The ITAM Review

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Microsoft remove more Software Assurance Benefits…

In a recent announcement, Microsoft have revealed changes to several Software Assurance benefits, with the first changes happening in February 2020 (just 5 months from now). While there doesn’t appear to be one place with all the information, I’ve done my best to bring it together for you here.

Microsoft Software Assurance benefits

Planning Services

The Deployment Planning Services (DPS) benefit will start to be retired in February 2020, with cloud services being removed from eligibility and replaced by the Microsoft FastTrack service. Other services will still be available but new DPS days will no longer be accrued from February 2021, while any remaining DPS days will be available until January 2022.

Training Vouchers

Another popular SA benefit being removed is technical training vouchers. These are used to send staff on the (usually) 3- or 5-day technical courses delivered by providers including QA and Global Knowledge, that cover topics such as “Administering SQL Server 2017” etc.
The first change will be Azure training courses being removed from the catalogue in February 2020. No new vouchers will be accrued from February 2021, while existing training vouchers can still be used until January 2022. The ability to convert vouchers into Planning Services days will be removed in February 2020 too.

24×7 Support

From February 2021, support incidents will no longer be convertible into Premier/Unified support agreements, but credits towards Unified Support will be received at renewal. Microsoft will also provide “as-needed” support to customers with $250,000 annual SA spend.

Conclusion

These latest changes come on top of the recent modifications to the Home Use Program and the earlier removal of the Software Assurance “e-learning” benefit, which was replaced by Microsoft Learn. We will have to wait and see exactly what replacement offerings become available, and how much more (or less) successful Fasttrack proves to be, but it’s clear that Microsoft have made a decision on the direction they feel customers should be heading and are using SA benefits as a way to help accelerate that shift.
I’d suggest taking stock of your SA benefits and creating a plan to ensure you don’t miss the chance to redeem vouchers already available to you.

For partners – what will this mean for you? How much of your business relies on delivering DPS days and/or technical training courses? I’ll be interested to see the feedback that Microsoft receive from their partners around these changes…

Further Reading

MS page – https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/licensing/licensing-programs/software-assurance-by-benefits?SilentAuth=1&wa=wsignin1.0&activetab=software-assurance-by-benefits-tab:primaryr2

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About Rich Gibbons

Rich has been in the world of IT and software licensing since 2003, having been a software sales manager for a VAR, a Microsoft licensing endorsed trainer, and now an ITAM analyst looking at software licensing and cloud.

A Northerner renowned for his shirts, Rich is a big Hip-Hop head, and loves travel, football in general (specifically MUFC), baseball, Marvel, and reading as many books as possible. Finding ways to combine all of these with ITAM & software licensing is always fun!

Connect with Rich on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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