Why Does Microsoft Offshore Their Unified Support?

Why Does Microsoft Offshore Their Unified Support?.

Why Does Microsoft Offshore Their Unified Support?

Microsoft offshores a good portion of its Unified Support for a couple simple reasons. First, it’s not what Microsoft does. Microsoft is a software company so providing support is not a core competency. Second, Microsoft is focused on profitability. Software company gross margins (70-85%) are much, much higher than support services gross margins (35-50%). Offloading support overseas to a third-party makes sense when your primary driver is profitability.

However, using overseas resources for Microsoft support is not without its risks or headaches as many Unified Enterprise Support customers can attest. There is risk to giving foreign nationals insight into enterprise Microsoft systems that may house sensitive data. There is also the inconvenience of language barriers and diminished support quality once your support ticket leaves the continent.


Why Does Microsoft Offshore Their Unified Support?

Offshore Support Personnel Cost Less

Offshore Microsoft Unified support personnel cost less

Microsoft offshores some its enterprise support services in order to cut costs and maximize its margins. By offshoring Unified support, it is able to lower labor costs, scale more efficiently, and save on infrastructure.

  • Lower Labor Costs: One of the primary drivers is to lower labor costs by outsourcing support to overseas third-party providers. Salaries for qualified support staff can be significantly lower (50-80%) in India, Philippines, Costa Rica, or Columbia compared to the U.S. or other developed economies.

  • Economies of Scale: By centralizing support operations in a few offshore locations, Microsoft can achieve economies of scale. This allows them to leverage a larger pool of support staff, reducing costs per interaction and support ticket.

  • Infrastructure Savings: Setting up and maintaining support infrastructure is expensive. Offshoring allows Microsoft to utilize existing foreign investment infrastructure or benefit from lower infrastructure costs in the chosen overseas location.


IT Supply Chain Risk of Offshored Unified Support

While offshoring Microsoft support offers cost benefits, there are also potential dangers for enterprises to consider. Here are some key areas of concern:

  • Communication Issues: Language barriers and cultural differences can lead to misunderstandings and frustrations. Technical details might be misinterpreted, or troubleshooting steps might be unclear due to accents or different communication styles.

  • Data Security Risks: Offshoring raises concerns about data security. Sensitive information might be exposed if Microsoft’s security protocols in the offshored location are inadequate, or data breaches occur. This could be particularly risky for organizations dealing with sensitive data.

  • Reduced Problem-Solving Ability: Complex technical issues might require a deeper understanding of the specific software and user environment. Offshored support staff might have less experience with these nuances, leading to longer resolution times or incomplete solutions.

  • Compliance Issues: Depending on the location and regulations, data privacy laws could be stricter in your region compared to where the support is provided. This could raise compliance concerns for enterprises with strict data residency requirements.

  • Limited Technical Expertise: While Microsoft undoubtedly trains its offshored staff, they might not have the same level of expertise as US Cloud (average 14.8 years Microsoft support experience). This could be a disadvantage for users requiring highly specialized troubleshooting or in-depth product knowledge.

  • Time Zone Discrepancies: Depending on the time zone difference, reaching offshored support during your business hours might not always be possible. This could lead to delays in resolving critical issues that impact your productivity.

Here are some additional factors that enterprises should take into consideration when they run into “v-dash” support personnel (offshore contractors) from Microsoft handling their tickets.

  • The level of support you require: For basic troubleshooting, offshored support might be sufficient. However, for complex technical issues, you might benefit from the expertise of US Cloud.
  • Microsoft’s security measures: Research the security protocols Microsoft has in place to protect data handled by offshored support teams.
  • Your own risk tolerance: Enterprises with sensitive data or strict compliance requirements might be more cautious about using offshored support and require contractual guarantees of U.S. sovereignty for both workforce and support tickets.

By understanding these potential dangers, you can make an informed decision about whether offshored Microsoft support is the right choice for your needs.

Supply chain risks of offshored Microsoft Unified Support

Spotting Foreign Contractors in Your Unified Tickets

Typically called a “v-dash engineer” because their email handle will start with a v dash, these technicians are easy to find. While capable of working on tickets at nearly all hours of the day depending on their location, they lack the technical background you would expect of support from the world’s leading software enterprise.

This is why many low severity tickets are shipped overseas, as this frees up Microsoft support to work on the higher priority tickets while external solutions handle the bulk of the simpler tickets. This isn’t to say that all overseas technicians are less skilled than their stateside counterparts, but using non-compliant third-party solutions does come with a few drawbacks that clients may not be aware of.

However, you are spending more money on a service that goes outside of Microsoft’s direct expertise. 14% or more in this case. That number is only going to go up as more Microsoft services are added to the support bucket, leaving you with the vital question: where can you turn when prices are getting out of hand?

Microsoft Premier/Unified Support outsourced engineers are identified by their “v-dash” email address, which is a unique identifier that allows Microsoft and its customers to easily identify offshore contractors.
Microsoft Premier/Unified Support outsourced engineers are identified by their “v-dash” email address, which is a unique identifier that allows Microsoft and its customers to easily identify offshore contractors.

How to Keep Your Microsoft Support Stateside and Secure

Keeping Your Unified Support Stateside

When it comes down to the details, you simply aren’t getting the support you’re paying for. If all your tickets were handled in-house by Microsoft, there wouldn’t be a problem. However, some of your tickets are being worked on by a Microsoft affiliate, which isn’t technically against your contract, but does potentially cut into your security and resolution times. Getting on the phone to walk through your issue becomes more difficult when there is a possible language and skill barrier.

Not all third-party Microsoft Unified solutions are built the same. Some are overseas and noncompliant, while others (like US Cloud) use only US-based engineers. In fact, US Cloud takes pride in that fact.

Your Microsoft Unified support should be reliable and compliant. There’s no point in relying on it otherwise. US Cloud ensures that all your Microsoft support needs are handled by our All-American team of expert engineers who have an average of 14 years of professional Microsoft product and service experience. We handle tickets of all severities and have financially backed SLAs that guarantee your tickets see an initial response within 15 minutes of submission. Our resolution times are twice as fast as Microsoft’s, and we save you 30-50% on your annual support budget.

Compliance is one of the many keys to success, something that is lacking with offshore support. Keep your Microsoft support consistent and your security tight with US Cloud.

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