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Software Assurance Planning Services
Planning Services FAQ

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  1. What are Planning Services benefits?

  2. Who can enroll to deliver Planning Services benefits?

  3. What are the qualifications required to deliver Planning Services engagements? Who needs to obtain these requirements?

  4. How do partners enroll and get approved to deliver Planning Services engagements?

  5. What is the Planning Services Partner Directory? What are some tips to optimize my organization's visibility to customers?

  6. What criteria do partners need to follow in order to deliver engagements that are compliant with the Planning Services policies?

  7. Where do partners find training, engagement materials, and technical content to prepare for engagement delivery?

  8. Which customers are eligible to receive Planning Services engagements? How can they activate their benefits?

  9. How do partners connect with eligible customers?

  10. Where can partners find customer-ready Planning Services marketing tools?

  11. What is the "voucher life cycle" that takes place once an eligible customer chooses a partner to deliver a Planning Services engagement?

  12. What are the key items to be aware of regarding voucher expiration and agreement end-dates?

  13. What deliverables are required in order to receive payment?

  14. How does a partner get paid?

  15. What additional Planning Services resources are available?

  16. Is there a supported Planning Services offering for System Center?

  17. Can Planning Services days be used to fund planning for products or services not represented by a defined Planning Services offering?

  18. Can Planning Services days be used for end-user training?

  19. Can Planning Services engagements be delivered remotely? 

  20. Where do I find the required Planning Services Compliance Training Course ​on Partner University? 



​1. What are Planning Services benefits?

Microsoft Planning Services is a benefit provided to customers who purchase Software Assurance (SA) through Microsoft Volume Licensing. Planning Services provides in-depth deployment planning expertise from qualified Microsoft partners or Microsoft Services to help customers plan on-premises, cloud-based, or hybrid deployments or migrations.  These prescriptive, structured engagements cover an array of products and services such as SQL Server, Windows Server, Windows, Office, Office 365, Project Online, Project Server, Project & Portfolio Management, SharePoint, Skype for Business, Exchange, Windows Azure, Visual Studio, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. 

Planning Services:
  • Provides eligible customers with access to qualified, on-site partners who provide deployment, upgrade or migration planning engagements based on Microsoft best practices
  • Kick starts customer efforts to deploy, upgrade or migrate to the latest versions of select Microsoft products through interactive sessions with subject matter experts designed to help identify problems and documents next steps
  • Maximizes the customer’s technology investments – engagements help enable partners to provide relevant services while providing deeper visibility into the account, and improving customer satisfaction which can contribute to a greater revenue potential


Planning Services offerings:

  • Public Cloud, Windows Azure Deployment Planning Services (AZDPS)
  • Desktop Deployment Planning Services (DDPS)
  • Developer Tools Deployment Planning Services (DTDPS)
  • Dynamics Deployment Planning Services (DYDPS)
  • Private Cloud, Management and Virtualization Deployment Planning Services (PVDPS)
  • SharePoint Deployment Planning Services (SDPS)
  • Skype for Business and Exchange Deployment Planning Services (S&EDPS)
  • SQL Server Deployment Planning Services (SSDPS)
 

2. ​Who can enroll to deliver Planning Services Benefits?

Please visit the Partner eligibility requirements page for details.
 
 

3. What are the qualifications required to deliver Planning Services engagements? Who needs to obtain these requirements?

Please visit the Partner eligibility requirements page for a complete list of criteria partner organizations must meet in order to become approved to participate in each Planning Services offering.
 
 

4. How do partners enroll and get approved to deliver Planning Services engagements?

 
 

5. What is the Planning Services Partner Directory? What are some tips to optimize my organization's visibility to customers?

The Planning Services Partner Directory is a tool that customers can use to find approved Planning Services partners.  Customers can search by program type and supported area. Once you become an approved partner, your company will appear in the directory based on the offerings you are approved for and the information that you have specified.  Learn more
 
 

6. What criteria do partners need to follow in order to deliver engagements that are compliant with the Planning Services policies?


Engagement lengths:
The SA Planning Services benefit provides customers with prescriptive standardized, planning-only engagements with acceptable service durations ranging between 1 and 15 days. 

Engagement scope: Planning for deployment, upgrade or migrations only.
The primary purpose of a Planning Services engagement is to help customers create a deployment, upgrade, or migration plan.  All Planning Services deliveries must meet the following criteria:
  • A Planning Services deliverable must be furnished to the customer.  See the deliverables required for payment page for additional information.
  • Planning Services days may only be applied toward the creation of the required deliverables and optional elective activities directly associated with the creation or presentation of those required deliverables. For example, the staging of a lab-based Proof of Concept (PoC) should only be performed to complement the creation of the required deliverable in a standard engagement.  Examples that are clearly out of scope are pilots, writing or validating test plans, touching production in any way.

Stacking vouchers (using multiple vouchers for a single engagement):
  • Using multiple vouchers for an engagement is allowed for durations up to 15 days. For these cases, one Online Completion Report form must be submitted listing all the vouchers used to conduct the engagement, along with the corresponding customer deliverables. 
  • In cases where customers have multiple Volume Licensing enrollments, active vouchers can be from the same enrollment or different enrollments.

Multiple customers for one engagement:
  • Combining multiple, but not legally connected, customers under one engagement is not permitted. 
  • The only way partners can perform “one big engagement” is when a single organization has multiple Volume Licensing agreements which they want to combine for an engagement (e.g., 3-day voucher plus a 5-day voucher). In this stacked voucher case, the partner will need to submit two separate Online Completion Report forms, and should upload the same customer deliverable to both Online Completion Report forms. 

Converting training vouchers for Planning Services days:
Customers may convert training voucher days into Planning Services days on a 3:1 basis, with no limit. Conversion details can be found in the Microsoft Product List for Volume Licensing.
 
 

7. Where do partners find training, engagement materials, and technical content to prepare for engagement delivery?

Delivery readiness materials and options are different for each offering; please refer to the Planning Services page for a list of Planning Services offerings and available engagements within each offering.
 
 

8. Which customers are eligible to receive Planning Services engagements? How can they activate their benefits?

Planning Services are available to all Software Assurance customers worldwide based on their license type and volume.
 
Use the following resources to better understand customer eligibility and the customer experience.
 

9. How do partners connect with eligible customers?

There are several ways to proactively identify customer opportunities and verify customer entitlements to the Planning Services benefit to help create your qualified customer list. See the Partner-Customer Connection as well as recommendations below.
 
Work with your customers to determine Planning Services eligibility
  • Contact your customers directly to find out if they have Software Assurance and work with them to determine their entitlement level. Each SA customer has a Software Assurance Benefit (SAB) manager who activates benefits. Your customer contact should work directly with the SAB manager to access Planning Services days. See Activate Voucher Benefit of the Voucher Life Cycle page for more details.

Request joint account planning with your Partner Sales Executive (PSE) to create a qualified customer list
  • Partners can contact their Partner Sales Executive (PSE) and request to joint account plan to find entitled customers in the partner’s region 
  • Partners provide a list of current customers for whom they are the current partner of record to their PSE to have the PSE cross-check for customer benefit entitlement 
  • Partners can ask their PSE to coordinate working with a local Microsoft account team to help identify entitled customers in region interested in deployment
Work with LARs 
  • Some Large Account Resellers (LAR) will share their list of entitled customers who purchased Software Assurance benefits with their license. If a partner is a System Integrators (SIs) they may be able to partner with a Large Account Reseller to identify potential SA eligible customers.

Offer Deployment Planning to all customers regardless of eligibility 
  • As a best practice, Microsoft recommends offering deployment planning to all customers. Deployment increases the likelihood of Enterprise Agreement renewals, which promotes future systems deployment and follow-on services for the partner. Regardless of customer eligibility, you can use the Planning Services structured and pre-defined materials as a supplement to your own deployment planning offerings.
 

10. Where can partners find customer-ready Planning Services marketing tools?

Each offering has marketing resources: AZDPS, DDPS, DTDPSDYDPS, PVDPS, SDPS, S&EDPS, SSDPS.
Additionally, the Software Assurance customer web site provides an overview of Planning Services and related customer-ready marketing materials. 
 
 

11. What is the "voucher life cycle" that takes place once an eligible customer chooses a partner to deliver a Planning Services engagement?

Please refer to the Planning Services process page and watch the Voucher guidance videos for instructions on processing Planning Services vouchers.
 
 

12. What are the key items to be aware of regarding voucher expiration and agreement end-dates?

Vouchers in the "assigned" (activated) status have a lifespan of 180 days from the voucher creation date, regardless of the expiration date of the enrollment under which the voucher was created.  If the enrollment is still active when a voucher expires, the days will return to the enrollment’s available pool of days (Planning Services remaining days). If the enrollment has expired when the voucher expires, the days are lost.
 

Assigned Vouchers should be reserved in VVR as soon as possible to ensure vouchers are not reserved by another partner. Note that you can change the engagement start and end dates after a voucher is reserved. 

 

Reserved vouchers in VVR must be either "cancelled" or "redeemed" in VVR by the partner that reserved it.  You must reserve the voucher, deliver the engagement, and redeem the voucher in VVR prior to the stated expiration date found in the voucher information in VVR.

 

After redeeming a voucher, you have 60 days in which to submit a payment request in the SAVB Online Payment Tool. Any non-compliance issues with the voucher must also be resolved within this 60-day period. If the 60-day period ends before compliance issues are remediated or a payment request is submitted, the voucher is forfeited and payment cannot be processed for the engagement delivered under that voucher.

 
Although not guaranteed, if you feel your particular situation warrants an exception, please contact your Partner Sales Executive (PSE) or your customer’s Microsoft local account representative.
 
For more information see the Planning Services process page.
 
 

13. What deliverables are required in order to receive payment?

After delivering a Planning Services engagement (and before redeeming vouchers in VVR), partner consultants must fill out and submit the online Planning Services Completion Report Submission Form, making sure to attach a copy of the final customer deliverable.

Each Planning Services engagement should produce a customer deliverable, which is a presentation of the engagement findings, recommendations, and deployment/migration plan. Customer deliverables submitted through the online Planning Services Completion Report Submission Form are used only to verify scope and services offered, and are reviewed only by the Planning Services Team to monitor the quality of engagements. Planning Service engagement deliverables are deemed to be confidential information.

You have the option of submitting the below customer deliverables:

  • Standard customer deliverable template found in the table on the Deliverables required for payment page
  • Customer deliverable documentation presented to the customer by your organization at the end of the engagement (must provide an overview of the customer's business goals and requirements, your organization's findings, and next step recommendations)
 

14. How does a partner get paid?

Go to the Get paid page to learn more payment process and rates.
 
 

15. What additional Planning Services resources are available?

 

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16. Is there a supported Planning Services offering for System Center?

A standalone System Center Deployment Planning Services offering is not currently available. You may not use Planning Services days to fund planning work specific to the deployment of System Center alone.

  • Private Cloud, Management and Virtualization Planning Services (PVDPS) can be used to deliver a planning engagement for System Center. Within the ‘Accelerating Management and Virtualization’ engagement there are three engagement paths which are designed to help customers and partners focus their System Center engagement around specific business needs, and are not meant to restrict activities that would be useful in the pursuit of deployment. These engagement paths allow the partner to structure the engagement in order to meet the needs of customers, pulling from resources provided on the site.
  • Please note the Planning Services program will not fund PVDPS engagements focused on System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM)  since this specific product focuses on the deployment of end user seats for applications such as Office and doesn’t apply for Private Cloud and Virtualization Solutions.
  • Desktop Deployment Planning Services (DDPS) days can only be used to conduct planning engagements that will result in the deployment of Windows and Office. DDPS does not support planning engagements that focus solely on the deployment of SCCM. If SCCM is going to be used in the deployment process of Windows and Office software and the planning engagement includes modules that are focused on SCCM, it will be considered an acceptable use of DPS days so long as the outcome of the engagement drives the deployment of Windows and Office.
 

17. Can Planning Services days be used to fund planning for products or services NOT represented by a defined Planning Services offering?

Planning Services days may only be applied toward advancing server/seat counts of products featured within each representative program.  While other products may be involved within the context of a larger solution, those products cannot be the primary focus of the engagement in and of themselves. See the following examples for additional information:
  • The outcome of a SharePoint Deployment Planning Services (SDPS) engagement should be a deployment, upgrade, or migration plan specific to SharePoint.
  • System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) utilization may be discussed as part of a Skype for Business and Exchange Deployment Planning Services (S&EDPS) engagement but it cannot be the main focus of the engagement.  S&EDPS will not pay for detailed SCOM planning.
 

18. Can Planning Services days be used for end-user training?

While knowledge transfer is an element of any engagement, Planning Services engagements cannot be used for general or group training for end-users.  The only exceptions are for Developer Tools Deployment Planning Services (DTDPS) and SQL Server Deployment Planning Services (SSDPS) which both feature LOB Training.
 
 

19. Can Planning Services engagements be delivered remotely?

Planning Services engagements are designed and advertised to qualified customers as onsite consultative services. This means that the majority of work will occur at the customer’s primary business location. However, Microsoft will allow up to 3 days of off-site delivery in cases where customer resources are distributed across multiple sites or locations.
Return to FAQs ​​​​​​​​ ​
 

20. Where do I find the required Planning Services Compliance Training Course on Partner University?

The Planning Services Compliance Training Course on Partner University can be found here: https://aka.ms/ps_compliance_training_en-us​
Return to FAQs ​​​​​​​​ ​


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