Microsoft Third-Party Support Landscape at US Cloud

The Current Landscape of Microsoft Third-Party Support.

The Current Landscape of Microsoft Third-Party Support

Microsoft Support is evolving, embracing new forms of technology to improve its service offering. However, not every change brings a positive light to the service, and in some cases third-party support provides similar or better alternatives. While Microsoft is adjusting to the needs of multiple industries, third parties like US Cloud are making waves by moving faster and more efficiently than the software giant.

Microsoft Third-Party Support Landscape at US Cloud

Adoption of Third-Party Support Rises

Interest in third-party Microsoft Unified Support is rising, with enterprise leaders across multiple industries pushing technology leaders and procurement teams to cut costs without negatively impacting core services. The price of Microsoft Support continues to rise unchecked, leaving space for third parties to enter the mix at more affordable rates with similar, if not superior solutions.

Cost containment is also an important aspect of support solutions. As Microsoft increases the cost of their Unified Support, third parties instead focus on consistent costs to ensure maximized savings. In fact, Gartner reports that 2023 has seen an uptick in Fortune 500 interest in Microsoft Unified Support alternatives, with several reasons for this increase.

Recent waves of economic uncertainty have added pressure on CFOs to find more fiscally efficient support methods. While Microsoft is typically the obvious choice, their prices have risen so drastically in the past few years that it’s more feasible to seek out third-party help.

Finally, the largest alternative to Microsoft in Europe has left the market. EU companies are seeking third-party Microsoft Support vendors that can serve globally despite mounting economic pressures.

Gartner Recognition for Microsoft Support Services

In 2010, the IT analyst firm Gartner formed the Gartner Global IT Council for IT Maintenance. This entity was created to find and correct any imbalances between the value of maintenance fees and the revenue provided to vendors. Gartner has a long history with third-party support and maintenance providers and their maturation path. While some software vendors have tried to steer customers away from third-party support, they eventually realized that it was healthier to have market diversity while also forcing more competitive offerings.

Since starting to follow US Cloud in 2019 after its inception in 2017, Gartner has seen the third-party Microsoft Support provider gain momentum year-over-year. In 2022, US Cloud hit its five-year mark and reports began to come in showing consistently strong service reviews. The 2023 Third Party Support Report for Global Fortune 1000 clients will reflect that maturation and shared that in 2024, US Cloud plans to scale up its economical Microsoft support across federal, state, local, and education (SLED) markets as well as Europe.

Premier for Partner Agreement Validation

The 2023 Microsoft Premier for Partner agreement renewals prove that third-party Microsoft Support providers are fully compliant and able to escalate incidents and tickets as required. Microsoft Premier Support for Partners offers total managed support across the complete scope of Microsoft platforms and keeps up with their needs. With solutions such as rapid response times for partners and 24/7 elevated break/fix support, Premier Support for Partners continues to offer the best resolution services for any enterprise that relies on Microsoft technologies.

Third parties have access to this support network and can escalate tickets that exceed their capabilities through the system to reach dedicated Microsoft Support quickly. For instance, while US Cloud can complete 85% of our support tickets in-house, the remaining 15% are escalated to Microsoft without issue.

The Escalation Partner Network Grows

Third-party Unified Support options continue to expand their networks and grow beyond their limits. US Cloud has expanded its Elite MSP Network and escalation partners by 400% in 2023 to meet the support service demands. US Cloud’s Elite MSP Network is comprised of the nation’s top 1% of Microsoft Certified Partners in their respective areas of expertise.

This elite network gives enterprises on-demand access to hundreds of AI, Azure, Dynamics, and Microsoft 365 architects and designated engineers to support their IT teams, handle migrations, or deal with long-standing projects that have stalled due to workforce capacity or skill gaps. A network this big is created so clients never feel that they are lacking even the most basic support. This network is rapid, responsive, and capable of sustainable growth as more clients add to the demand.

Proof of Concept Trials to Assess Alternatives

Proof of Concept (POC) trials should be used to show the ability of a vendor to meet an enterprise’s requirements and prove the businesses case for contracting with the vendor. POC also prepares enterprises for a seamless transition into full implementation.

First, enterprise procurement and IT leaders identify Microsoft’s Premier Support/Unified Support as a cost and quality concern. Procurement success is measured by controlling cost, avoiding future cost increase, and regulating or reducing spend without impacting the bottom line. IT leaders are measuring success against system availability, strategic project completion, and end user experience.

After going over Key Performance Indicators (KPI), a single sponsor will be identified to make the “yes” or “no” decision on the POC sign-off. At this point, identify and bring in other stakeholders, which may include other leaders from different areas of the company. Prepare to involve legal to review the contract and compliance for regulatory requirements.

The POC is meant to demonstrate the viability of US Cloud replacing Microsoft Unified Support, to ensure that all nondisclosure agreements are executed, and validate a support service deliver success over a 30-day period. These will include Core Microsoft technologies, faster response time, faster time to resolution, and escalation to Microsoft.

Once a POC with US Cloud is complete, stakeholders should inform their teams to engage with US Cloud for all their Microsoft Support needs moving forward. Finance should assure the Purchase Order matches payment terms agreed to in the contract. US Cloud support hours consumed during the POC are chargeable and upon successful completion of the POC, consumed hours are deducted from the total hours of the contract. If the POC fails, the POC candidate is invoiced only for the support hours consumed.

Microsoft Unified Support and Third Parties

Times are changing, and the support that you would normally seek out from Microsoft is now found more affordably and more conveniently from third-party solutions. US Cloud leads the charge in providing companies the Microsoft Unified Support services they deserve, saving organizations 30-50% of their IT support spend each year. With 15-minute initial response times for any ticket and 100% US domestic engineers with an average of over 15 years of experience, we provide faster Microsoft support, for less.

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