Part of the Microsoft Licensing Logic series from the Microsoft Licensing team.
Software Assurance benefits are often misunderstood and underutilised by Microsoft customers and partners. If we were playing Family Fortunes and 100 people were asked to name a Software Assurance benefit, the top answer on our survey board would be new version rights. However Software Assurance (SA) provides up to 24 benefits that can be used throughout the software lifecycle to help customers plan, deploy, manage and use their Microsoft products more effectively.
A customer’s SA benefits are determined by their Volume Licensing agreement (Enterprise Agreement, Microsoft Products and Services Agreement, Open Value, etc.), the product licences purchased and the number of those licences. SA is included in some Volume Licence programs and is an optional purchase with others.
This interactive PDF chart details which benefits are available by Volume Licensing program.
What use is New Version Rights for Online Services?
One of the advantages of Office 365 is that it is evergreen, aka version-less; it’s always up to date. So why would customer pay for new version rights? And what use is the Home Use Program seeing as each Office ProPlus per-user licence offers five installations of the Office applications, which can include personal machines at home? Why would a customer require backup servers for disaster recovery when online services have an uptime SLA (Service Level Agreement)?
So as you can imagine, some SA benefits are simply not required with online services as they are implicitly built-in.
Make the Move to Office 365 with SA Benefits
The SA benefits that are applicable to Office 365 can be very valuable in helping customers assess and plan for migration.
Planning Services have been around for some time, helping customers plan deployment for Office, Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint. This benefit provides structured, on-site consulting engagements by Microsoft Consulting or a qualified partner with expertise to help you plan your software implementation.
These Planning Services engagements include options to help customers plan a successful deployment of Office 365; evaluate Office 365 through the Office 365 FastTrack Planning Services engagements; address considerations and requirements for adopting a cloud-ready environment; pilot Exchange Online Protection (EOP) and Data Loss Prevention (DLP); run an Enterprise Social Yammer Proof of Concept.
Once the proof of concept and pilot is underway and with your deployment plan ready, training your staff is crucial to a successful roll out and providing learning materials to your end-users increases the adoption rate and satisfaction. SA provides in-classroom training for IT staff through Training Vouchers and online E-Learning for end-users. Although there are specific Office 365 courses available which can be funded by using SA training vouchers (SATV), Office 365 licence subscriptions may not accrue SATVs by itself. Customers may need to accrue SATVs through other licence purchases but SATVs can be used against any eligible course (under Program Type, select SA Training Vouchers).
Once you move to Office 365, you’ll find that the software support you need is included as part of the Office 365 service offering. As you consider moving other workloads to the cloud the SA benefits will continue to support your needs on-premises, in the cloud or in hybrid environments.
Check Your Benefits
Depending on which agreement the customer has, they use one of two tools to manage the available Software Assurance benefits: the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) or if the customer has a Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA), the Microsoft Volume Licensing Center (MVLC) is your destination for easy management of SA benefits.
If you're an IT Pro responsible for the deployment and management of Office 365 applications and have an interest in how you can be more successful in what you do now but also what's round the corner then Microsoft Recoder could be a great event for you. Recoder looks to bring existing approaches and best practices in technical workshops and exciting keynotes.