Grade Your Microsoft Support – Score Your MS Premier or Unified Contract

Grade Your Microsoft Support

Grade your Microsoft Premier or Unified Support services contract. See how your MS Support agreement report card stacks up to enterprise peers. Your Microsoft Support Report Card covers: Response and Resolution Time, Offshoring, Escalation, IT Ops Waste, Account Management, and Addon Costs. Don’t fail your enterprise by ignoring higher costs and falling quality.

Audience: Microsoft Vendor Management | IT Sourcing | CIO

Microsoft Premier Unified Support Services Contract Grade

Initial Response Time (IRT)

Initial Response Time may also be referred to as First response time and is a measurement of the average time it takes for a provider’s support agents to respond to the company’s support issues.

For practical purposes, IRT is the amount of time it takes for the support organization to create a support ticket, triage the issue, assign the appropriate engineer based on technology and severity and have an engineer start working on the issue.  Financially-backed Service Level Agreements (SLA) should backstop IRT, particularly for high severity and mission-critical issues where every minute counts.

Pro Tip: Make sure your IRT SLA applies to all the supported technologies you use and not just the hottest vendor technology. This will make your reporting and SLA analysis easier as well as simplify the support framework for your IT team.


  • A 15 min
  • B 30 min
  • C 60 min
  • D 90 min
  • F 120+ min

Time to Resolution (TTR)

Time to Resolution is a customer support metric measuring the average amount of time between when a support ticket is created and when that incident is marked as “resolved.” Time To Resolution may also be called Mean Time to Resolution and abbreviated as MTTR.

TTR should be further broken out by incident severity – critical, moderate or minimum impact. Larger organizations TTR efficiency against critical support tickets (outages) may equate to thousands of dollars per minute.  But don’t overlook TTR of lower severity issues that may languish for months slowing IT initiatives and frustrating users.

Pro Tip: TTR should not be a bell curve exercise.  Treating a TTR population distribution as such may significantly skew the results.  For example, a support company delivering mostly poor results will increase their perceived performance by throwing out the worst end of their poor results, effectively averaging up the score.  On the other hand, there is little motivation for bell curve distribution of a support provider delivering mostly good results as they would throw out their best results, effectively averaging down the score.


  • A 60 min
  • B 90 min
  • C 120 min
  • D 180 min
  • F 240+ min


Offshoring is the relocation of support from one country to another typically to lower labor costs and increase “follow the sun” capabilities. Workforce availability is another advantage of offshoring support, particularly in a tight domestic job market.

You should score offshoring as a percentage by the number of tickets that are handled outside your country divided by total ticket count. Disadvantages of offshored support include language barriers, supply chain risk, DFARS/ITAR non-compliance, and cyber risk.

Pro Tip: If you are a Microsoft Premier or Unified Support customer look for v- Microsoft email addresses in your support tickets. V- emails delivering Microsoft support are offshored partners such as Mindtree, Tata or Wipro.  They are not Microsoft employees.  Don’t overlook your compliance requirements – Giving foreign nationals access to confidential IT resources is at best negligent and at worst criminal.


  • A 0%
  • B 10%
  • C 20%
  • D 30%
  • F 50%+


Ticket escalation is the process a company follows to move a customer issue to a higher-level support engineer or manager. ITIL defines escalations as 2 types: functional and hierarchical. Functional escalations are those that the engineer can’t resolve and “time out.” Hierarchical escalations require management awareness for severity or complexity. Escalation for Microsoft Premier/Unified is tiered, level 2-4 (4 being highest). Tier 4 managers  have access to the product teams for critical bugs or security fixes. 

Escalation is best measured by what percentage of total tickets is not resolved in-house. Third-party support provider US Cloud has tiered level 2-4 support as an internal escalation path. The US Cloud escalation process is time-bound and SLA backed. Critical Microsoft code bugs or security fixes are escalated directly to Microsoft. Escalations requiring tenant access are addressed via GDAP, Microsoft partners, and Microsoft Premier contracts.

Pro Tip: You can now safely have a third-party support provider open and manage Microsoft cloud support tickets on your behalf via the new Granular Delegated Admin Privileges (GDAP) mechanism.


  • A 10%
  • B 15%
  • C 20%
  • D 30%
  • F 50%+

IT Ops Waste

IT Operations Waste or inefficiency is created when a support ticket is being worked by the the support provider but requires your IT team to engage again to move it along internally at the support provider.

IT Ops Waste is measured by the percentage of tickets where re-engagement is required by internal IT to provide any information that has already been captured by the support provider.

For example, having to re-explain a support issue when the ticket is escalated or handed off to the next shift at the support provider. Another common and frustrating inefficiency is having to resubmit logs or errors when a new support engineer is engaged.  This is particularly common as support tickets transition overseas and foreign support engineers don’t have access to the country of origin’s support document repository.

Pro Tip: The percentages may look small but the impact is big. Provider savings vaporizes as they do the same work twice. Your organization is now doing the work (adding full overhead cost), damaging internal IT morale, and most importantly – distracting them from projects that drive enterprise growth.


  • A 0%
  • B 5%
  • C 10%
  • D 20%
  • F 30%+

Account Management

Account management for Microsoft Support comes in two flavors.  Customer Success Account Mangers (CSAM) and Technical Account Managers (TAM). CSAMs typically have less technical experience and are measured for success by your Cloud consumption.  TAMs have more technical experience and are measured for success by how satisfied you are.

Scoring for Account Management is a bit more complicated.  If you are a Microsoft customer and still have a TAM you get an automatic A.  TAMs are true customer advocates and will work diligently to do what is best for the Customer.  If you are a Microsoft customer, had a TAM, and now have a CSAM, score a B. Your experience will degrade to some degree and the focus of the CSAM will be how to get you to consume more Microsoft Cloud services. VAR customer service reps may have some Microsoft focus but experience is limited. Score a C. MSP customer service reps will not have deep Microsoft knowledge and score a D.

Pro Tip: Independent Third-Party Support Providers have no hidden agenda or licensing quotas with Microsoft.  Their client’s support success is their sole focus. If you miss your old Microsoft TAM experience, seek out an independent third-party support TAM.  Scored an A.


  • A TAM
  • B CSAM
  • F NO CSR

Addon Costs

There are some well known advertised Addon costs of Microsoft Unified Support such as Mission Critical and some that are lesser known such as most self-service IT Health Assessments require Designated Support Engineer (DSE) level engagements to interpret or take action once the assessment is completed.

Score your Addon costs by the percentage of additional cost to your base Microsoft Premier or Unified Support contract. Tailoring your Microsoft Support solution with a Flex Allowance credit towards Proactive Services such as expert-led engagements for Azure, M365, Teams or Dynamics often results in a short-term win on paper for IT, but in reality delivers waning momentum and additional Addon spend as the support contract moves out of the honeymoon phase.

Pro Tip: Hot technologies like Azure or Dynamics require larger Addon blocks of DSE hours if buying directly from Microsoft. Some third-party providers allow smaller blocks of DSE hours so you can better support your core technologies and complete more projects this year.


  • A 2%
  • B 5%
  • C 10%
  • D 20%
  • F 30%+

Q3 2021 Analyst Report – Microsoft Support Alternatives


Gartner Magic Quadrant for Microsoft Support Services - US Cloud is the Leading MSFT Support Alternative for Enterprises Worldwide
US Cloud identified again as the leading independent third-party support provider for Microsoft software with 50% savings.

Initiatives: Negotiating Microsoft Contracts | Strategic IT Cost Optimization
Audience: CIO and IT Executives | Sourcing, Procurement and Vendor Management

Microsoft Software 2nd Highest IT Spend Industrywide

Software is the 2nd highest IT spend category industrywide. 97% of the Fortune 500 rely on Microsoft software and are finding an unexpected 4-6% rise in their EA contract renewal due to escalating prices in Microsoft (Unified) support.

As a result, many enterprises are seeking guidance from analysts on how to better navigate Microsoft Premier/Unified support negotiations. Here are the latest findings and recommended tactics from the analyst community covering MSFT.

Microsoft Software 2nd Highest IT Spend

2021 IT Spend by Region & Category | Source: Gartner

Key Microsoft Enterprise Software Support Findings

IT sourcing, procurement and vendor management officers looking for viable maintenance options for their Microsoft software are confidently positioned to recommend support cost optimization alternatives to their stakeholders.

Recommended Action 1 – Compare third party support policies and contract terms to Microsoft Unified (Premier) to reduce the risk of selecting a third-party provider with lower pricing but insufficient service.

Recommended Action 2 – Sourcing, procurement, and vendor management leaders can reduce cost and operational risk by engaging stakeholders during the Risk & Inspection phase.

Microsoft Enteprise Software Support Findings

Phases of MSFT Enterprise Software Support Negotiation

Recommended to Evaluate MSFT Premier/Unified Alternatives

Step 1) Evaluate third party providers to reduce your 1.5 to 3x Microsoft support cost increase.

Step 2) Closely evaluate third party provider support policies and contract terms to your organization’s current Microsoft software contract.

Step 3) Send RFPs to all viable third-party providers to obtain information and pricing. Request at least one reference in your industry and a POC for the provider to showcase their service offering and support capabilities.

Recommended MSFT Premier (Unified) Alternatives

MS Support Options | Source: ClearEdge Partners

Microsoft Third Party Support Market Landscape

Third party support providers offer both cost-cutting and cost avoidance opportunities for organizations to reduce current and future year operating expenditure (opex) spend and budget. These capabilities should be evaluated as part of a feasibility study to analyze cost savings opportunities to reduce the rising maintenance and support fees from Microsoft.

Third Party Microsoft Support Cost Savings and Avoidance

Cost Savings & Cost Avoidance Key to Procurement

Evaluate Third-Party Support to Help Fund Future Innovation

As software vendors focus investments on new cloud platforms, current, robust licensed applications receive less investment and fewer resources dedicated to support.

The significant savings from third-party support allows customers to fund digital transformation projects that they may be unable to deliver on while under vendor support. Customers can potentially move more quickly to innovate by removing the overhead and burden of vendor support.

Market Demand for Alternatives to MSFT Support

Analyst client inquiries related to software support for Microsoft increased more than 50% over the past 12 months with third party support market growth of 30% YoY for the past 5 years. Analysts predict continued growing interest as providers mature and expand service offerings.

Market Demand for Alternatives to Microsoft Support

Market Analysis of Third Party Microsoft Enterprise Support

In enterprises with significant Microsoft software portfolios, lower-priced third party support can offset a significant percentage of YoY annual maintenance and support increases typically imposed by Microsoft. Third party support deals make up more than 20% of all technology deals across North America, EMEA and APAC.

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the velocity of interest and growth in third party support. In the first year of transition organizations see the savings as a quick win. Ongoing, the lower pricing helps to keep budgets flat when they’re challenged to meet cost-saving goals and initiatives.

Third Party Microsoft Support Market Analysis

3rd Party Support 32% of All Deals in N America

Advantages of Using Third Party MSFT Support

Once a feasibility study is completed and the organization has decided to pursue third party support here are the substantial opex savings:

Reduce software budgets – specifically software maintenance (support) profit and loss (P&L) operating expense (opex). Average annual savings is typically around 50% for larger organizations when compared to the Unified Support pricing model of Microsoft.

Improved SLAs and specialized services such as Microsoft software development or customization.

Customized service agreements to meet an organization’s particular support needs such as fewer Designated Support Engineer (DSE) hour thresholds.

Use the lower-priced third party support provider’s proposal as leverage when negotiating with Microsoft.

Scenarios to Leverage Third Party Support for Microsoft Software

Cloud migrations – When version upgrades are no longer needed during cloud migrations, the third-party support provider can offer technical support for the customer entitled version so organizations can realize the average 50% cost reduction. This analysis should be part of the cloud migration planning checklist and total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis. Migration to alternative vendors or solutions – When new vendors or alternate solutions are selected to replace on-premises software products, third-party support can be analyzed to determine if a viable option is to use software with perpetual licenses under the customer-entitled version until the migration cutover date, and beyond, as necessary.

Low value, low volume technical support – The historical volumetric analysis of all help desk and service desk technical support and incident tickets should be analyzed every six months. This analysis helps to determine the ROI when comparing the value received to the annual cost paid for the Microsoft support service. This analysis should include the frequency of support calls, type of support, severity level, resolution time and results, and incident ticket close data for each of the software products in your MSFT portfolio.

Microsoft end of life – Situations can exist where older-version software is still being used to support certain applications, but will no longer be provided by MSFT without a customized support agreement and for an additional fee. Third-party support would not only result in the average 50% cost reduction compared to the current software vendor standard maintenance and support fees but avoid paying high customized professional service rates that Microsoft typically charges after the end-of-support date.

Support caps for price protection in contracts – In some cases, no price protection exists for ongoing maintenance and support in vendor contracts. In such cases, particularly with the three- to five-year term multiyear EA contracts, there is high risk of escalating maintenance and support costs or end-of-support announcements during these multiyear terms. If there is no price protection language in your contract, or if the price increase protection is higher than the current consumer price index (CPI) rate, third-party support services should be evaluated.

Reduce Waste in Your Microsoft Enterprise Agreement

CIOs are exploring using independent support as a way of freeing up significant operating budget with minimal risk. Two US Cloud clients reported that since switching from vendor support to US Cloud in 2021 they have saved 4-6% of their total MSFT Enterprise Agreement (EA).

They did this by reducing their Microsoft Premier (Unified) fees by 45 percent and moving the support portion out of the EA. CIOs that have freed up operating budget dollars in this way are using their surplus funds to hire key talent, innovate and launch strategic projects — and your company can do the same.

Market Guide for Independent Third-Party Support

Rising software maintenance and support costs are driving sourcing, procurement and vendor management leaders to explore the independent third-party support market for IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP software.

To optimize costs, use this guide (Published August 23, 2021 ID G00734399) to evaluate alternative technical maintenance and support service offerings.

Q4 2020 MSFT Premier/Unified Support – Research Analysts Report


Microsoft Support Gartner Magic Quadrant - US Cloud
US Cloud identified as the leading independent third-party support provider for Microsoft with savings up to 50%.

Third-Party Software Support Market Growth

The third-party software support market will grow from $426 million in 2020 to $1.05 billion by 2023 – a 130% increase. This represents an industry growth path doubling in size in three years. The reasons? Enterprises are seeking professional, experience support service with lightning-fast SLAs, saving them significant funds to be redirected to game-changing IT initiatives…and with no lock-in to software vendors who may not have the enterprises’ best long-term interests in mind. It’s no surprise then, that Gartner received a 40% increase in inquiries related to third-party support in 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

CIOs Move to Emergency Cost Optimization to Survive

Many of the financial business implications of COVID-19 are being felt in the IT department in 2020 and into 2021. Worldwide IT budgets will be slashed 8% in 2020 and that may not be enough. Survival will depend on maintaining cash flows and income while reducing costs wherever possible and continuing to be innovative with technology. Enterprises that fail to act may not survive this disruption or will have their recovery delayed.

CIO Cost Optimization - US Cloud

Worldwide IT Spending Forecast (Millions U.S. Dollars)

Procurement Identifies Third-Party Support as a Cost-Saving Opportunity

More than one in three organizations use direct cost savings and cost avoidance as success measure of its technology procurement function. The direct cost savings realized from lower-cost third-party software support alternatives can be easily measured to calculate the direct cost savings for current year budget impact, as well as future-year costs savings and cost avoidance.

Procurement Direct Cost Savings - US Cloud

Direct Cost Savings is Top Success Measure of Procurement Function

Annual Vendor Software Support – Costs Up, Benefits Down

Continued diminishing returns from vendor-based software support are leading enterprises to seek higher-quality/lower-cost support from independent, expert service providers. The balance between service and price is no longer about sacrificing one for the other; rather, with independent, third-party service the equation can be one of expert support and savings.

Evaluate Third-Party Support to Help Fund Future Innovation

As software vendors focus investments on new cloud platforms, current, robust licensed applications receive less investment and fewer resources dedicated to support. The significant savings from third-party support allows customers to fund digital transformation projects that they may be unable to deliver on while under vendor support. Customers can potentially move more quickly to innovate by removing the overhead and burden of vendor support.

Determine if Your Organization is a Good Candidate for Third-Party Support

Procurement, sourcing, and vendor management professionals can use some standard rules of thumb to determine the fit of third-party support for their organizations. Companies that typically move to third-party support do so to address one or more of three primary circumstances:

Independent Third-Party Microsoft Support - US Cloud

Migration: They are migrating from an on-premise environment, i.e., MSFT Exchange, to a cloud-based environment, i.e., Office 365. The third-party support vendor maintains the existing environment until the migration is complete. The customer gets excellent support and saves at least 50% on maintenance fees that can be redirected to fund the migration or another initiative.

Financial Relief: They need either short-term financial relief or are in deep financial distress. Third-party support is a smart way to achieve immediate cost savings that can be dropped to the bottom line. Interestingly, companies that are newly funded by private equity firms are often mandated to reduce costs fast, thus are also prime candidates for third-party support.

Innovation: Today’s fastest growing driver of third-party support is the desire to innovate, often spearheaded by a journey to the cloud. Companies are adopting third-party support to go in “sustain” mode for their on-premise applications. The money saved and additional time earned enable smarter and faster innovation. These companies are perfectly content with their functional and stable on-premise applications and choose a third-party to maintain performance, security, and interoperability while they redirect the dramatic savings towards hybrid cloud solutions.

The Right Internal Stakeholders for a Successful Transition to Third-Party Support

Support for business-critical enterprise software is a necessity, and the decision to switch to a new support vendor requires a team effort. As the sourcing and procurement lead, you will want to engage various department stakeholders through the due diligence and decision-making processes. Here are the top departments you must engage:

Enterprise Internal Stakeholders Needed for Transition to US Cloud Microsoft Support

Independent Third-Party Support Offers Premium Service + Lower Costs

Before they can make the transition to an independent support provider, CIOs must overcome the most common perceived risks of dropping vendor support: the risk of severe business impact in the event of a critical issue, and the risk of missing out on the vendor’s latest innovations. The reality is that vendor support is not a guarantee against system downtime, and the big software vendors may not be the best source of cost-effective innovation today. By choosing independent support, CIOs can help their organizations get better service in addressing technical issues while achieving substantial savings to acquire and implement innovation that makes sense for their companies.

The Proven Benefits of Independent Support Providers

Frustrated by the pressure to keep paying for services they’re not sure they need, and concerned about the massive portion of the IT budget consumed by vendor maintenance programs, many CIOs are exploring the possibility of switching to independent support providers. What these CIOs are discovering is that working with an independent support partner not only eliminates the risks described above, but also provides them with better service and substantial cost savings.

Reduce Waste in Your IT Budget

CIOs are exploring using independent support as a way of freeing up significant operating budget at zero cost. Two US Cloud clients reported that since switching from vendor support to US Cloud they have saved 15 percent in their overall IT budgets. They did this by reducing their Microsoft Premier (Unified) fees by 45 percent. CIOs that have freed up operating budget in this way are using their surplus funds to innovate, increase headcount and launch strategic projects — and your company can do the same.

Market Guide for Independent Third-Party Support

Rising software maintenance and support costs are driving sourcing, procurement and vendor management leaders to explore the independent third-party support market for IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP software. To optimize costs, Gartner clients should use this guide (Published August 21, 2020 ID G00721318) to evaluate alternative technical maintenance and support service offerings.

Gartner reports confidence in third-party support provider, US Cloud, based on evolving market trends, real inquiry data and acceptance of third-party support as a mainstream option.

Leading Global Banks Replace MSFT Premier Support with US Cloud


Microsoft Premier Support Replacement

Learn why 3 of the 5 largest banks in the UK chose US Cloud as a replacement for Microsoft’s Premier (Unified) Support in 2020.

Financial COVID-19 Damage Runs Deep

Unemployment has hit levels not seen since the aftermath of the Great Depression. More than 25 percent of small businesses anticipate declaring bankruptcy in the next six months. Hard-hit industries, such as oil and gas, travel, and retail, may be forever reshaped.

For banks, near-zero interest rates and a flattened yield curve mean diminished net interest income. Credit losses could exceed $1 trillion. Recovery will vary in speed and intensity – the effects of the financial pandemic damage could linger for a decade or more.

Banks replace microsoft premier (unified) support with US Cloud in 2020

Source: Federal Reserve Board; Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Supporting the World’s Financial Capital

The United Kingdom (UK) is the highest net exporter of financial services in the world. London, with its convenient time zone, use of English and trimmed-back regulations is the global financial capital.

As the heart of the international monetary system, the largest banks in the world have a strong presence in London. And in 2020 several moved from Microsoft to US Cloud for comprehensive support of their Microsoft technologies.

“Q1 2020 we were having exploratory conversations with many financial institutions about working with them in 2021.  The pandemic seems to have caused the vast majority of our banking clients to aggressively cut costs this year.”

Robert E. LaMear IV - CEO, US CLOUDMatthew Harris, PRESIDENT, US CLOUD

Leading Banks Rush to Optimize Costs

As people struggle to pay credit card bills, mortgages and home-equity loans, banks are reserving cash for anticipated charge-offs and losses. The mounting losses have resulted in operating budget pressure, notwithstanding 2020 and 2021 IT budgets.

Many global banks are placing increasing reliance on Microsoft Office 365 and Azure. As their consumption of MSFT cloud services grow, so to does their Premier/Unified support bill, typically 10% year over year. Gartner historically has found that leading enterprises respond rapidly to cut costs during a crisis and benefit greatly post-crisis.

Banks optimize IT costs with US Cloud Microsoft support

Top 4 Concerns of Banks Replacing Microsoft Support with US Cloud

#1 Ramp up speed – Will we lose time getting your resources familiar with our environments, projects, and open tickets?

Answer: US Cloud uses a 3 phased approach for a smooth transition of ticket workload, and client environment / project discovery. First, during the onboarding process US Cloud and the client triage and prioritize the existing tickets open with Microsoft. Second, the US Cloud TAM engages US Cloud DSEs for discovery related to any open and high priority tickets. Third, the US Cloud TAM engages a PM and DSEs regarding any open or near horizon projects. Express Onboarding is available to expedite as needed.

#2 Quality – With Microsoft, they wrote the code. How can you compete with that level of knowledge?

Answer: US Cloud does not have access to Microsoft source code. About 5% of our total ticket count needs to be escalated to Microsoft product teams for code bug fixes or tenant issues. We are able to resolve most issues because of our Microsoft certified US citizen engineers and elite MSP network. US Cloud has 20 years of experience hosting MSFT technologies from our global data centers so we aren’t new to running a successful 24/7 help desk and NOC. Our elite MSP network is comprised of the world’s top 1% of Microsoft Gold Partners to augment our team and assist with project service delivery.

Some are still not aware that a good portion of Microsoft Premier/Unified is outsourced to foreign entities Wipro and Tata. This decision supports Microsoft’s singular focus on selling software licenses/growing cloud services from its own data centers. The maintenance and support of these services is ancillary and a distraction. However, the support of Microsoft technologies is US Cloud’s primary focus. A large multi-national enterprise who replaced MSFT in Q3 2020 reported that US Cloud is “more responsive, professional and hits their SLAs.” IT leaders were satisfied with performance, procurement saved 31% and compliance appreciated US citizens on the other end of the phone.

#3 Availability – We know our DSEs and Microsoft account team. Will we have the same level of access to US Cloud resources?

Answer: The short answer is yes. During an interview with the St. Louis Business Journal, the CEO of US Cloud was asked what he looks for in a hire. “When you look at the US Cloud DNA you’ll find everyone is smart, passionate, curious and truly cares. It’s surprisingly hard to find that last trait, but it’s been our secret sauce since day 1.” US Cloud is a relationship-based business. Our clients are the business – you will get to know your TAM, CSR, DSEs and account manager well and they’re ready to support you when you need it most. We promise to listen, be responsive and act in your best interest.

#4 Escalation – Is there an escalation path for mission critical and highly technical issues?

Answer: Yes. US Cloud has a variety of avenues available to escalate tickets to Microsoft or the product teams. These avenues include our elite MSP network, MSFT Professional support and MSFT Premier Support for partners. Feel free to ask your TAM or US Cloud account manager for the US Cloud Ticket Escalation Workflow document so you and your enterprise team can understand the details.

“US Cloud is seeing unprecedented urgency from Global 2,000 and Fortune 500 organizations to replace Microsoft Premier/Unified support with US Cloud enterprise support services.”

Robert E. LaMear IV - CEO, US CLOUDRobert E. LaMear IV, CEO, US CLOUD

Epicenter of Microsoft Enterprise Support – US Cloud New HQ


Epicenter of Microsoft Enterprise Support - US Cloud New HQ

12855 Flushing Meadows Drive – US Cloud Global Headquarters

US Cloud is pleased to announce its new 50,000 square foot headquarters in Town and Country, Missouri (West St. Louis County). The new facility will serve as the organization’s global HQ for 24/7 Microsoft enterprise support services.

The New Home of US Cloud Support for Microsoft Technologies

US Cloud sent its employees home as the coronavirus pandemic spread throughout St. Louis this spring.

And now the firm that specializes in providing IT and Microsoft support won’t be returning to its Fenton office, but not out of a desire to embrace working from home permanently.

Instead, US Cloud, led by founder and CEO Rob LaMear, recently closed on a $4.4 million deal to acquire a vacant 50,000-square-foot office building at 12855 Flushing Meadows Drive in Town & Country from Rodger Riney, a founder of Scotttrade, which once occupied the building.

Collaborative Premier Support is Better

As companies across the country contend with decisions of whether, when and how to reenter the office, the technology industry is considered by some as the least likely to have employees return to a traditional work environment. Technology and financial services firm Square, which has a prominent office in St. Louis, announced it would allow employees to work from home indefinitely. In addition, commercial real estate brokers have said that deal flow has slowed as buyers paused negotiations due to uncertainties with the market and Covid-19.

All those factors make US Cloud’s decision to buy an office building more unusual. But the company said working from home just isn’t working for them.

“We all felt like we lost something. My office is outside the main engineering area, and I could hear how much over-the-shoulder collaboration could happen, the banter and relationships that happen when folks work together.”

Robert E. LaMear IV - CEO, US CLOUDMatthew Harris, PRESIDENT, US CLOUD

High Speed Support Ready

“That building sits right inside a primary fiber hub and decking that building with cutting edge infrastructure is really helpful to engineers. It’s difficult to replace that while working from home,” he said. “St. Louis is becoming more of a tech hub and is getting more competitive. We’re going to use this building to make it nice enough and more useful for folks to work at US Cloud.”

The deal was in the works prior to Covid-19 as the company was beginning to outgrow its 10,000-square-foot Fenton office, at 1714 Gilsinn Lane. US Cloud planned to lease some of its new space to another firm, but the company is exceeding its growth pace. After starting the year expecting sales to grow by 50%, it’s now expecting revenue to double, meaning it will need the entirety of its new Town & Country office.

“The support we offer is more reactive, trying to help clients with problems. You’re not sure what you’re going to deal with moment to moment, so to have a group where you can have cross pollination and learning osmosis is a real advantage,” said Harris, adding that the firm will be flexible with “some level of working from home.”

Enterprises Choose US Cloud over Microsoft Premier (Unified) Support Fuels Growth

If you use Microsoft software and services to power your business, chances are you’re also a Microsoft Premier Support customer. These systems and services are critical and require urgent attention to any issues, escalation and resolution of problems. Now, Premier Support customers are being asked to renew with a new offering – Unified Support – which Microsoft says will bring all support for online and on-premises products into one single agreement.

With Premier Support, you purchase a block of hours for different categories of support, such as Proactive and Problem Resolution Support (PRS) – a more flexible, customizable model to fit into your specific needs. With Unified Support, you will pay a percentage of your annual licensing costs for unlimited PRS and unlimited electronically delivered proactive support. The annual cost for Unified Support is 6% to 10% (depending on the level of Unified Support selected) of Office 365 and client software annual costs, and 8% to 12% of other software and online services annual cost.

So what does that mean for the vast majority of Microsoft Premier Support customers today? You won’t need to estimate/track hours, but if you’re a typical organization paying around 7% of annual Software Assurance cost for Premier Support, you will pay 30% to 60% more at Microsoft. If you think this is normal across office software and services vendors, think again: This change will mean those paying for Microsoft Support will pay 33 to 39 percent of licensing costs for maintenance – significantly higher than the industry standard 18 to 25 percent today.

“US Cloud is seeing unprecedented urgency from Global 2,000 and Fortune 500 organizations to switch from Microsoft Premier/Unified support to US Cloud Microsoft support services.”

Robert E. LaMear IV - CEO, US CLOUDRobert E. LaMear IV, CEO, US CLOUD

Growing MSFT Cloud Consumption Equals YOY Increases in Support Costs

Basing support charges on annual product and service spending allows MSFT to charge for support of its online (cloud-based) products – which will increase costs for products like Office 365. You may have to spend more to support Office server workloads running in Microsoft’s data centers than when you hosted them yourselves. Doesn’t that defeat one of the biggest purposes of cloud computing, which was cost savings?

Microsoft Premier and Unified Support Alternative - US Cloud

Next Steps:

Save 30-50% with US Cloud

US CLOUD is the only Gartner-recognized Microsoft Premier & MS Unified Support alternative. Enterprises worldwide are replacing Microsoft with US CLOUD to save 30-50% on support costs.

Enjoy ultra-responsive, 24/7 fanatical global support from domestic US teams while freeing up funds to invest in innovation, create competitive advantage, and drive growth.