With so much interest in the Cloud we continue to receive questions about how one can best leverage the benefits of the Software Assurance (SA) program as it relates to Office 365. So we wanted to share with you the essentials for maximizing the value of SA as it pertains to helping you move to Office 365 and explain what happens to your SA benefits after you move to Office 365. In a future post, we’ll share other aspects of SA which are important to evaluate to derive even greater value through this program from your technology investments.

There are several SA benefits you can use to help you assess Office 365 and plan for your migration. This new factsheet, Move to Office 365 with Software Assurance, provides a quick reference on benefits that can help you evaluate, plan, and prepare for Office 365.

Let’s take a closer look at a few key benefits.

Planning Services now enhanced for Office 365

Planning Services have been around for some time, helping customers plan deployment for Office, Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint.  This benefit provides structured, on-site consulting engagements by Microsoft Consulting teams or a qualified partner with expertise to help you plan your software implementation.

Guidance on each of these Planning Services to help you learn more about your deployment options and plan your migration to Office 365 is now available.

These Planning Services engagements include options to:

  • Understand the value and new functionality of Office 365
  • Understand the architectural and operational aspects of Office 365
  • Experience and test aspects of Office 365
  • Define a plan for migrating to Office 365

When you’re are ready to move to Office 365, Planning Services can help you prepare your desktops, including identifying and proposing steps to remediate potential migration issues. Common scenarios, which we’ve learned can be useful, include:

  • Addressing questions around existing Office applications, files, and add-ins with an Office Compatibility Workshop, as well as
  • Testing a deployment plan using a working proof-of-concept environment for Office 2010, Windows 7, SharePoint Online, or Exchange Online.

Training benefits can help prepare your IT staff and users

Proof of concept vetted, with deployment plan in hand, training up your staff is integral to a successful roll out.  For that, SA provides in-classroom training for IT staff (through Training Vouchers) and online E-Learning for end-users to prep them for Office 365.  For access to the complete course catalog click through to: Microsoft Learning Software Assurance Training.

Worth noting:

  • New! IT Training has recently added a 3-day, instructor-led course Microsoft Jump Start: Office 365 for IT Professionals (Course 50557).
  • As users move to Office 365, they continue to have access to E-Learning courses to help maintain and improve productivity with new software versions.

Software Assurance and Office 365

Once you move to Office 365, you’ll find that the software support you need is included as part of the Office 365 service offering.  As you plan your migration to Office 365, remember to take advantage of your Software Assurance Planning Services days to help you assess your IT environment for your migration.  In addition, as you consider moving other workloads to the cloud the Software Assurance program will continue to evolve to support your software needs on-premises, in the cloud or in hybrid environment, with on-premises licenses continuing to earn SA benefits.

To learn more, visit the Software Assurance web site.

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