How to Choose the Right Microsoft Unified Support Level
There are 3 variables that control which Microsoft Unified Support level is right for your organization.
They are budget, account management and response time.
If you have a budget of at least $25,000 per year, you can start at base level of Microsoft Unified Support which is the Core level. At the Core level, your account management and response times will be minimal. If you have a budget of $50,000 per year, the Advanced level is available. It is the middle level of Unified support and often the sweet spot for reasonable price, account management and response times. And finally, if you have at least $175,000 per year in budget, the Performance level is available to you. At Performance level, you are paying an enterprise premium but receiving the best account management and response times available in Unified.
Account management experiences in MS Unified Support vary greatly depending on your level. At the Core level you can expect everyone you interact with to be a pooled resource. The Core includes a service delivery team with no manager. Moving up to the Advanced and Performance levels will yield Customer Service Account Managers (CSAM) and Technology Advocates who are more familiar with your enterprise and the Microsoft solutions you are using. You will also receive a service delivery team manager. Designated Support Engineers (DSE) are available for longer term project staff augmentation or advisory services.
Response time goals (no financially backed SLAs for any Unified level) start at 1 hour for critical incident and no priority routing with the Core level and drops to 30 minutes for critical incidents with priority routing at the best level, Performance. Azure Rapid Response drops the response time goal further, to 15 minutes for an additional fee.
Additional options are available at additional fees to the Advanced and Performance levels and include Office Engineering Direct, Azure Rapid Response, Developer Support, Azure Event Management, Designated Support Engineering and Support for Mission Critical.