Microsoft has unveiled the next generation of its Software Assurance licensing programme, bringing a range of features to simplify Windows software support.
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Microsoft has enhanced the services and training benefits attached to its flagship enterprise licensing regime and given users the ability to trade Software Assurance benefits in one area for additional benefits elsewhere. For example, users can exchange training vouchers for extra planning or deployment help from Microsoft Consulting Services or a Microsoft certified partner.
One of the major additions to Software Assurance is Microsoft Desktop Deployment Planning Services. This offers medium to large businesses up to 15 days' free consulting to help identify the most cost-effective way to improve their Windows and Office desktop environment.
Microsoft has teamed up with Forrester Research to offer users the analyst firm's Software Assurance ROI tool, to help them calculate their financial rate of return based on the Software Assurance benefits they use.
One early adopter of the new licensing regime is property management firm Colliers CRE. It is using Software Assurance for MS Office and client access licences for MS Exchange, Sharepoint Portal and Windows Server. Its existing Windows 2000 desktop operating system is not covered by Software Assurance.
Perry Willis, IT director at Colliers CRE, said the scheme has provided free technical training for his team and has given staff the ability to run the software it licences at home. With Windows 2000 moving into extended support in June, Perry said he was currently assessing whether to migrate to Windows Vista or XP.