Microsoft is weaving Software Assurance (SA) into its Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA), effective Sept. 1. This is one of several changes rolled out for MPSA that shed light on Microsoft’s direction for the program and make MPSA more attractive.
The addition of SA comes on the heels of Microsoft’s announcement that it’s retiring its Select Plus program, making MSPA a viable alternative for Select Plus now that it includes SA.
To put it simply, MPSA makes it easier for businesses of all sizes to understand the terms and conditions of their agreement, purchase new products, and receive Microsoft support. The addition of SA now allows for upgrades and support under these licenses as well.
Here’s what current and future customers need to know about the addition of SA to MPSA:
1. SA remains valuable in extending license rights. Existing Microsoft customers will be familiar with SA, as it’s been an optional part of the Select Plus program and a key element of the Enterprise program for the past few years. New customers will need to consider opting for SA as part of their purchase, as Microsoft ties more license rights to the purchase of SA, including SQL active/passive failover rights, license mobility across server farms, and roaming use rights.
2. The move has long-term and short-term impacts for organizations. In the short term, the availability of SA makes MPSA a viable option for a broad range of Microsoft customers, and customers with SA gain all of the benefits of MPSA. For the long term, customers now have a roadmap for continuing their relationship with Microsoft and its products beyond the retirement of Select Plus.
3. New customers receive a number of SA benefits under MPSA. New version rights allow customers to upgrade to the latest technology that was available while the SA was active. Spread payments allow customers to make large SA payments over multiple years instead of making one large payment. E-learning and training vouchers for online classes are available. The Home Use Program allows employees to procure the current version of Microsoft Office to use on their home computers via a low-cost download. SA also includes 24/7 phone and web support as well as planning services that guide on-premises or cloud deployments.
In addition to the inclusion of SA, MPSA saw several other changes in this update. MPSA has simplified the calculations for some SA benefits and improved the SA benefits section of its Volume Licensing Center (VLC) to make it more intuitive and easier to understand than the previous tool. In addition, back-end improvements aimed at supporting an expanding customer base will benefit partners moving forward.
MPSA availability will continue to expand in 2014, and it will be available worldwide by the end of 2015. While MPSA is currently offered only to commercial customers, it will be available to government and academic customers in the spring of next year.
For additional details about MPSA, review our MSPA Comparison Chart. To further evaluate MPSA and what the latest changes mean for you, reach out to your SHI Account Executive.
Jessica Mohamad contributed to this post.