Microsoft has determined that Unified Support, which we blogged about before, is the way to go for problem resolution support. And they believe in it so much that they are retiring the free 24X7 benefit of Software Assurance.
But what about Microsoft cannibalizing their own Software Assurance? And what are the mechanics of this announcement, including dates?
This blog will attempt to answer both questions, beginning with the latter.
What are the mechanics of this announcement, including dates?
- New – Software Assurance 24×7 Problem Resolution Support incidents won’t be allocated starting February 1, 2023.
- Current – Software Assurance 24×7 Problem Resolution Support incidents can be used or transferred to a Microsoft Support contract before February 1, 2023. Unused incidents will not be available starting February 1, 2023.
- Microsoft Professional Support is available as pay-per-incident or a pack of five incidents.
The same announcement states that Microsoft will reach out to you “… starting in August 2022…” So be ready.
What about Microsoft cannibalizing their own Software Assurance?
This is a little trickier to answer.
At first glance, it would seem that Microsoft is cannibalizing its own Software Assurance. For those on-premise customers who rely on Microsoft support would simply not renew Software Assurance.
But what about the other benefits that Software Assurance brings? For example:
- Step-Up Licensing
- License Mobility
- Disaster Recovery Rights
These could be important ingredients to your Microsoft plan.
However, that’s not all. And you would do well to incorporate this additional fee – which could be quite significant – into the budget or to allow for one-off calls to Microsoft support or purchase a pack of five incidents. This is because Microsoft states that “… Unified Support has become the predominant way customers are covering their Microsoft portfolios.”
So while there is no decrease in Software Assurance, there is less coverage, in terms of 24X7 problem resolution support. And there might be an increase in terms of how you want to support your Microsoft environment.
So, in a way, Microsoft can be said to be cannibalizing its Software Assurance, but they would be more than making up for it through Unified Support.
But there is also a key phrase in the Microsoft announcement: “… increasing cloud adoption…”
Now, if your organization has adopted a cloud strategy and utilizes a Unified Support agreement, then you probably already know this: Software Assurance doesn’t cover cloud deployments.
This is viewed as another push by Microsoft to increase cloud adoption.
If you wish to understand more about this, simply contact your Trusted Advisor, Miro.
 Free as in leveraged. Currently, a single support incident for either $20,000 in Software Assurance spend on servers or $200,000 in Software Assurance spend on systems (i.e., Windows desktop) or applications (i.e., Office).
 If they can. Software Assurance is inherent in the Enterprise Agreement.