Microsoft announces changes to Software Assurance benefits offerings
What are these changes and what do they mean for your organization?

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Microsoft announced today changes to their Software Assurance (SA) benefits offerings that will be gradually rolled out starting in February 2020 and fully implemented by January 2022. If your organization has or plans to invest in SA, you will need to understand how these changes will impact your ability to accrue, redeem, and consume these benefits moving forward.

Let’s review.

What is changing?

Today’s SA benefits model doesn’t accurately reflect the evolution and associated benefits of cloud-based offerings. In addition, some of the SA benefits available today are available through a separate program.

Microsoft’s updates will modernize these offers to more closely align with the support needs of organizations evolving their cloud deployment strategy.

Specifically, three SA benefits will be impacted:

  1. Deployment Planning Services will be retired in favor a single approach to supporting cloud deployments through Microsoft’s FastTrack program.
  2. Training Vouchers will be retired and replaced with a free online digital learning platform – Microsoft Learn.
  3. 24×7 Problem Resolution Support will be updated to provide as-needed support for qualifying customers and credit for customers investing in the Unified Support model.

When will the changes take effect?

Microsoft’s current plan is to roll these changes out over the next two years. Here are the important dates to be aware of:

Feb. 1, 2020:

  • Microsoft will retire all cloud services from the Deployment Planning Services catalog and direct customers to the new FastTrack model.
  • Microsoft will retire Azure training options from the Software Assurance Training Voucher Catalog.
  • Customers will no longer be able to convert Training Vouchers into planning services days.

Feb. 1, 2021:

  • Customers will no longer accrue additional Deployment Planning Services for any new purchase.
  • This is the last day for new and renewing customers to create Planning Service Day vouchers.
  • Customers will no longer accrue additional Training Vouchers with any new purchase.
  • This is the last day for new and renewing customers to create Training Vouchers.
  • Customers will no longer accrue additional Problem Resolution Support incidents with any new purchase.
  • Microsoft will begin providing as-needed support (24×7 phone and web support) for qualifying customers.

June 30, 2021:

  • This is the last day for existing customers to create Planning Services and Training vouchers on active contracts with remaining benefits.

Jan. 1, 2022:

  • This is the last day for existing customers to redeem Deployment Planning Services vouchers.
  • This is the last day for existing customers to redeem Training Vouchers.

Start preparing today

Amid these updates, Microsoft will continue to offer a wide variety of program and product-specific benefits through the SA model that will help organizations run their IT environment efficiently and effectively.

Though the changes will be rolled out gradually, the first deadline will be here before you know it. Be sure to take advantage of your existing SA benefits before it is too late!

SHI can help you redeem them by providing training and other planning services. Reach out to your SHI account executive for additional information.