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Microsoft Is Reducing Software Assurance Benefits Again

Microsoft is retiring some of the key and most valuable benefits of its Software Assurance Benefit (SAB) program. These soon-to-be-retired benefits will include Deployment Planning Services, Training Vouchers, and 24x7 Problem Resolution Support.

These often-used benefits have measurable value when considering the extra cost of adding Software Assurance (SA) to a license; particularly for Enterprise Agreements where it’s included in the program and positioned by Microsoft as value towards ROI.

Deployment Planning Services are vouchers valued at about US$1,000 and redeemed towards partner consulting and planning services for many products. These will be transitioned to the Fast Track Program. Training Vouchers also valued at US$300 could be redeemed for Instructor Lead or Online infrastructure Training Courses for IT Professionals. 24x7 Problem Resolution Support incidents are valuable to IT departments for resolving critical issues instead of using a credit card and paying for periodic support.

Source: ROI Calculator for SAB, Blueprint Published FY2017

Retirement Dates

Deployment Planning Services

  • February 1, 2020, cloud services offerings will be retired.
  • January 1, 2022, last day to redeem Planning Services vouchers for all offerings.

Training Vouchers

  • February 1, 2020, Azure training courses will be retired.
  • January 1, 2022, last day to redeem Training Vouchers for all courses.

24x7 Problem Resolution Support

  • February 1, 2021, incident-based support will be replaced with as-needed support and credit towards Unified Support.


  • Make sure you review your SAB entitlements with Microsoft or request a SAB Report from your licensing provider.
  • Learn how to create, assign and redeem Vouchers in the VLSC portal.
  • Make sure all SAB vouchers are created and redeemed prior to retirement dates.
  • Review your Technical Support history and future requirements, to plan for transition to the new Unified Support program.

Bottom Line

With these announced changes, Microsoft continues to erode the value of Software Assurance and the value contained within the enterprise licensing programs. This started with the cloud transitions to O365 where no SA is provided, as was traditional with Office Pro, and will likely continue into the future as Microsoft looks to reduce the value of on-premises deployments and migrate more users to the cloud. Take a hard look at the value of an EA when purchasing Online Services and the declining value-add services that were known as Software Assurance Benefits.

Want to Know More?

Complete details of the changes at Microsoft Software Assurance by Benefit

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