Microsoft Premier Support for Public Sector Ends July 1, 2024

Microsoft Premier Support for Public Sector Ends July 1, 2024.

Microsoft Premier Support for the Public Sector Ends 7-1-24

On July 1, 2021, Premier Support agreements for new commercial customers  ended. On July 1, 2022, the same occurred for renewing commercial customers. As of July 1, 2023, Microsoft no longer offers Premier Support agreements for new public sector customers. Now, on July 1, 2024, Microsoft will no longer offer Premier Support agreements for renewing public sector customers. Public sector customers include National, Federal, State and Local Government (SLG), State-owned Enterprises (SOE), and Education (EDU).

Timeline of Microsoft Premier Support phase-out for commercial and public sector customers.
Timeline of Microsoft Premier Support phase-out for commercial and public sector customers.

Why is Microsoft Retiring Premier Support?

Microsoft Premier Support is being retired because Microsoft’s enterprise software and maintenance profitability numbers were not in line with other enterprise software OEMs such as Oracle, SAP, and Salesforce. In essence, Microsoft was advised by industry analysts that it was leaving money on the table with its antiquated Premier Support pricing model.

It is also clear that Microsoft is focusing the new Unified Support offering on its medium and large size enterprise clients who tend to consume more Cloud services (better margins than on-premise software). Cloud services are delivered via cost efficient multi-tenant hosting models and virtually eliminate piracy issues worth billions of dollars in additional revenue to Microsoft.

There are two major issues with the loss of Premier Support for enterprise commercial clients and public sector organizations. 1) The new Unified Enterprise Support model is significantly more expensive than Premier. 2) Unified Support value actually decreases as its cost increases with your Microsoft spend.

What Happens When My Premier Support Contract Ends?

What Happens When My Current Premier Support Ends?

Commercial and public sector customers who have a Premier Support contract up for renewal soon will need to switch to the Unified model. While Premier Support customers with multi-year contracts (mostly Fed/Gov) will still have access to Premier, they too will also be forced to move to Unified at renewal.

The Premier Support for Partners will remain in the market, but Premier Support for Partners Thru Direct will be gradually phased out in favor of the Unified Broker Program.

If you haven’t already, you should begin looking into Unified Enterprise Support and how much of your Premier support options can be grandfathered in during your renewal. Microsoft may be willing to make concessions for you on depending on your circumstances, though you will, overall, still be paying quite a bit more than you were under Premier.

Potential Drawbacks of Premier to Unified Transition

Switching from Microsoft Premier Support to Microsoft Unified Enterprise Support can bring several potential drawbacks. Here are some key considerations:

Cost Increase
– Unified Support is often more expensive than Premier Support, which can be a significant concern for organizations with tight budgets.

Service Level Changes
– The nature of the support may change, with different service levels and response times. Some organizations might find that the specific support they need isn’t as readily available or tailored under Unified Support as it was with Premier Support.

Complexity in Transition
– Transitioning from one support model to another can be complex and may require a learning curve for IT staff. This can cause temporary disruptions or inefficiencies during the switch.

Standardization
– Unified Support is a more standardized service offering, which means it might not be as customizable as Premier Support. Organizations with highly specific support needs might find Unified Support less flexible.

Contractual Differences
– The terms and conditions in the contracts may differ, leading to possible confusion or a need for renegotiation of specific terms that were favorable in Premier Support.

Resource Allocation
– Unified Support may involve different resource allocation strategies, potentially leading to less dedicated support or changes in how resources are prioritized.

Changes in Account Management
– The relationship with account managers and technical account managers may change, potentially leading to differences in the quality and familiarity of support received.

Access to Specific Services
– Some services or benefits that were included in Premier Support might not be available in the same form or at all under Unified Support. Organizations need to closely review what is included and what is not.

Reporting and Metrics
– Reporting tools and metrics available under Unified Support might differ from those in Premier Support, which can affect how organizations track and measure support performance.

Support Process Adjustments
– The process for requesting and receiving support might change, requiring adjustments in how IT teams interact with Microsoft support services.

Each organization will need to weigh these potential drawbacks against the benefits of Unified Support, such as potentially broader service coverage, simplified support structure, and access to a wider range of resources.

Options for Enterprise Support Customers

After July 1st, 2024, Unified is your only support option available from Microsoft capable of supporting enterprise size customers.

Other non-Microsoft options include DIY self-support or using your licensing provider and MSP/CSP for tier 1 and 2 support.

If you would prefer a support model similar to Microsoft’s previous Premier Support (tier 1-4) where you buy only the support hours you need, you may want to consider US Cloud. US Cloud is the #1 alternative to Microsoft Premier/Unified Support in the world per Gartner. We completely replace Unified Support delivering faster support for all Microsoft software and Cloud services at 30-50% less than Microsoft.

Switch to US Cloud

SAB Credits, Account Management & DSEs

Software Assurance Benefits (SAB)

Premier offers SAB credits, which are used to offset the cost of Premier Support. Anyone who uses Premier knows of or has at least heard of them. Under Premier, SAB credits could be used during the transitional period to alleviate some of the costs incurred during the switch to Unified.

However, Unified doesn’t offer SAB credits. These credits could effectively reduce the cost of the initial Unified support bill by up to 25%, but SAB credits were retired in February of 2022. Some companies out there may still have some credits that were grandfathered over as they continued their Premier usage, but those small assurances no longer exist under the Unified banner.

TAM vs CSAM

Premier had the Technical Account Manager (TAM) role as part of your support package. TAMs were typically more experienced in Microsoft technologies, with 10+ years of industry knowledge. Their responsibilities included:

  • Investigating the client’s business objectives.
  • Anticipating current and future technology needs.
  • Helping create strategic technology solution roadmaps for their clients.
  • Leading the proposed solution work-streams to bring clients to that future state.

Success for this role is dependent on customer satisfaction.

Unified does away with the TAM structure and replaces it with Customer Success Account Managers (CSAMs). CSAMs typically have 2-4 years of Microsoft technology experience. Their responsibilities include:

  • Driving program management.
  • Accelerating cloud adoption by providing cross-engagement oversight.
  • Orchestrating resources.
  • Working closely with key account team unit members and business partners to support customer success.

Their success metric is based on client cloud spend.

Designated Support Engineers

The Biggest Differences Between Unified and Premier Support

Designated Support Engineers (DSE) are an integral role for client success. Under Premier, DSE services were at a 400-hour minimum for all Microsoft technologies, with the associated cost being on the lower end. Under Unified, DSE services are at a 600-hour minimum bucket for Microsoft 365 and Azure DSEs.

All other Microsoft technologies have a 400-hour DSE threshold. The Unified rates are slightly higher than Premier and you have less assurances.

On the other hand, US Cloud offers DSE support based on your needs and 30-50% support savings for all Microsoft technologies on top of that.

Microsoft Premier vs Unified Enterprise Support

 

Feature Microsoft Premier Support (Retired) Microsoft Unified Enterprise Support
Availability No longer available (End of Life July 2024) Current offering
Pricing Model Tiered (Core, Advanced, Performance) with DSE (Designated Support Engineer) hour minimums and rates. $$ Unified pricing based on Microsoft spend and cloud usage. $$$$
DSE Minimum 400 hours (all technologies) 600 hours (Microsoft 365 & Azure), 400 hours (other)
DSE Rate $295 per hour $345 per hour
Initial Response Time 60 min critical
4 hour standard
30 min critical
2 hour standard
Account Management Assigned Technical Account Manager (TAM) Assigned Customer Success Account Manager (CSAM)
Technical Training Limited On-demand videos, labs, learning paths, webcasts
Proactive Services Limited Available through Flex Allowance or add-ons (included features vary)
Coverage Varied by tier Comprehensive coverage for entire organization


Similarities:

  • Both provide phone, online, and on-site support for Microsoft products.
  • Both offer faster response times for critical issues compared to standard Microsoft support.

Differences:

  • Premier Support is no longer available, while Unified Enterprise is the current offering.
  • Premier Support was a per-hour consumption model while Unified Enterprise is a % of total Microsoft spend + Cloud consumption.
  • Unified Enterprise generally offers faster initial response times than Premier Support.
  • Unified Enterprise provides less experienced CSAMs instead of Premier’s TAMs for account management.
  • Unified Enterprise offers comprehensive coverage for your entire organization, whereas Premier Support coverage varied by tier.
  • Unified Enterprise resolution times are generally slower than Premier due to comprehensive coverage volume and increased use of offshoring.

Seek Out Microsoft Premier Support Alternatives

Gartner recommends that all commercial enterprises and public sector organizations should consider a third-party support alternative such as US Cloud if they are unable to justify Microsoft Unified Enterprise Support’s cost, support logs contain sensitive data, or if the support quality is materially impacting system availability or customer/end user satisfaction.

Gartner and other industry analysts also suggest using US Cloud pricing as leverage during the Microsoft Unified Enterprise Support negotiation process. In some cases, the competitive quote from US Cloud will result in additional Microsoft discounting.

US Cloud knows that Unified is a struggle for some clients, which is why we help you save 30-50% on your annual support spend in addition to faster time to resolution and quicker responses. In fact, our 15-minute initial response time is financially backed and SLA guaranteed. Our team of All-American engineers has an average of 14 years of Microsoft technology experience, so you’re getting everything you need in one support package. Join hundreds of savvy enterprises worldwide who have made the switch to US Cloud for faster Microsoft support for less.

Get Microsoft Support for Less

Unlock Better Support & Bigger Savings

  • Save 30-50% on Microsoft Premier/Unified Support
  • 2x Faster Resolution Time + SLAs
  • All-American Microsoft-Certified Engineers
  • 24/7 Global Customer Support