portal.

  • February 1, 2021 for customers who no longer receive additional DPS days for incremental purchases or true ups, it will also be the last day that new/renewing contracts can create DPS vouchers.
  • June 30, 2021 – is the last day to create a DPS voucher for you to use. The good news here is that you do have 180 days to use a voucher from the date from the date you create it (meaning the last redemption date is January 1, 2022).

Training Vouchers

Microsoft is evolving its training platform, both online and instructor led. Microsoft launched its online training portal Microsoft Learn, which is focused on instructor led training through certification and role-based curriculum.

Key Dates For Changes To The Training Vouchers Will Occur As Follows

  • February 1, 2020 – All Azure courses will be removed as well as the ability to transfer to DPS as mentioned above.
  • February 1, 2021 – Customers will no longer receive new training vouchers for incremental purchases or true ups. It will also be the last day that new/renewing contracts can create training vouchers.
  • June 30, 2021 – as with DPS this is the last day to create a training voucher with 180 days to redeem it.

24×7 Problem Resolution Support

This change may be the one where customers feel the most impact, as our clients tell us it is the most useful of all the Microsoft Software Assurance Benefits. So, what’s changing with Problem Resolutions Support (PRS)?

  • Customers will no longer receive a limited number of support incidents (how many you received was based on your spend, program, and the products that you purchased). Now, as long as your Software Assurance Spend is annually greater $250,000, you will receive a new basic support offering.
  • Customers who spend less than $250,000 per year and who do not have a support contract with Microsoft will be directed to partner support or can purchase Support Incidents from Microsoft for a cost.

What Is Basic Support?

Microsoft has defined this as support during business hours with a 24-hour response time goal (Note that it is not a response time, but a goal, so it may be faster or slower).

Premier and Unified Support

Our clients received the most benefit from PRS when they converted their support instances to Premier Support. This conversion allowed them to reduce the costs of their Premier or Unified Support contracts, sometimes by hundreds of thousands of dollars. Microsoft has stated that after February 1, 2021, PRS credits will stop, but customers who have purchased Unified Support will receive credits at that time. They have not provided any details beyond this.

 

Key Dates For Changes To the Problem Resolution Support

  • February 1, 2021 – Convert the last of your PRS vouchers to Premier or Unified Support credit.
  • February 1, 2021 – Customers will no longer receive new PRS Credit.
  • February 1, 2021 – New support model launch (Basic Support and Credits for Unified Support)

Are you looking at an EA Renewal? Worried that these changes to SA Benefits will impact you? We know this can be stressful but it doesn’t have to be, that’s why we offer a Microsoft EA Renewal Negotiation Service. Head over to our services page to get the help you need.

If you have questions or concerns about how these changes will affect your organization, please feel free to reach out to us by clicking this box. We’re always happy to take five minutes to help you.

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