In just a few days, Microsoft will complete its transition of all existing technical support plans worldwide to Unified Support. According to Microsoft, this move will make it easier for you to pick three levels of support without having to tally up your available problem resolution or reactive support hours. The available tiers of support include:
Microsoft is hoping that by transitioning to this model, you will breathe a sigh of relief. You’ll no longer need to worry about whether you are running out of hours during a particular time period. Less a la carte, more unlimited buffet.
But what does that unlimited buffet come with? According to some industry experts, it will come with a hefty price tag. If you’re in the US, you will pay 30% to 60% more for MS Premier Support. If you’re a country in the European Union – such as Germany, England, France, Ireland, Switzerland, and Luxembourg – currency fluctuations mean you can expect to pay up to 40%+ more for Microsoft Premier (Unified) Support.
As with other Microsoft online services, the company is charging you based on consumption. Costs will be based on your overall consumption of Microsoft online services as estimated in the prior year, even if you canceled services. The new Unified Support costs will also be tied to your Software Assurance payments, an annual cost you pay guaranteeing you receive software upgrades for the next major release along with some educational perks. It’s generally considered to have a separate purpose from getting support from Microsoft, but in the new Unified Support world it will all be mixed together. In the Unified Support model, you will be paying a premium for maintenance and support – 33 to 39%, significantly higher than the industry average of 18 to 25%.
If you think that you could use Unified Support for one area of your business and not for another, think again. If you use Microsoft online services, you must implement Unified Support across your entire organization. There is no wiggle room, no ability to customize based on your specific business needs.
It’d be one thing if enterprises were generally happy with Microsoft support, but many companies we speak with stay out of fear. They accept slow, confusing support from Microsoft because they believe they cannot put their jobs on the line to go with a third-party enterprise support provider. They think the train already left the station, and they need to just hang on for the ride.
The good news is that for what many consider to be a new “Microsoft Tax”, there is a way out. US Cloud got its start helping companies outsource their IT administration in 1999. Back then, SharePoint was just a project code-named Tahoe. Since then, US Cloud has been the first to host every version of SharePoint in the cloud. Along our journey, we’ve built up a significant knowledge base in managing virtually the entire Microsoft stack for clients around the world. US Cloud can help you break the vicious cycle of navigating the complex and frustrating world of Microsoft support.
For our European Union customers in Germany, England, France, Ireland, Switzerland, and Luxembourg, there is a Microsoft Unified Support alternative that will deliver higher quality support for a fraction of the cost as we approach July 1: