Educate and Prep for Unified

Know the differences between Premier and Unified to avoid common pitfalls

Understanding the complexity of Unified Support is paramount to protecting your organization’s technical capabilities and precious IT budget. For some, a shift from Premier to Unified’s unlimited support hours is worthwhile. For others, massive formula-driven price increases and deteriorating service quality have become a growing liability.

Microsoft Premier vs. Unified Summary

There are several key differences between Premier and Unified.
• Unified costs are calculated as a percentage of annual expenditures of ALL Microsoft products in use, including Microsoft Office and Azure.
• Unified does away with buying reactive support hours, instead offering an “all you can eat” approach to break-fix support.
• Premier Support response time SLA’s were replaced with slower “targets” or soft goals that are rarely met and have no consequences if missed.

Below is a summary comparison between the two:

Premier vs. Unified Summary

Unexpected Support Costs of Migrating to the Cloud

Unified costs are calculated as a percentage of annual expenditures of ALL Microsoft products in use, including Microsoft Office and Azure. For organizations moving on-premise applications to the cloud, infrastructure savings are often used to justify the migration. What is often overlooked, however, is how that increase in Azure or M365 spend affects Unified Support costs. In many cases, IT leaders are blindsided when big support price hikes triggered by additional MSFT spend lessens or even negates expected savings.

Here is an example from Gartner on how Unified Support costs would be calculated for a 10,000-user organization:

 

Office Support Cost Example

Understand New Terms and Tactics

Unsurprisingly, there is a lot of confusion amongst clients making the switch from Premier to Unified Support.  Here are a few points to be aware of as you enter resubscription negotiations:

  • Clients heading into year 2 of Unified are reporting an average price increase of 28% year-over-year. This is on top of the previous 30-300% price increases year 1 when originally transitioning from Premier*
  • If MSFT offers to let you “stay” in Premier, that is in name only. It is just a temporary discount on Unified that is removed year 2
  • DSE hours are still negotiated and paid for separately – they are not unlimited under Unified
  • DSE hours and engineer-led proactive support credits (optional for additional fees) get a 30% up-charge added automatically for “TAM time.”  These charges often are buried in the fine print of your Unified quote.  Make sure you are looking at the REAL cost of the add-on services
  • Response times and other SLA’s have changed (slower) with optional faster response available in Unified Performance tier, but at an additional cost
  • Azure Rapid Response can be purchase for an additional fee, however, fine print indicates that it is only available during Microsoft’s regular business hours, 8am-5pm PT, Mon-Fri
  • O365 and Azure already have base support included, but are still part of Unified price calculation
  • Software purchased without SA over the past five years, and no longer in use, should be out of scope for Unified pricing
  • Microsoft Support Sales has been reportedly delaying renewal discussions to “run out the clock” before introducing Unified price hikes.  Make sure you build in at least 60-days for negotiations and don’t be afraid to demand an extension if Microsoft drags their feet
Microsoft Premier and Unified Support Alternative - US Cloud

Next Steps:

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