For the first time, Enterprise IT and procurement leaders can move past the Microsoft enterprise support monopoly and explore competitive alternatives to MS Premier and Unified. That choice, however, comes with new risks that need to be fully understood before moving away from Microsoft software maintenance and support.
Microsoft Premier/Unified Support alternatives now fall into two primary categories:
Read on to see how these different options stack up and which alternative to Microsoft might be right for your enterprise.
Traditional Microsoft Partners include large system integrators (SI), Managed Service Providers (MSP’s), Value-Added Resellers (VAR’s), Cloud Service Providers (CSP’s), and Microsoft consultancies. Some enterprises are using their Microsoft Partner as an alternative to Premier/Unified for cloud services support. MS Partners of all stripes have spun up support offerings to increase domain expertise around the Microsoft cloud services of Azure, M365 and Dynamics.
Large Microsoft-centric IT services organizations have some inherent advantages as they enter the Microsoft enterprise support market. Microsoft Partners tend to be more nimble and responsive, with services (not software) as their core offering. They also enjoy established relationships with enterprises and are already connected with the Microsoft Premier/Unified escalation support apparatus in some capacity.
However, providing global high-level L3-4 support across the entire Microsoft stack, including non-business hours, is difficult and not for the faint of heart. A single poorly handled mission-critical ticket can do irreparable reputational damage to a brand. Equally important to ticket resolution is the ability to quickly escalate high-severity enterprise tickets to Microsoft when necessary. As Microsoft begins to push baseline support down to its Partners, many new CSPs are finding the task of L1-2 staffing and operating a 24/7 help desk financially challenging and are now seeking alternative paths.
Although still limited to only a handful worldwide, Independent Third-Party Providers for Microsoft Enterprise Support have emerged and are maturing. The quadrant leader being identified as a viable alternative to replace Microsoft Premier/Unified Support services with 85% feature parity and 50% cost savings. These “pure-play” Independent Third-Party Software Support Providers for Microsoft do not sell software licenses but rathe focus solely on Enterprise Support. Their independence from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) allows them to act in their enterprise client’s best interest, not the OEM’s.
Some common misconceptions about Independent Third-Party Providers for Microsoft Enterprise Support are:
If considering an Independent Third-Party Microsoft Software Support Provider as an alternative to MS Premier/Unified Enterprise, make sure to verify their ability to escalate quickly to Microsoft for high-severity tickets, require contractual SLA’s for response times and escalations, and ask about support engineer credentials and ITAR 120.15 compliance.
Each competitor to MS Premier/Unified Support has pluses and minuses that should be considered. Which is right for your enterprise largely depends on what elements of Microsoft software support are most important to you. Is it:
Read below to consider pros and cons of the two Microsoft Premier/Unified competitor types:
When Sourcing/procurement teams and Enterprise IT are evaluating Microsoft Premier and Unified Support competitors, it is important to dig into the details of each competing third-party alternative to Microsoft. Qualifying and probing for weak spots in the competitor offerings could have a big impact on fit or viability for your enterprise. Whether in Microsoft Premier/Unified negotiations or in a Microsoft third-party enterprise support formal Request for Proposal (RFP), you can gain significant leverage by illustrating that you understand enterprise support best practices.
Read below for some potential questions that can help you qualify Microsoft competitors to determine the capabilities, economics, and risk of replacing Premier/Unified with a Partner or third-party alternative.
Given that Microsoft Enterprise Support is a new category for most IT sourcing and procurement teams, specific evaluation criteria often needs to be created. Software-based or other technology services evaluation templates don’t hit the right elements, leading to subpar selection.
To help Enterprise IT and procurement teams make a good choice for their Microsoft Enterprise Support services, US Cloud created an RFP template so you can easily score alternatives to Microsoft Premier/Unified Support. Use the form as is for an RFP effort, or pick and choose elements for your own process.
Get the Microsoft Premier/Unified Support Alternatives RFP template instant download to assist your Enterprise IT or sourcing and procurement team in evaluating Microsoft third-party support providers. Score Microsoft competitors for best practices including service delivery, account management, compliance risk, SLAs and more.