The Microsoft Premier Services Contract is direct with Microsoft and supports all Microsoft products. The support package options are: Standard, Plus, Foundation, Core, and Comprehensive. Enterprises select the package, number of hours and services needed and best fit their budget.
Microsoft’s Premier Services provide members with a dedicated support team that proactively minimizes risk and downtime. Problems are resolved quickly and there is immediate escalation for mission critical system issues. Assistance programs help with planning, rollouts, health checks, and remediation. The support is available via the cloud, on-premise, or a hybrid solution. Premier Services contracts include:
Premier support contracts include:
Proactive support services help maintain and improve health of your IT infrastructure and operations.
Service Delivery Management to facilitate planning and implementation
Prioritized 24×7 problem resolution services to provide rapid response to minimize downtime
MS Premier Support Contract Renewals
In some cases, Premier Support contract renewals have been a non-starter for IT leaders who have been forced to cut budgets and even staff during the recent economic downturn. Some existing Premier customers are finding a renewal cost-prohibitive during the crisis and are seeking alternatives.
Keep Your Microsoft Premier Support Contract As Is
For those suffering enterprises being pressured by Microsoft during the Covid-19 crisis there is a path. Simply ask MSFT to stay in Premier for another year – they are giving folks a pass and understand now is not the time to press. Unified Support is a complex proposal requiring resources and energy many IT leaders simply don’t have during the crisis. Expect a 5% annual increase by staying in Microsoft Premier Support.
Premier Support Contracts Still Available
Many Microsoft enterprise support customers are being told by their Microsoft sales teams that Premier contracts are no longer available. And yes, in some cases MSFT has refused to offer Premier Support and forced some organizations to move to a Unified contract. However, analysts and peers are reporting (as well as MS public website) Premier is still available. Premier Support contracts are still being written and are open for negotiation.
Add Your Microsoft Premier Support Contract to Your Enterprise Agreement Renewal
In addition to the Enrollments for Application Platform and Core Infrastructure, it is also possible to add Microsoft Premier Support to your Enterprise Agreement (EA). Premier Support is delivered through Microsoft’s consulting and enterprise support division.
It’s best to have your Premier Support contract and Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) with the same renewal dates. Granted most EAs are 3-year agreements, and Premier Support agreements are 1-year contracts. Having them fall on the same renewal date will force some support cost focus for Sourcing, Procurement and Vendor Management (SPVM) leaders, at least every 3 years, as MSFT products changes are made to the organization’s EA.
Benefits of integrating Premier Support Contract with MS Enterprise Agreement
One Integrated Proposal: By integrating the Premier Services contract, you can craft a solution that most effectively meets your business objectives. A single proposal can also be concluded more easily than separate contracts.
One Negotiation, One Contract: Particularly relevant is the fact that you can negotiate one deal for services and licenses. This adds to the value of the overall deal and makes it more valuable to Microsoft, again giving you leverage. An integrated contract also makes it easier to prepare for the negotiation.
One payment: There are fewer documents and the contracts are simpler. Added to this is the reduced number of:
Internal requests for budget line items
Invoices to process
How is the Premier Support Contract integrated into the EA?
The Microsoft Business and Services Agreement (MBSA) covers the terms and conditions of the licensing as well as the services contracts.
The Services Agreement is an additional contract added in addition to the Enterprise Agreement.
Service package offerings are billed annually on the same invoice as the Enterprise Enrollment licenses.
You are allowed one Premier Support contract per Enterprise Agreement.
Additional support hours can be purchased to supplement Support Assistance, Problem Resolution Support or Proactive Services.
What Premier Support is a Must Have in Your Contract?
As you try to optimize your Premier Support contract it’s probably worth your time to meet with IT infrastructure and operations leaders at your organization to see if premium Microsoft support is needed. If your Microsoft workloads are mission-critical and you need direct access to the products teams (in other words you are on bleeding edge and things break often) then the Premier Support contract premium with a TAM and critical situation management may be worthwhile. Otherwise downgrade to Microsoft Business for incidents or consider a third-party support provider. Both of the aforementioned will increase your escalation time to Microsoft product teams but may result in considerable contract savings.
Why Buy a Premier Support Contract Instead of Using my Software Assurance Benefits?
Software Assurance Benefits are value added services that are awarded under your Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft based on your licensing spend. One software assurance benefit is 24 x 7 Problem Resolution support which allows you to open an incident for reactive support in your environment when things go wrong. 24 x7 incidents are unmanaged professional-level support that cover some products and issues and provide no path for escalation, root cause analysis, or priority response. Premier Support is Microsoft’s premier managed service to provide comprehensive coverage across the entire MSFT product stack, prioritization, escalation and a dedicated account management to ensure your issues are resolved.
Software Assurance Benefits (SAB) Changes to Premier Contracts in February 2022
Enterprises receive one 24/7 Problem Resolution Support (PRS) incident per $20k of server SA and one 24/7 Problem Resolution Support (PRS) incident of information worker SA. SAB support incidents can be converted to a credit for Premier or Unified Support.
Effective February 2022, organizations spending more than $250k per year on Software Assurance (SA) will no longer receive SAB incidents. They will receive “as needed” basic support with a 24-hour initial response time (IRT). Or they can receive a one-time credit towards upgrading to Unified Support. Organizations spending less than $250k per year on Software Assurance (SA) with no Microsoft enterprise support contract (Premier/Unified) will be introduced to a partner for support or can purchase Business (formerly Professional) support incidents.
Do I Qualify for Software Assurance Benefits (SAB) with Premier Contract + M365/Azure?
SAB incident credits are accrued based on an organization’s Microsoft Software Assurance (SA) spend, including payments for online services.
Once an enterprise has transitioned from SA to full USL online subscriptions (new users covered by Microsoft 365) they no longer qualify for SAB.
To reinforce this statement, Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Azure contracts do not qualify for Software Assurance Benefits (SAB).
Don’t Buy MSFT Products That Don’t Require Direct Support from Microsoft
A seemingly obvious but more difficult option for enterprises is to limit their MSFT contract spend and thus their Premier Support renewal cost. Since only selected Microsoft product and service spends count towards your Premier cost, an option is to simply not buy Microsoft products that aren’t core to the business and require direct support from Microsoft. While Office 365 and Azure may be critical to the organization, perhaps open source SQL is an option.
Third-Party Provider Alternatives to Premier Support Contracts
Third-party alternatives to Premier support contracts include independents, VARs, large integrators and CSPs. The downside of the third-parties in broad strokes are lack of references, limited escalation to Microsoft and wide variance in ability to perform both proactive and reactive support. Independents offer fairly comprehensive support and consulting and have more expertise on some MSFT products than VARs, integrators or CSPs. See the Gartner report on Independents.