One organisation that has had success with Microsoft's Software Assurance is Newham Borough Council.
Last year the council signed a 10-year strategic partnership with Microsoft to provide its IT infrastructure based on Microsoft server products.
The agreement involves a Microsoft Enterprise licensing agreement and Software Assurance, allowing the council to upgrade its IT systems with Microsoft software.
Richard Steel, head of IT at Newham Borough Council, is pleased with the deal. He said, "Microsoft now seems to be an organisation that is prepared to listen to us, is aware of its imperfections, and is striving to improve. For that, if for nothing else, it deserves credit."
Generally, in terms of dealing with Microsoft and other suppliers, Steel said he wanted flexible terms recognising future uncertainties, volatility and speed of change and development.
Under the terms of the agreement, Newham Council is modernising its IT infrastructure, which will be based on Microsoft Exchange 2003 and Windows 2003.
The agreement has also allowed the council to work more closely with Microsoft on several projects including a "children at risk" database and a customer relationship management system.