What to Ask When Negotiating Your Microsoft Unified Support Renewal

What to Ask When Negotiating Your Microsoft Unified (Premier) Support Renewal.

What to Ask When Negotiating Your Microsoft Unified/Premier Support Renewal

If your business uses Microsoft software or services in any capacity, you probably use either Unified or Premier support as well. Those using Premier will eventually have to switch to Unified, while those on Unified are already dealing with the financial and process struggles that come with the model.

While Unified caters to a variety of businesses due to its diverse support range, you may have noticed up to this point that these support capabilities are similar to a shallow lake. There’s a wide degree of experience and support, but shallow effort and expensive fees bog down what could be an ideal solution. When negotiating your support contract renewal with Microsoft, it’s critical to know what questions to ask.

What to Ask When Negotiating Your Microsoft Unified Support Renewal

Why Are Premier/Unified Support Costs Rising 20% Year Over Year (Per Gartner)

Microsoft Unified Price Continues to Increase

As more services are added to the long list of options available to businesses, the price of Unified continues to grow. Since there are more solutions to support, Microsoft wants to see greater returns for their support services, which now have new lines of business to manage. Recently, companies find that the price of Unified Support has risen 30-50% over the past few years, with another 30% increase expected by the end of this year.

Microsoft Premier was a $3.3 billion business that employed over 22,000 people across the world. The shift to Unified came with multiple organizational changes, chief among them being the increased price. Existing customers found that they were now expected to pay whatever Microsoft dictated without a guarantee on improved services to compensate for the rise in prices.

As prices continue to rise and new services like Copilot hit the market, businesses are starting to wonder how they are expected to deal with all these changes. The answer comes from your contract negotiations.

Utilize These Killer Questions at Your Microsoft Support Contract Negotiation

Microsoft Support Contract Negotiation Questions

If you want to maximize the effectiveness of your Microsoft technologies, you need support services that can keep everything running without impacting your work. When negotiations are on the table, there are a few questions you should use to help determine if Microsoft Unified is worth the cost or if a third-party alternative is the way to go.

Who is working the tickets?

Do you know who is troubleshooting and working your tickets? While you would assume that all of your tickets are going to a Microsoft professional, you would find that this is only the case for your most serious tickets. Many tickets that are lower priority or that exceed the current workload are sent to third-party vendors overseas. You can tell based on the email, since they will have a v-badge in the address. If you’re paying for premium support, that’s what you deserve.

Make sure you know who is handling your tickets and ensure that none of them are being handled by foreign nationals, as this puts your data at risk. This is especially true during a renewal negotiation, where you can use third-party support options as a comparison against Microsoft’s services. Entities like US Cloud only use domestic engineers, so there is no threat of leaked data overseas.

Do I have payment flexibility?

While you had some degree of flexibility under the Premier model based on hourly use, Unified uses a bucket of hours on a tier system. You pay based on a percentage of your office 365 and software annual costs, along with a cut of your other software and online services annual costs. This can get expensive quickly, especially for larger companies. You’re at the whims of Microsoft to determine whether or not your price stays consistent for the year. Based on the past year alone, Unified prices are never set in stone. Try to lock down a payment plan during your negotiations and use third-party options as a comparison to force Microsoft’s hand.

Can initial response times be improved?

Unless you pay for the highest tier of Unified support, your initial response times will sit anywhere between 30 minutes and 8 hours of your ticket submission. This is just for initial response times too. When it comes to ticket resolution, expect at least a few more hours if not days to see some semblance of an answer. Unfortunately, the answer will likely be no if you ask this during your renewal negotiations, but you can use third-party guaranteed response times from businesses like US Cloud to leverage improved options.

What happens when my primary TAM or DSE is unavailable?

Do you have a named backup Technical Account Manager (TAM) or Designated System Engineer (DSE) on the contract? If not, odds are that you will be sent to whoever has availability. Worse, you may have to suffer through radio silence for a few days or weeks until they can address your problem. While not ideal, this is the reality of the Microsoft Unified structure. If possible, make sure that your renewal covers backups and primary TAMs/DSEs. If you can’t get a guarantee from Microsoft, a third-party alternative like US Cloud can ensure that you have a dedicated team on standby for all of your support needs.

What are the financial penalties of failing to meet response time SLAs?

Microsoft doesn’t have financially guaranteed SLAs. Even during renewal negotiations, that isn’t something you can ask to have added. You get a rough promise that they will address your ticket within a certain timeframe after submission, but that’s as far as they are willing or able to go. Their dedicated services are stretched thin, so you are left in limbo, hoping that they get back to you in a timely manner. US Cloud, on the other hand, offers financially backed SLAs that guarantee a 15-minute response time to any ticket submitted, regardless of priority.

Get Ready to Save 50% on Your Microsoft Unified (Premier) Support

As you’ve probably guessed by now, your renewal negotiations will be filled with questions on what Unified can provide, especially as the prices continue to rise. However, you’ve also probably realized that all these questions can be answered by US Cloud. Our service is a complete replacement of Unified Support, offering everything that Microsoft does, but faster and more professionally.

We save companies 50% on their annual support spend, have a team of dedicated domestic engineers to handle all your needs, and have financially backed SLAs to ensure that your tickets are handled as soon as possible. When you need faster Microsoft support for less, look to US Cloud.

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