Microsoft Software Assurance Benefits…Got some? You might (and not even know it)

Do you have Microsoft Software Assurance Benefits (SABs)?

Microsoft contractual agreements (e.g. Enterprise & Select Agreements) offer significant benefits outside the “normal” License and Maintenance associated with software. These Software Assurance Benefits are rewards for committing to Microsoft technology and solutions. Most customers view this as an incentive program for technology – much like a credit card rewards program.

The nature of the benefits earned are determined by the program and products selected; new software version rights, 24×7 phone and web support, training and planning services give you access to services and technologies that will help your organization stay current, proactive and productive.

Typically, customers conceptualize the value of these benefits easily, yet still run into challenges utilizing them. A discussion with a Softchoice Software Assurance Benefits Specialist helps you address those challenges. What follows is how we start the conversation.

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Rest Assured Part 1: Software Assurance 24 X 7

Welcome to the first installment of an on-going series addressing the mysteries, challenges and business value of Microsoft software assurance benefits. We are calling it: “Rest Assured” as we hope it will give our readers peace of mind when it comes to the complex world of SA benefits.

Today we are taking a close look at one of the most powerful SA benefits: 24 X 7 Problem Resolution Support.

What is this benefit? How do you use it to its full potential? What are best practices of using it? How can your organization utilize this benefit to achieve and exceed its corporate IT business objectives?

Getting Started

The first step is benefit activation in the VLSC. You should go into the VLSC and activate this benefit upon starting a new agreement or renewal. Immediate activation is critical because it may prevent a costly delay in support. There can be up to a 48-hour delay from activation to usage. You should also identify your technical contacts who will be using the benefit in the manage contacts section of the benefit detail page.

image of 24 x 7 support page

A screen grab of the 24 X 7 support page - click to enlarge and see notes

Upon activating, a SA Access ID code will appear on the Benefit Details page for 24 X 7 Problem Resolution Support. This ID is critical to getting support under this benefit. Make sure to write your SA Access ID code down on paper – as Murphy’s Law would dictate, you may not be able to access the VLSC if your system crashes, so having the code written down on paper can be a real life saver.

Now that the benefit is activated, let’s explore what exactly it offers you?

Phone Support

When the benefit is activated, the number of Phone Support incidents available to your organization will appear in the SA section of the VLSC, on the Benefit Details page. Any future allotments (which are sometimes granted on anniversary dates) will also appear on this page.

Phone Support is available 24 hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week, for ANY Microsoft product (regardless of whether or not it is on the agreement in question). Upon placing a call, you must provide the aforementioned SA Access ID to receive service. The number of contacts that can call for phone support on behalf of your organization is unlimited. The support number is 1-800-936-4900.

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