Microsoft Enterprise Agreement Plus Unified Support Is Not Better Together

EA + Unified = Not Better Together

Adding Microsoft Unified Support to your MS Enterprise Agreement (EA) should be avoided at all costs, according to IT analysts and professional negotiators.

Bundling the two together allows Microsoft to hide costs and increase margin while the 3 year term of the EA locks you in, removing the opportunity to save millions of dollars with viable alternatives to Unified.

Audience: Microsoft Vendor Management | IT Sourcing & Procurement | CIO

Microsoft Enterprise Agreement EA Plus Unified Support - Not Better Together

Bundling Equals Better Margins

Sales professionals know that bundling services together typically yields better profit margins. Microsoft is an expert at bundling services and increasing margins.

Microsoft 365 licensing bundles for enterprises are a well-known example.  On the other hand, Enterprise Agreements with Premier or Unified Support bundled together are less well-known but equally effective at driving support revenue at Microsoft.

By bundling Premier or Unified Support with the EA, Microsoft quietly picks up another 6-12% in margin and avoids scrutiny and analysis of Unified Support’s rapidly expanding costs. Microsoft astutely understands that EA negotiators and IT Procurement may not have the time or appetite to dive into their Unified Support bill or engage Gartner, IDC, or InfoTech for assistance.

As a percentage of the overall Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, Premier or Unified Support looks insignificant, but when converted to real dollars, it is meaningful. Negotiators and IT Procurement should plan accordingly and analyze Premier or Unified Support costs outside the EA to reduce their overall Microsoft spend and preserve their enterprise IT budget.

Lost Cost Avoidance Opportunity

Microsoft Enterprise Agreements are 3-year agreements. If you include Premier or Unified Support in your EA, you are locked into Microsoft for support for at least 3 years.

This vendor lock-in may result in your enterprise’s inability to both avoid Unified support cost increases via annual true-up at Microsoft and take advantage of cost savings opportunities outside of Microsoft.

By adding Premier or Unified Support to your Microsoft EA, your organization may assume that its support costs will be contained.  Unfortunately, this will not be the case if your cloud consumption is growing like most companies. Your enterprise’s support spend baseline will true-up once per year, most likely establishing a new and higher cost baseline for Microsoft support.

If IT Procurement or your EA negotiator bundles Premier or Unified Support with the Enterprise Agreement you will not be able to explore alternatives to Microsoft for at least 3 years. Analysts report 30-50% cost savings is possible with third-party Microsoft support. Gartner, IDC, and InfoTech and have each identified viable alternatives to Microsoft Premier and Unified Support. Organizations moving away from Microsoft earlier are able use their savings strategically to grow while others are shackled to their Microsoft EA.

Millions of Dollars at Stake

It pays to keep your Microsoft Enterprise Agreement separate from your Premier or Unified Support Agreement. In many cases, millions of dollars.

While Unified Support typically only makes up 4-6% of an Enterprise Agreement’s total cost, it is often worth over 10 million dollars, over 3 years, to Fortune 500 and Global 2000 companies.

In the past, some Sourcing and Procurement leaders have elected to play it safe with OEM support from Microsoft and not explore alternatives to Premier or Unified Support.  However, record-high inflation and recessionary economic conditions are now forcing organizations of all sizes and industries to scrutinize their Microsoft spends.

Winning enterprises are responsibly cutting Microsoft support costs while maintaining quality with viable third-party support providers. Analyst market guides and Proof of Concepts are available for research and risk mitigation. Once satisfied, these forward-thinking organizations are able to use the millions in cost savings to drive growth and outpace industry competitors.

Microsoft Outsourced Support to India Struggling with COVID19

MICROSOFT OUTSOURCED SUPPORT TO INDIA STRUGGLING WITH COVID19

MICROSOFT OUTSOURCED SUPPORT TO INDIA STRUGGLING WITH COVID19

Coronavirus has arrived in India’s big cities Mumbai, Bengaluru and New Delhi. The recent spike prompted the Modi government to recommend sweeping lockdowns.


The vulnerability of 1.3 billion people in India is truly terrifying. But there is another reason it should concern Microsoft support clients specifically: Outsourcing giants Tata and Wipro handle a massive portion of Microsoft Support requests – and they are now in a mad scramble to cope with the unfolding crisis in India.

India's Huge Outsourcing Industry Struggles With Work-From-Home Scenario

If you were unhappy with Premier or Unified Support responsiveness before, buckle up.


HEADLINES FROM THIS WEEK:

“India’s Huge Outsourcing Industry Struggles With Work-From-Home Scenario”

New York Times, March 25

“World’s back office scrambles to stay online as India locks down amid coronavirus outbreak”

The Straits Times, March 24

“India’s Outsourcing Industry In Shambles…”

British Herald, March 26

“Covid-19: Work from Home Option Only for 40% Tata Staffers”

Economic Times, March 25


Freefall

US Cloud is already hearing from prospects and new clients that Microsoft Support response times and service levels are in freefall since the crisis took hold. The disruption of these massive companies trying to transition to a work-from-home structure for the first time cannot be underestimated.

One example regarding the scale and speed of the transition: right now, Tata is reportedly shipping 6,000 new laptops to employees’ homes EVERY DAY.

WFH

But getting the equipment up and running is only a fraction of the issue. 40% of Indians do not have access to the internet, according to tech industry analyst Gartner. Millions more are limited to slower dial-up Internet service.

Only 54% of India’s companies are equipped to work from home.
— Gartner Research & Advisory

And as many US companies are experiencing, managing a remote workforce requires different human supervision, performance monitoring, new software, tools, and processes.

Keshav Murugesh, chairman of India’s main IT trade association NASSCOM, said, “Moving millions of desktops to employees’ homes, configuring software to allow for slower bandwidth and ensuring cybersecurity – it’s a mind-boggling physical and logistical exercise that our companies are in the midst of right now.”


During the best of times, moving to a work-from-home model is a challenge. The chaos currently engulfing Indian tech services and BPO firms is no surprise.

India Covid-19 lockdown forcing IT-BPO companies to completely shut down

In places where a lockdown has been announced, local authorities are forcing IT-BPO companies to completely shut down. Economic Times, March 25


US Cloud Response to Crisis

First and foremost, everyone at US Cloud is hoping that the Indian people will be spared the worst of this global pandemic. And we truly hope Microsoft and their offshore partners are successful in their efforts to transition their employees to a safer workspace.

For those Microsoft Support clients who are struggling during this time, regardless of their intention to explore permanent options outside MSFT Support, US Cloud is here to help. We are temporarily suspending our set pricing policies and minimums to work with clients on a case-by-case basis if they need assistance. After significantly scaling up operations in 2019, US Cloud successfully moved all of our 100% US workforce to a WFH model before the mandated shutdowns. We are working at near full efficiency and ready to lend a hand.

Microsoft Support Alternative US Cloud Launches Reseller Program

MICROSOFT SUPPORT ALTERNATIVE US CLOUD LAUNCHES RESELLER PROGRAMMicrosoft Support Alternative US Cloud Reseller Program

St.Louis, MOMarch 5, 2020:  US Cloud today formally announced the recent launch of the US Cloud Premier Support for Microsoft Technologies – Reseller Program, a channel program that makes it easy for VARs and MSPs to resell US Cloud’s Microsoft Premier (Unified)  Support alternative.

We’ve gotten a ton of interest from various Microsoft resellers and managed IT providers over the last two years.  Their clients have been as frustrated by Microsoft’s service and pricing as ours have been.”  — Robert Perez, SVP US Cloud Dedicated Channel Team

Overview – US Cloud Microsoft Support Reseller Program

VARs and MSPs who partner with US Cloud to provide Microsoft Premier Support can resell or refer to their clients, choosing the method that works best for their organization. US Cloud provides all Premier Support Resellers with technical support from a 24/7 help desk for all Microsoft technologies, as well as access to marketing materials and a dedicated program team to help close deals.

Benefits of Reselling US Cloud Microsoft Support

  • Helping VARs and MSPs build recurring revenue
  • Slashing clients’ Microsoft support costs
  • Reducing client MSFT support frustration
  • Freeing up IT budgets for more strategic projects

VARs and MSPs Build Recurring Revenue, Slash Clients’ MSFT Support Costs

“It’s hero-level stuff when you can go to a client with an option that saves them tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars while also addressing a major pain-point,” continued Perez. “And by the way, partners can also finally get commissions on a Microsoft service line previously unavailable to them. It’s a big win-win for our Channel Partners.”

US CLOUD PREMIER SUPPORT RESELLER PROGRAM – JOIN NOW

Microsoft Premier (Unified) Support Alternative - US Cloud

Become a Microsoft Premier Support Reseller at US Cloud to build recurring revenue while slashing your clients’ Microsoft support costs. Reduce client MSFT support frustration and free up their IT budgets for more strategic projects.  Learn more »

Microsoft Support Data Breach

MICROSOFT SUPPORT DATA BREACH

Microsoft breach - Msft support data breach

250 million Microsoft customer support records, spanning 14 years were exposed online without password protection. The Azure database was exposed from December 5 to December 31, 2019.

Misconfigurations are unfortunately a common error across the industry. We have solutions to help prevent this kind of mistake, but unfortunately, they were not enabled for this database. — Microsoft Security Response Center Team, January 22, 2020 Blog

Overview – MSFT Support Data Breach

  • Microsoft has revealed it suffered a security breach in its customer support database.
  • In a blog post, MSFT said that it was accidentally exposed online between December 5 and December 31, 2019.
  • The database consisted of a cluster of five Elasticsearch servers on Azure.
  • They contained 250 million entries, with data such as email addresses, IP addresses, and support case details.
  • Microsoft said most of the records didn’t contain any personal user information (PII).
  • But there were some cases where customer support requests included non-standard formatted data.
  • In those cases, the data was not redacted and remained in the exposed database.
  • Microsoft said it notified impacted customers and that it hasn’t found any malicious use of the data.
  • Microsoft blamed the server exposure on misconfigured Azure security rules it deployed in December 2019.
  • Forbes and security provider Sophos both reported on the breach.

Enterprises Impacted – Microsoft Support Data Breach

If your enterprise was impacted by the Microsoft support data breach you will receive a notification letter from Microsoft. It’s important to know that Microsoft will never call you regarding a data breach incident. If you do get a call, it is most likely a scammer.

How is US Cloud Microsoft Support Data Secure?

US Cloud is receiving a steady stream of queries from current Microsoft Premier (now Unified) support customers who are considering US Cloud as a third-party alternative for enterprise Microsoft support services. With the recent Microsoft breach, enterprises are concerned about the security of their support data.

Here is how US Cloud is different regarding Microsoft’s customer support data breach:

  • US Cloud Microsoft Support Data at Rest EncryptionAll US Cloud Premier Support databases are encrypted in transit and at rest.
  • All US Cloud Premier Support databases are stored in a secure private cloud.
  • US Cloud Premier Support databases are pruned to limit multi-year spanning.

Optimize MSFT Support Costs Now to Emerge Stronger Than Competitors

Gartner has identified US Cloud as the only independent third-party support alternative to Microsoft. Enterprises can replace MSFT Premier/Unified with US Cloud and drop an immediate costs savings of 30-50% in year 1.

Microsoft Premier and Unified Support Alternative - US Cloud

Next Steps:

Save 30-50% with US Cloud

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.