Thousands of businesses across the world use Microsoft software and services to power their innovative efforts. Entire industries are dominated by Microsoft solutions, so you would hope that the support for these vital functions would be as capable as their services.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case for the past few years, with Premier and Unified Support quality taking a dive while prices continue to rise. Some businesses out there are in the process of renewing their support contracts for Unified, which begs the question: how does Microsoft calculate their Unified Support prices?
Unified offers unlimited reactive support hours at three tiers – Core, Advanced, and Performance – which have a minimum contract size of $25,000, $50,000, and $175,000 respectively. The overall pricing is based on the previous 12-months of cloud service purchases, Azure consumption, license-only purchases, and License + Software Assurance purchases.
The renewal process is stressful enough, you don’t need questions like “what goes into Unified Support pricing calculations” to be looming overhead as well. Getting full transparency from Microsoft is tough though, since lacking a standard price list puts you one step behind in negotiations during a renewal and keeps you in Microsoft’s palm. While having their price lists published is required by law, it’s still difficult to completely gauge how much you’ll be expected to pay, especially when the pricing structure is as volatile as it is now.
Companies that are moving from Premier to Unified find that the Unified Support cost is 30-200% more than they were paying previously, while companies renewing their Unified Support contract find that the price of standard support has risen 30-50%, with another annual 30%+ increase on the horizon.
There are two major reasons for this shift. First, companies have Software Assurance (SA) credits that can be applied to payments as a discount. These SA credits are an invaluable resource when switching over from Premier to Unified, but are a double-edged sword. While you save money during the service transfer, you dry out your discount reserves. This leaves many companies without discounts when they are about to renew, causing a price spike.
The second reason behind the price hike is the direct correlation between consumption of Microsoft products and services and the price. Unified Support is based on the amount of Cloud services, Azure services, and license-only services you are using each year. As this amount scales up, the price rises to match it. While this isn’t as impactful in a bubble, the global use of Microsoft products has risen over time, leading to constant price increases that can change yearly depending on Microsoft’s projections. While this keeps Microsoft in the green, this leaves many companies wondering how much of their IT budget is safe to cut to stay out of the red.
Overseas engineers, organizational role adjustments, and higher ticket response times have rubbed many clients the wrong way, especially for the price many are paying for these services. When your renewal time arrives, it may be in your best interest to assess how useful Microsoft Support has been for you and if alternatives can offer you a better solution.
Going into your Unified Support renewal with Microsoft requires a plan of action. Make sure you understand the offerings on each tier of Unified Support and how these tiers would meet your needs. US Cloud has a few resources available to help navigate the negotiation process with tips on preparation and the conversation with your Microsoft account manager. If you’re coming from Premier, Unified conversations are a bit different. For those on Unified already, you already know they are going to try and use any tactic necessary to get the renewal, so come to the table with hard-hitting questions and data.
If the numbers aren’t adding up or seem too high for your liking, searching for alternative options is never a bad time investment. You don’t have to tackle Microsoft Support alone. There are a variety of ways to gain support or different elements of the Unified Support solutions without paying more for less. Bring in an unbiased expert to assist you or your sourcing team with vetting recommendations. These entities can also help structure your Enterprise Agreements (EAs), Software Agreements (Sas), and Support agreements to boost utilization and lower your overall spend.
US Cloud can help you prepare for your EA, SA, and Support renewal conversations. In fact, bring our name up during those discussions and watch Microsoft lower the price of renewal right before your eyes. If you’ve had enough of their support options and want a fresh start, US Cloud can help as well. We advise and support at the same time. If you want 30-50% lower support spend in the first year, fully US-based engineers, and 15-minute guaranteed response times to tickets of all severities, look no further than US Cloud.