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 25% to 30% more for Unified Support according to Gartner Research. 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.
Basically, it’s a cash cow for Microsoft: Basing support charges on annual product and service spending allows the company 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?
Here’s another important question: Is the service you’re going to receive with Unified Support really all that much better than Premier Support? Premier Support included hours for proactive and problem resolution service. Organizations had to estimate and track hours carefully to ensure they didn’t pre-purchase too many hours, used all them by the end of the contract, and they would have enough to last the entire year.
Here were some other challenges with Microsoft’s hourly premier support:
- If you didn’t use your hours, you lost them – no rollover
- You had to track your hours to ensure you were billed properly by Microsoft
- You needed to coordinate support needs and utilization across all of your teams using the hours
- Difficult problems could use large numbers of hours without you even knowing it
Microsoft’s marketing of the shift to Unified Support is focused on not having to constantly count hours, but as we wrote about last week, even some aspects of Unified Support will require you to pay extra on top of the 30% cost increase you’ll be on the hook for. Unsurprisingly, many companies are now looking for Microsoft Premier Support alternatives.
Look no further than US Cloud, Gartner’s only Microsoft Premier Support alternative, offering:
- 25-30 percent cost savings – Only purchase the support you need and don’t pay extra for support on products you don’t use.
- Hours that never expire – Your support hours never expire with us, and since you’re only paying for the support you need, it allows you to make a smarter financial decision for your business without sacrificing quality.
- Billing on your terms – We offer subscription billing and installment options that meet your specific needs.
- 5x faster response – Microsoft Premier Support average response times hover around 30 minutes. US Cloud will respond to your ticket in 6 minutes.
- A white glove customer experience, every time – We won’t make you repeat your issue over and over again when we transfer you to the right experts to solve your issue. Our only goal is your complete satisfaction.
- USA-based support – You will never be outsourced to a call center overseas. All US Cloud staff are located in St. Louis, Missouri.
- Two decades of Microsoft experience – US Cloud is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and Cloud Solution Provider, meaning we are experts in the ins and outs of Microsoft technologies.
Not convinced yet? Check out our interactive price calculator, which gives you complete transparency into how much you’ll have to pay for support depending on how much you need. Then, contact us to learn more and get a free trial.