Microsoft Software Assurance

Microsoft Software Assurance

Our expert analyst team will conduct a comprehensive review of the organization’s usage and need for Software Assurance to determine if keeping, dropping or migrating is the best option for business outcomes

Software Assurance is not support.  Support for software that has been legitimately licensed is a licensing right. You are entitled to support by virtue of purchasing the license. There is a connection between Software Assurance and support and it comes from the amount of Software Assurance spend.

  • Server Pool
    For each $20,000 in Software Assurance spent for the Server pool which includes Windows Server, SQL Server, CALs, etc., a single support incident is granted (yes, just one).
  • Application Pool
    For the Application pool – which is Office or Vision or Project, etc.,  and the System pool (which includes the Windows client) – there is a single support instance granted for each $200,000 in Software Assurance coverage.

Depending on the type of volume license agreement in effect, holders of active Software Assurance can also benefit from round-the-clock phone support for critical business issues.

Unified Support

For mission critical applications, Microsoft offers various tiers of Unified Support. Miro’s blog on Unified Support presents some of the more critical thinking points about Unified Support. And while Software Assurance is not required for Unified Support, some organizations feel that the standard level of support offered by Microsoft and even the mission-critical application benefit of Software Assurance is not sufficient.

But beware! A Unified Support contract can be quite expensive – more than its predecessor, Premium Support. And this is an additional cost.

Discontinuing Microsoft Software Assurance

Cloud-based Solutions

Microsoft is significantly advancing its cloud services by transitioning their existing customer base to new offerings including Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise (renamed from Office 365), Exchange Online, and the various Azure packages. It also involves upselling existing cloud customers on a broader range of services. The most notable of these is Microsoft 365, a suite of Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise, Windows (client), and Enterprise Mobility + Security (“EMS”).

There are products that differ from the standard licenses where active Software Assurance is involved. For example, Microsoft 365 from SA Per User subscription can be 15% less costly than the original Microsoft 365 Per User subscription.

Couple this idea to the previous discussion on Unified Support and it’s clear that the two go hand-in-hand as there is no explicit Software Assurance spend for cloud solutions.

Small & Medium Sized Business

Yet another strategy has emerged as Microsoft seeks to ramp up its smaller customers. Small businesses needed the computing power and the applications Microsoft offered, but the small businesses lacked the technical resources to do manage the installations on their own. These organizations have now opted for Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise and other cloud services as a worry-free alternative.

Cloud Solution Provider (CSP)

One strategy is the Cloud Solution Provider or “CSP” program. Microsoft has extended the CSP program to its existing partners as a way to grow, citing the partner’s relationship with the customer, longer-term agreements, predictable costs, and increased revenue. Essentially, these partners become indirect resellers of Microsoft’s cloud services. Initially, at least, the terms of the CSP program are very favorable to the partner, with terms like a single seat to start, the ability to add or subtract seats on a monthly basis, and incentives in addition to the partner’s margin.

Software Assurance Conclusion

Microsoft wants to drive continual revenue through subscriptions. The ability for a customer to reduce their spend on Microsoft by discontinuing Software Assurance can no longer be considered a valid option. Maintenance of Microsoft-hosted solutions is controlled by Microsoft. This can help reduce the costs associated with technical support by limiting the number of supported product versions in the field.

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