VLSC Software Assurance Guide


Welcome to Software Assurance


Software Assurance for Volume Licensing offers a range of tools and resources to help your company deploy, manage, and maximize your Volume Licensing purchases. The program covers Microsoft technologies and services and includes new product version rights, technical and end-user training, deployment planning, and support.

This guide will show you how to administer your Software Assurance benefit activation, download, and implementation procedures.

Step 1: Get to know your benefits


Familiarize yourself with Software Assurance

Software Assurance offers support, deployment planning services, training, updated software releases, and unique technologies. This guide supplies fundamental information; you can learn more about each benefit on the Software Assurance website.

Check your benefits through the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC)

Your Software Assurance benefits are determined by your Volume Licensing agreement (such as an Enterprise Agreement or Open Value agreement) and the number of qualifying licenses that you have with Software Assurance. To determine your Software Assurance benefits, use the Volume Licensing Service Center. (VLSC). You must be registered to use this application (see Step 3: Claim your benefits through the VLSC for more details).

Does your organization have a Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA)? With the MPSA, your Software Assurance benefits are managed through the Microsoft Business Center. Sign in to the Microsoft Business Center for instructions on how to access and use your Software Assurance benefits through your MPSA.

Step 2: Establish Software Assurance Managers


Before you can use your Software Assurance benefits, your organization needs to identify and establish one or more individuals as Software Assurance Managers using the VLSC. If you already have Manager Permissions, skip ahead to Step 3: Claim Your Benefits through the VLSC.

If you do not have Manager Permissions, you can request these by first registering to use the VLSC and then requesting Software Assurance Manager Permissions. The VLSC routes such requests to your organization’s VLSC Administrator. You can review the training videos for complete instructions

Tips for choosing Software Assurance Managers

A consideration when choosing whether to have one or more individuals manage your organization’s Software Assurance Benefits is the size of your organization and the scope of benefits available to you. A large enterprise that will access multiple benefits across multiple organizations may find decentralized benefits management most effective. A midsize organization may find it more efficient to centralize benefits management with one individual or department. Here are some typical manager recommendations for Software Assurance:

IT Manager

  • New products and unique license rights (for example, New Product Versions, Step-up Licenses, Windows to Go Use Rights)
  • Deployment resources and tools (for example, Planning Services, Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, License Mobility) 
  • Training for IT staff and end users (for example, Training Vouchers, E-Learning)
  • Support (for example, 24x7 Problem Resolution Support, Extended Hotfix Support)

Staff Development/Training Managers/HR Manager/IT Manager

  • End-User Training (E-Learning)
  • Home Use Program

 

Register Software Assurance Managers

To begin, register and sign in to the VLSC. After you are registered and signed in, you will need appropriate permissions granted by your organization’s VLSC Administrator. The VLSC Administrator grants permission either by approving permission requests submitted by individuals or by proactively assigning permissions to individuals. Visit the VLSC Training and Resources page to review the “Managing Permissions” demo, or download the VLSC User Guide for detailed instructions.

How to register

Users must sign in to the VLSC with a Microsoft account and associate their Microsoft account with a valid business email address. If you do not have a Microsoft account, you can sign up for one. After you obtain your Microsoft account, go to the VLSC.

  1. Click Sign In, and then enter your Microsoft account and password.
  2. First-time users must associate their Microsoft account with a valid business email address. You will be asked to register by using a valid business email address, which must match the email address that was provided on your Volume Licensing agreement or Open License order.
  3. You will receive an email message asking you to validate your information.
  4. Your business email address may be different from your Microsoft account.
  5. Check your SPAM filters to ensure that you receive the validation email.
  6. Confirm your email address, create a password and select the password reset option, and then type the characters from the picture into the field to validate your information. It may take up to 24 hours for registration to be complete.

Step 3: Claim your benefits through the VLSC


Follow these steps for specific benefits. Whether you want to download the latest version of Windows software, get 24/7 Problem Resolution Support, or give employees access to Office training, you will need to claim your benefits through the VLSC.

After you are signed in, select the Software Assurance tab at the top of the home page. You will see a complete list of all the benefits that are available to you. An overview of the Software Assurance benefits can be found on the Software Assurance website. Note that you will follow different steps depending on the specific benefit.

New products and unique entitlements

New Version Rights

This benefit provides new software versions, when available, to help you stay up-to-date and take advantage of productivity gains from the latest technology.

  1. Sign in to the VLSC.
  2. Select Downloads and Keys.
  3. Select your chosen product link, and select Download to start the download process.
  4. Choose Download Method, Language and Operating System Type from the drop-down boxes.
  5. Select Continue.

 

Planning Services

Planning Services provide structured, on-site consulting engagements from qualified partners or Microsoft Services to help you plan your deployment, whether on-premises or in the cloud. These structured engagements help you plan your deployment of the latest Microsoft technology and are available for many products and services.

  1. Sign in to the VLSC.
  2. Select Software Assurance from the top menu.
  3. Select Planning Services. This will take you to the Manage Software Assurance Benefits page.
  4. Select the LicenseID for which you want to manage Planning Services. This will take you to the Benefit Summary page.
  5. Select Planning Services.
  6. Select the voucher type and service level (length of the engagement in days).
  7. Assign the Planning Services voucher to a project manager within your organization by entering their name and email address, and any special instructions.
  8. Select Confirm Voucher Assignment.
  9. After the voucher is created, select Assign Voucher. This takes you to a benefit details page confirming voucher information, including voucher status and expiration date.

The project manager will receive an email message that provides information about the benefit. The email message will also include a link to a list of Microsoft partners or Microsoft Services so that the project manager can schedule the Planning Services engagement.

When the consulting partner confirms the engagement, the Planning Services voucher will show as “Reserved” in the VLSC. When the engagement ends, the consulting partner works directly with Microsoft to redeem the Planning Services voucher and receive payment.

Tip: You can increase the number of engagement days for Planning Services by converting unused Training Vouchers on a 3-to-1 basis.

 

Converting unused Training Voucher Days into Planning Services Days

You can convert unused Training Voucher Days to extend your Planning Services engagement(s) with the following steps:
 

Activate Training Vouchers

  1. Sign in to VLSC.
  2. Select Software Assurance from the top menu.
  3. Select Training Vouchers. This will take you to the Manage Software Assurance Benefits page.
  4. Click on the LicenseID under which you choose to activate your SA Training Voucher benefit and view the “Benefits for Activation” pane.  This will take you to the Manage Software Assurance Benefits page.
  5. To activate the benefit, click on the SA Training Voucher benefit name and follow the instructions in the subsequent screens.

The VLSC will report the number of Training Voucher Days available and confirm your Training Voucher Days (Benefits status) as “Active.”

Convert Training Days to Planning Services Days

  1. On the Training Voucher Benefit Details page, select Convert Training Days.
  2. The VLSC will prompt you to choose the number of Training Days you want to convert and confirm the conversion action.
  3. After the Training Days are converted, you can use the VLSC to assign Planning Services Days to a project manager within your organization.
  4. Assign Planning Services Days as outlined above.

 

License Mobility through Software Assurance

License Mobility through Software Assurance gives you the ability to deploy certain server applications with active Software Assurance on-premises or in the cloud, without having to buy additional licenses. For information on using this benefit, visit License Mobility through Software Assurance.

 

Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP)

MDOP offers innovative technologies, including application virtualization, asset management, policy control, and device diagnostic and recovery tools.

  1. Sign in to the VLSC.
  2. Select Downloads and Keys.
  3. Select the Windows check box under the All Products list.
  4. Select your chosen MDOP product link, and select Download to start the download process.
  5. Choose Download Method, Language and Operating System Type from the drop-down boxes. Select Continue.

 

Office Multi-Language Pack *

The Office Multi-Language Pack enables your IT staff to deploy a single Office image with support for multiple languages.

  1. Sign in to the VLSC.
  2. Select Software Assurance from the top menu.
  3. Select Office Multi-Language Pack. This will take you to the Manage Software Assurance Benefits page.
  4. Select the LicenseID for which you want to manage Microsoft Office Multi-Language Pack. This will take you to the Benefit Summary page.
  5. Select Office Multi-Language Pack
  6. Do one of the following:
  • Choose the benefit contact from the list provided, select Add Selected Contact, complete the Benefit Fulfillment section, and select Activate Benefit.
  • Select Add New, complete the Benefit Contact Detail form, complete the Benefit Fulfillment section, and then select Activate Benefit.

* For Office 2016, the Office Multi-Language Pack is included as part of the product and does not require downloading from VLSC.

 

Training Vouchers

Training vouchers enable in-depth technical training for IT professionals and developers. You must be a Software Assurance Benefits Administrator to manage vouchers. Visit the Software Assurance website for more information about training benefits. You can also view a video on how to activate, create, assign, reserve, and redeem a voucher.

Activate Training Voucher

  1. Sign in to VLSC.
  2. Select Software Assurance from the top menu.
  3. Select Training Vouchers. This will take you to the Manage Software Assurance Benefits page.
  4. Click on the LicenseID under which you choose to activate your SA Training Voucher benefit and view the “Benefits for Activation” pane.  This will take you to the Manage Software Assurance Benefits page.
  5. To activate the benefit, click on the SA Training Voucher benefit name and follow the instructions in the subsequent screens.

Once you have created, assigned and sent the voucher details to the Training Partner, your responsibility as the customer have been completed. It will be the Training Partners responsibility to work directly with Microsoft to reserve and redeem the vouchers to receive payment.

 

To locate classroom training

  1. To view the current list of Software Assurance–eligible Training Voucher courses, go to the Software Assurance and Volume License Product Catalog   
  2. Under Program Type, select SA.
  3. Under Training Type, select Classroom.
  4. Use the Class Locator to find a Microsoft Learning Partner training site.

 

Converting unused Training Vouchers Days into Planning Services Days

You can easily convert unused Training Voucher Days to extend your Planning Services benefit engagement(s). See the Planning Services section in this guide for instructions.

 

Details you should know about Training Vouchers

Eligible licenses: The Microsoft Product Terms  details Software Assurance benefit eligibility and program rules. Customers can find the most accurate statement of their current Software Assurance benefits in the VLSC.

Cancellation: If an employee reserves a Training Voucher and then cannot attend the scheduled course, the employee must contact the Learning Partner to cancel. Note that the Learning Partner’s local cancellation policy applies and the Learning Partner may impose a cancellation charge. After cancellation, the training voucher will revert to “Assigned” status. A benefits manager cannot revoke a Training Voucher in “Reserved” status.

Revocation: If the Training Voucher is in “Assigned” status, the company benefits manager can revoke it so that the training days can be reassigned. The benefits manager can then assign it to someone else. 

Expiration: A Training Voucher is valid for 180 days after it is created and assigned. Training must be completed before the voucher expires. When the organization’s licensing agreement expires, any unassigned training days will expire. 

Benefit Days vs. Course Days: If the benefits manager creates a Training Voucher worth more days than the course length, the extra days automatically revert to the organization’s account after the voucher is paid to the Learning Partner. The benefits manager can also revoke the voucher if it has not been reserved by a Learning Partner, and then recreate it for the employee with the exact number of days needed for the desired course. If the training voucher does not cover all the course days, the employee must pay the difference to the Learning Partner.

Employee responsibility: The employee will receive an email confirmation that contains details about the Training Voucher (including length, voucher number, and expiration date). For more information, visit Software Assurance Training Vouchers.

 

E-Learning

Software Assurance Online Learning (E-Learning) offers hundreds of training hours for end users and IT professionals for some of the most popular Microsoft products. These products are grouped into three categories: Applications, Systems, and Server.

  1. Sign in to the VLSC.
  2. Select Software Assurance from the top menu.
  3. Depending on your benefits and training needs, select E-Learning - Application, E-Learning - System, or E-Learning - Server. This will take you to the Manage Software Assurance Benefits page.
  4. Select the LicenseID for which you want to manage E-Learning. This will take you to the Benefit Summary page.
  5. Select E-Learning Application, E-Learning System, or E-Learning Server.
  6. Enter contact information and applicable domains for your organization.
  7. Select Activate Benefit.
  8. After the benefit has been activated, you will see a 10-digit alphanumeric Access Code on the Benefit Details page. You will also receive an email with the same Access Code and a link to the course website, which you can share with your employees.
  9. After an employee receives the Access Code, he or she will use a Microsoft account to access training through the Microsoft Online Learning Learner Portal.

 

Note: Each person who receives training must have a Microsoft account to enroll in the course. To create a Microsoft account, go here to Sign up.

To view the current list of Software Assurance eligible E-Learning courses, go to the Software Assurance and Volume License Product Catalog. Under Program Type, select SA, then click the Search button.

To learn more about E-Learning course delivery options, or to find administrator options that let you assign and track learning plans for individuals across your organization, please visit the Software Assurance Learning site and expand the E-Learning resources accordion.

 

Home Use Program (HUP)

The Home Use Program provides your employees with the latest version of Microsoft Office for use on their home computer through a low-cost download.  To learn more about the HUP benefit, review the Introduction to the Home Use Program presentation.

  1. Sign in to the VLSC.
  2. Select Software Assurance from the top menu.
  3. Select Home Use Program. This will take you to the Manage Software Assurance Benefits page.
  4. Select the LicenseID for which you want to manage Home Use Program. This will take you to the Benefit Summary page.
  5. Select Home Use Program.
  6. Enter a HUP Benefits Contact. The benefit contact is the person who will be Microsoft’s main point of contact for HUP. It can be you (the SA Benefit Administrator) or someone else in your company with a VLSC account.
  7. Enter applicable domains for your organization, which will be used to authenticate your employees who use this benefit. Do not enter a public email domain (such as outlook.com or gmail.com). Please review the information below about Employee Authentication and Program Codes.
  8. Select Activate Benefit.
  9. After the benefit has been activated, you will see a 10-digit alphanumeric Program Code on the Benefit Details page. This is not automatically used to authenticate your employees’ eligibility. Please carefully read the information below to decide if you want to use the program code:

 

HUP Employee Authentication and Program Codes

By default, employees are no longer required to enter a program code to validate their eligibility. Most organizations prefer to only use the email domain as validation as it reduces escalations to IT departments from their employees. The program code requirement can be reinstated within 24 hours upon email request from the SA Benefit Administrator or the HUP Benefits Contact. Please send requests to VLSC Support with your agreement number and program code. Please note:

  • If you are part of an organization that does not offer the HUP benefit to all users with the approved domains (example: schools where faculty and students have the same domain), we recommend requiring the program code for authentication.
  • If your organization has listed the same domain for more than one agreement with an active HUP benefit, your employees will automatically be required to enter the program code to specify the agreement from which the HUP license will be taken.

Tip: To share information with your employees, use pre-built email templates, banner ads, and other downloadable marketing resources from HUP by visiting the HUP Marketing Portal.

 

To generate HUP Usage Reports in the VLSC

  1. Sign in to the VLSC.
  2. Select Software Assurance from the top menu.
  3. Select Home Use Program. This will take you to the Manage Software Assurance Benefits page.
  4. Select the LicenseID for which you want to manage the Home Use Program. This will take you to the Benefit Summary page.
  5. Under Activated Benefits, select Benefits Report Summary. This will take you to Benefits Summary Report page.
  6. Select Home Use Program.
  7. Enter reporting parameters, and select OK.

 

24x7 Problem Resolution Support

Problem Resolution Support provides around-the-clock phone support for business critical issues or business hours phone support for non-critical. Unlimited email support can be used for non-critical problems.

Phone incident award
You may submit your support request via the web or by phone to receive a call back from support. Your phone support incident will be decremented from your Software Assurance total phone incident award entitlements when you select Phone as the contact method during support incident submission.

Unlimited email support
Email support is available for server products which have the required Software Assurance coverage for server software and related CALS. Software Assurance coverage will be covered under your contract’s unlimited online support request provision for non-critical support. You must submit your support request via the web and select Email as the contact method during support incident submission. Responses to your email support requests will occur during support team business hours which may be in a different time zone than your own.

Note: As a Software Assurance Manager, you will need to use the VLSC to set up a list of approved personnel who are authorized to initiate support requests, and equip them with appropriate Software Assurance access IDs (SAIDs).

 

To set up 24x7 Problem Resolution Support through the VLSC

  1. Sign in to the VLSC.
  2. Select Software Assurance from the top menu.
  3. Select 24x7 Problem Resolution Support. This will take you to the Manage Software Assurance Benefits page.
  4. Select the LicenseID for which you want to manage 24x7 Problem Resolution Support. This will take you to the Benefit Summary page.
  5. Select 24x7 Problem Resolution Support.
  6. On the next screen, review the Terms and Conditions, enter your name, and select I Accept.
  7. Set up a list of users approved to submit support incidents.
  8. Find the SA Access ID (located near the top of the 24x7 Problem Resolution Support Benefits Details page) and give this information to your IT staff.

 

To initiate a 24x7 support incident through Microsoft Support

  1. Go to Microsoft Software Assurance Support page and click on Submit Request
  2. Select the product and problem for which you need support.
  3. On the Create an incident - select a payment option page, select Use my Software Assurance Agreement.
  4. Type your Software Assurance Access ID and email address you use to access the VLSC and click continue.
  5. Enter your incident details and contact information and select if you would like to receive email support for non-critical server issues, or phone support for business-critical support for all products.

 

Tip: If you are a Microsoft Services Premier Support customer, you may convert your allotted Software Assurance phone support incidents into Premier Problem Resolution Services to extend support from trusted experts you already know.

To convert 24x7 phone support incidents to Premier Support

  1. Sign in to the VLSC.
  2. Select Software Assurance from the top menu.
  3. Select 24x7 Problem Resolution Support. This will take you to the Manage Software Assurance Benefits page.
  4. Select the LicenseID for which you want to manage 24x7 Problem Resolution Support. This will take you to the Benefit Summary page.
  5. Select 24x7 Problem Resolution Support. This will take you to the Benefit Details page.
  6. Select Reserve SA Incidents for Premier. This will take you to the Reserve SA Incidents to Be Transferred to Premier page. Depending on your conversion preference choose one of the following options:
    1. Leave all SA Phone Support Incidents as “Available for SA.” Choose this default option if you do not want to convert or reserve your 24x7 Problem Resolution Support incidents.
    2. Reserve all current and upcoming SA phone incidents to be transferred to any Premier contract. Choose this options to convert all or reserve all 24x7 Problem Resolution Support incidents.
    3. Reserve Incidents for specific Premier contracts. Choose this option if you have more than one Premier Support Agreement (assigned to different groups or company locations, for example). This option allows you to assign or reserve 24x7 Problem Resolution Support.
  7. After this is complete, you will need to contact your company’s Microsoft Technical Account Manager (TAM) so that he or she can finalize the conversion process.

 

System Center Global Service Monitor

System Center Global Service Monitor (GSM) is a cloud service that extends the monitoring capabilities in Microsoft System Center 2012 beyond your organization’s own network boundary. GSM uses Microsoft Azure points of presence to help give you a true reflection of an end users’ experience of a web application.

Getting started with GSM requires signing up for GSM, setting up Microsoft System Center 2012 Operations Manager, and importing the GSM management packs.

To begin using GSM, go to the Global Service Monitor and use your organizational account information to establish your GSM account. When you do so, you will be asked whether you want to sign up for the GSM 90-Day Trial or establish full services (that is, use GSM as a benefit of your Software Assurance) by accepting the service terms and completing the sign-up process.

  • To set up your GSM 90-day trial account

When prompted, choose the option to Use GSM as a 90-Day Free Trial, and accept the service terms to complete the sign-up process. Close to the 90-day expiration date, you will receive email reminders that your trial period is about to end. To continue using the service you will need to convert from a 90-day Trial to a Full Service account. See below.

  • To set up your GSM Full Service account

When prompted, choose the option to Use GSM as a benefit of the Software Assurance program. You will be asked to confirm you have purchased qualifying licenses with Software Assurance. Accept the service terms to complete the sign-up process.

  • To set up System Center 2012 Operations Manager and import the GSM management packs

Follow prescribed activities found on the System Center: TechNet Library.

  • To convert from 90-Day Trial to Full Service account
  1. Sign in to the GSM.
  2. On the Account Management page, select Activate and complete the sign-up process. Be sure to choose the option to use GSM as a benefit of the Software Assurance program.

 

Extended Hotfix Support

This benefit provides specific product fixes on a per customer incident basis, beyond the standard product support terms and releases.

After it is determined that the resolution to a customer-reported issue will require a hotfix for a product in the Extended phase of the support life cycle (typically determined by a Support Engineer), contact your Technical Account Manager (TAM). The TAM will work with the appropriate problem resolution team to initiate the process of creating the hotfix. After it is confirmed that a hotfix can be created and provided to you, the TAM will work with you to establish an Extended Hotfix Support Account (EHSA) or add coverage to your existing EHSA for the affected product.

 

Additional benefits

Software Assurance spans a broad range of Microsoft software and services, including Windows, Microsoft Office, Exchange, System Center, SQL Server, and many others. For more details about each benefit, review the Microsoft Product Terms or visit the Software Assurance website.

Get help in the VLSC


If you have questions or need help when you are using the VLSC, you can select the Help menu to view more information, read the FAQ, and get Support Center contact details.