Most large organizations have Software Assurance (SA) as part of their licensing agreement and there are many benefits that are included that go unused every agreement period. We have found that many of the people who would use the benefits don’t know that their organization has them. Those who do know about Software Assurance associate the program with getting the next version of software at no additional cost, however there are other benefits that can save you money from your budget on training, support and services. If you know your organization has an Enterprise Agreement, then you also have Software Assurance. If you are not sure what kind of licensing agreement you have, check with the person who works on Microsoft licenses to see you if you have Software Assurance. Some of the most popular benefits are technical training days, home use licenses, online training for users, and 24x7 support. In this post, I will highlight some of the benefits, talk about eligibility, and let you know who to contact to find more information or to start using the benefits.

What is Software Assurance?

Regardless of where you are in your software lifecycle, Software Assurance provides benefits to help you upgrade to new software, get more productivity out of existing software, and support your current environment. When you are ready to upgrade to a new version of software, SA provides new version rights at no additional cost, deployment planning services and end-user readiness benefits such as online training and home use licenses. To keep your IT department up to date and to help your end-users be more productive on existing software, SA provides classroom, technical training and online training for end-users. And to help you maintain your environment, SA also includes a 24x7 support benefit.

Software Assurance Benefits:

There are over a dozen SA benefits and the amount of benefits your organization has depends on the licensing agreement. The list below highlights the most popular benefits associated with Office.

  • New software versions when they are released within the time of your agreement.
  • Planning services where you get onsite consulting services to create a deployment plan when you are getting ready to deploy new software. This service is available for desktop products (Office & Windows), SharePoint, Exchange and OCS. You can also use Business Planning services to help you get more efficiency out of your software solution.
  • Training vouchers for technical, classroom training to help you keep your IT staff up to date.
  • E-Learning is online training to get your users trained on new software to prepare for a new software implementation, or to help them be more productive on current software.
  • Home Use Program (HUP) provides a license of Office, at a minimal cost, to employees for their home computers allowing them to become more proficient with the software they use at work, when they are using it at home. Microsoft takes the support calls for the home use licenses so it can also help reduce the support calls going to your IT staff.
  • 24x7 phone and web support to help you keep your IT infrastructure up and running.
  • TechNet for Software Assurance subscription to provide a community of information for all of your IT issues and questions.
  • Microsoft Office Multi Language Pack, which enables you to deploy a single image of Office with support for 37 languages.

Click here for a complete list of SA benefits.

Software Assurance and your Volume Licensing agreement:

Software Assurance is part of a volume licensing agreement. Volume licensing of software makes it easier and more affordable to run software on multiple computers within an organization. There are many types of licensing agreements and with some of them you can also purchase Software Assurance.

Learn more about licensing with the Microsoft Volume Licensing Guide

The amount of SA benefits your organization has depends on the type of licensing agreement. To give you an idea of the benefits you might have, the table below shows eligibility by Volume Licensing agreement for Office:

 

Open License

Select License / Select Plus

Open Value

Open Value Company-wide / Subscription

Select License SAM*/Select Plus SAM, Enterprise Agreement/Subscription

Planning Services

 

 

X

X

X

Home Use Program

 

 

X

X

X

Training Vouchers

X

X

X

X

X

TechNet Benefit

 

X

X

X

X

24x7 Problem Resolution

X

X

X

X

X

* SAM = Software Assurance Membership, which is a organization-wide commitment to license software

Click here for more even more detail on benefits eligibility by license type.

What now?

In order to find out what benefits your organization has and to start using them, you will need to contact your SA benefits manager. Your organization’s SA benefits manager is likely in the IT department and will have access to the online Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) where the exact benefits your organization has can be looked up. If you know who manages your Microsoft licenses, then that person can likely look up your SA benefits manager. The benefits manager activates the benefits in order to make them available for you to use.

Hopefully this gives you an introduction to Software Assurance benefits and the resources you need to learn more about what they are and how to use them.