As Microsoft converts its Premier Support customers to Unified Support, more and more people are exploring other options and switching to US Cloud Premier Support – a Microsoft Unified Support alternative. Here are 12 common questions answered about it:
Are Premier Support health checks or RAPs done remotely, or on site?
We have done both. We can establish a remote secure connection into your enterprise environment, or we can send some of our top Premier Support engineers to your site so that they can spend a few days doing assessments on-premises.
However, it’s usually more cost-effective to do health checks or Microsoft RAPs (Risk Assessment Program) via remote access.
Do you have any Premier (Unified) Support testimonials from customers using this service?
How are US Cloud Premier Support engineers different from Microsoft Unified Support engineers?
We guarantee that all US Cloud Premier Support engineers are screened US citizens (native English speaking). They are not “US based” H1B visa foreign nationals being co-located on US soil.
US Cloud’s “All-American” support team makes us one of the few support providers with ITAR/DFARS compliance.
I don’t mind waiting 30 minutes for MS Premier (Unified) Support to return my call, knowing that I have a qualified individual with access to millions of internal KBs, as well as access to several teams who know the product inside and out. I may get a call back in six minutes or less (from US Cloud), but am I getting the same type of knowledgeable support that Microsoft can offer?
The Premier Support engineer who picks up your request ticket at US Cloud will immediately get started on troubleshooting the ticket. They have access to our extensive knowledge base here that has been built up over 20 years of managing Microsoft applications, plus the experience gained from working with so many different kinds of hosted Microsoft environments – 2.1 billion logins managed and counting.
It’s not an auto-reply within six minutes saying that your Premier Support request has been received and then three days go by before anyone actually begins working on it. It’s a live Premier Support engineer on our staff jumping on it within six minutes.
And if it’s a business critical issue, the difference between six minutes and 30 minutes can make a huge impact on your enterprise. Our Premier Support customers typically appreciate the 24 minute head-start over MS Unified.
How many of our Enterprise users can call in for Premier Support?
Customer discretion. Three to seven Enterprise contacts seems to be the norm. Beyond seven has historically caused accountability heartache for Enterprise customers. US Cloud safety protocols require that they must be on the customer’s tech contact or admin list to submit a Premier Support request.
Many customers are now using internal distribution lists to keep stakeholders updated on ticket status. Obviously, “distro” lists can’t open Premier Support tickets, but we can certainly add them to resolution threads.
Does US Cloud Premier Support cover Microsoft Active Directory (AD), Directory File Services (DFS) or Group Policy Object (GPO)?
Yes to all. With more than 20 years of supporting Microsoft technologies, US Cloud Premier Support can look at your Microsoft enterprise support usage report, if you’re a current Microsoft Premier or Unified Support customer, or do a needs analysis with you, and customize a concierge-style support plan to provide your Enterprise support team with the Microsoft support you need for the MS products you rely on. You will only pay for the Premier Support hours you need.
How much experience do you have with Microsoft Premier (Unified) Support, exactly?
We have been supporting Microsoft technologies since 1996 and have resolved more than 62,000 support tickets with less than 1% escalated to Microsoft Premier, Unified and product teams. US Cloud Premier supports all Microsoft technologies, except for Dynamics AX and Visual Studio.
We have designed and operated large hosted Microsoft private clouds for enterprise customers such as Coca-Cola, HP, British Petroleum, US Army, Overstock, Intel, Fidelity, Blue Cross, NASA and St. Jude. Managing over 2.1 billions logins and counting.
We have MCSE certifications for Database, Infrastructure, Cloud, and SharePoint; MCSA certifications for Windows Server, Office 365, Exchange, SharePoint, Azure, SQL Server, Visual Studio, and Web Apps; MTA certifications for Windows Server, Office 365, Exchange, SharePoint, Azure, SQL Server, Visual Studio, Web Apps, Skype for Business, Windows 10, Developer, and IT Infrastructure. We also have Amazon AWS, VMware, Cisco CCNA, CCNP, A+, Network+, Security+, Cloud+, and MOS certifications.
When it comes to resolving issues with Microsoft products, how often does US Cloud Premier Support reach out to Microsoft directly?
Less than 1% of US Cloud Premier Support tickets are escalated to Microsoft Premier, Unified or product teams. It only happened four times in 2017, and all of those were for Microsoft code bugs.
We won’t abandon you in that situation though. We’ll white glove the escalation to Microsoft so you can stay focused on your business.
The pricing you have for Microsoft Premier (Unified) Support seems to be different than my contract or Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA)?
We find that MS Premier (Unified) Support contracts vary greatly by customer like Enterprise Agreements (EA). In most cases, customers are overpaying either in actual rate or the level of support/responsiveness.
Our recent experience with clients has shown that most customers will see a 30-60% price increase from Microsoft Premier Support to Unified Support. In some cases 300-500%! MS Unified Support covers unlimited hours, but for organizations that don’t need unlimited hours and only want to pay for what they need, US Cloud Premier Support can save them at least 30-60% compared to Microsoft Unified Support.
Plus, our clients have found that their spend is more efficient with US Cloud Premier Support, due to our ability to have our All-American engineers (literally, all screened US citizens, native English-speaking) jump on tickets and start working the issue within six minutes, instead of working your way through extensive Microsoft Premier (Unified) Support phone trees, overseas call center escalations, and complicated online portals, explaining your issue over and over from the beginning, as you try to reach someone who can actually help.
We are confident we can deliver better service while saving customers Microsoft enterprise support dollars that they can put into more important areas of the company.
Why would I use US Cloud Premier Support Instead of Microsoft Premier (Unified) Support for our Microsoft enterprise support needs?
US Cloud Premier Support engineers are exposed to more diverse environments and problems than most highly-specialized and siloed Microsoft Premier (Unified) engineers. Our guys and gals support 1,500 customized Microsoft server farms. No two are alike. We fix more Microsoft SharePoint problems in the first 30 days after a product release than anyone else on the planet.
100% of our Premier Support engineers are screened US citizens and natural, native English speakers. Nothing against Microsoft Premier (Unified)’s outsourced overseas call centers, but our clients say they truly appreciate the ease and clarity of communication with our teams — as well as the security (ITAR/DFARS compliant) and piece of mind that comes with all All-American support.
The cost savings is significant. Since we grow all our Premier Support engineers, we can scale and serve you more efficiently. Most customers save anywhere from 30-60% annually or more.
Response times under 6 minutes doesn’t hurt either.
Do you have any leverage with Microsoft to get bugs fixed faster?
It depends. We do have direct access to development teams at Microsoft and if there is a truly urgent matter Microsoft will listen and respond. But Microsoft is also a business. Repairing bugs is about volume and risk. How many people (measured in revenue) are having the issue and how much risk is there to damaging to Microsoft brand by not repairing it sooner than later?
Our promise is that we will truly care about delivering exceptional support to your team and will advocate daily on your behalf with Microsoft.
Do I still get a dedicated Technical Account Manager (TAM) with US Cloud Premier Support?
US Cloud Premier Support provides a dedicated, US citizen technical account manager (TAM) in its top two Premier Support plans, and a shared TAM delivery service team in its core Premier Support plan.
Do I still need my Enterprise Agreement (EA) with Microsoft if I Choose US Cloud Premier Support instead of Microsoft Premier (Unified) Support?
That is a question for you, your CIO and CFO. Some companies are finding they can drastically reduce their Microsoft bill by dropping their Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) and buying/renting only what they truly consume and outsourcing their Microsoft Premier (Unified) Support services to a reputable third party provider like US Cloud.
I see that your Premier Support initial response time (IRT) is guaranteed at 6 minutes or less but what is your average ticket time to resolution (TTR)?
It depends. In 2018, US Cloud Premier Support resolved an Azure issue within 30 seconds of talking to a former MS Unified enterprise customer. That same year we had a Microsoft Office 365 mailbox issue drag on for 30 days because we had to engage the Microsoft O365 product team.
We have TTR metrics available but most issues are resolved in days, not weeks. And obviously, high severity issues are worked 24/7 until resolution – success measured in minutes rather than hours.
Take the Next Step for An Azure Support Plan at US Cloud
US Cloud is the proven leader in providing reputable Microsoft enterprise support services to clients world-wide. We enable Microsoft Premier (Unified) Support customers to enjoy ultra-responsive support from US citizens, save 30-60% on support costs and free up funds to drive innovation.