‘Free’ help to deploy SharePoint

Microsoft has expanded its Software Assurance "deployment services" benefit to include SharePoint projects. If you’ve bought into the enterprise-level Software Assurance program you may have already put money in the kitty to hire a Microsoft partner.

For those on the enterprise volume license and enterprise subscription SA plans, for the first $60,000 you’ve spent on licenses, your company is entitled to one day of onsite deployment help from a Microsoft partner. For $150,000 you get three days; $600,000 gives you five days and $1.25 million grants 10 days (plus the ability to convert any unused training days the plan offers into days of onsite service.), according to Microsoft.

Previously, these deployment services could be used only to deploy desktop software – which is, perhaps, a fair restriction as that’s really the biggest pain point for most companies. (Then again, SA also includes options for desktop virtualization software, which would also eliminate the hassle of touching individual hard drives in order to update PC software.)

But the interesting change to this program is that Microsoft vice president Chris Capossela announced during his keynote at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference that it’s being expanded to cover SharePoint deployments. SharePoint Deployment Planning Services will be available in early 2008,a Microsoft spokesperson says.

Capossela also said that many enterprises are either unaware that they have the deployment services benefits, or haven’t opted to use the benefits for other reasons. So for some enterprises, it could be almost like a free few days of help – or at least help that you’ve already paid because you bought SA for other reasons.

Now, a lot of controversy surrounds SA. (See Microsoft customers sour on Software Assurance and Microsoft to users: no Software Assurance, no apps virtualization )

But for those who have already signed up for the program, want to use SharePoint and meet the minimum spend requirements, getting a qualified hired gun in the house could be a good thing.

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Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.