The True Value of Microsoft Unified Support Pricing

The True Value of Microsoft Unified Support Pricing

Microsoft Unified Support is an encompassing service tailored for businesses and enterprises, covering every SKU for Microsoft software. Yet, despite its wide coverage, most organizations do not fully utilize these services.

A deeper dive into this matter reveals significant insights that businesses and IT leaders need to consider on where they are spending their money for support services and the impact the services they are paying for have on their overall business model.

Microsoft Unified Support Price Value

Utilization of Microsoft Unified Support

An average enterprise typically relies heavily on just 5-8 Microsoft technologies to run its core business, a stark contrast to the full spectrum of services offered in a Unified Support contract.

This means that most organizations are potentially paying for support on Microsoft software they don’t even use. This under-utilization can be better understood by checking Unified reports to see where most support tickets fall.

Microsoft’s Unified Support also provides on-demand IT health assessments and technical training. However, these value-adds don’t see much use. IT health assessments, vital for baselines before migrations, are seldom used as most large enterprise IT teams don’t perform more than two migrations per year. Similarly, while excellent on-demand technical training is available, the high-value training enterprises seek is usually found elsewhere. Many prefer DSE level quality “train the trainer” that involves two-way dialogue and customized content.

Both elements, while seemingly adding value to your Premier Support package, actually pile on additional Unified Support costs that see no real return in value or benefits for your company. Always be sure to scrutinize where your Microsoft Support budget is going and the different elements it’s paying for.

Direct Access to Product Teams

One selling point of Microsoft Unified Support is the “formal access” to Microsoft Product Engineering teams. The Unified DVP Value Datasheet, created in 2022 and still used in the selling season of 2023, stresses this access.

However, most enterprises leaving MS Unified for US Cloud report no direct or formal access, therefore no added value. Understanding what “formal access” means and negotiating it into the Unified Agreement is essential, especially for enterprises focusing on bleeding-edge technology development.

Ask Microsoft what “formal access” means and how often you have access to a Microsoft Product Engineering team. If possible, ask for the commitment in your Unified Agreement. There is real value to be found for enterprises using bleeding edge development on top of technologies like AI. Depending on your relationship with Microsoft and your Azure spend you may find varying use of these services, but it’s important to know that they are an option. However, most enterprises that leave Microsoft Unified for US Cloud report that they had no direct or formal access to Microsoft Product engineering teams, meaning no added value.

Unified Enterprise Plan: Costly and Higher Margins

Microsoft’s shift to the Unified Enterprise plan from the previous Core, Advanced, and Performance plans has led to less choice and higher costs for customers.

The Unified Enterprise model is like a graduated pricing model, resembling a progressive tax, leading to more expenses for enterprises and better margins for Microsoft.

The model’s main drawback is the elimination of the ability to select the right support level, with a single tier now in place. This one-size-fits-all approach is likely to lead to a higher Unified Support cost for many enterprises. The new pricing calculation factors in Azure, server, and user spends from the last 12 months, leading to higher Year-Over-Year (YOY) spends. When the price starts to rise out of a reasonable range, it may be time to seek a Unified Support alternative like US Cloud.

Enhanced Solutions and the Cost Implications

Microsoft has introduced several new Enhanced Solutions to tailor the Unified experience. While these add-ons offer advanced capabilities, they also add to the overall bill.

These solutions include:

  • Enhanced Designated Engineering: Long-term, customized engagements with a team of experts to maximize technology value.
  • Support for Mission Critical: In-depth support for peak performance and preventative services to create stable environments.
  • Unified Enhanced Response: Accelerated response times with additional Microsoft experts for efficient resolution.
  • Office 365 Engineering Direct: A line to Office 365 product engineering teams for advanced monitoring and analysis.
  • Azure Event Management: Expert advisors for successful digital event planning and execution.
  • GitHub Engineering Direct: Expedited GitHub support for more effective management.

The True Value Behind Enterprise Support

Microsoft’s Unified Support offers an extensive array of services designed to meet every enterprise’s needs. However, many of these services are underutilized or misunderstood.

By carefully examining the Unified Support agreement, assessing actual needs, and negotiating terms, enterprises can ensure they are investing in the services they truly need. The challenge lies in balancing the need for high-value support with cost-efficiency. Being proactive in understanding and selecting the right options will enable organizations to leverage Microsoft Unified Support to its full potential, without overpaying for unnecessary services.

The dynamic business environment requires leaders to be discerning and agile in their approach to tech support, and the insights presented here provide a robust foundation for making informed decisions in the complex landscape of enterprise IT support.

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