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Part 2: Microsoft’s Change From Premier to Unified Support May Cost Organizations Up to 30% More
Microsoft has stopped offering Premier Support renewals, and many organizations are now left with the difficult decision of whether to renew into Unified support (which can cost significantly more), search for a third-party support vendor, or drop support all together.
The first step to take at the beginning of the renewal cycle would be to examine current usage of Premier Support services. Microsoft can typically provide this information. However, it is critical to check how many hours and which services were typically used. With Unified Support, the ability to pick and choose specific hours and offerings no longer exists. As mentioned in part one on this topic, the Unified Support service offering now simply includes three options: Core, Advance, and Performance plans with pricing associated with percentages of your Enterprise Agreement and/or Server and Cloud Enrollment spend.
The second step is to determine which services are critical to retain and how they fit into the new plans. Plan descriptions are listed under section 1.2 of the proposal document as a hyperlink, which could change at any given time. The service descriptions provided could certainly use clarity on what is truly included, along with the costs for additional paid offerings.
The third step would be to examine third-party providers, and unfortunately there are not many truly comprehensive options available. US Cloud, Tata, and Wipro are a few vendors in the space; however, many organizations are left with little choice but to go with a third party with only few years history of offering the service or to stay with Microsoft. US Cloud does offer both Premier Support options as well as a pay-per-incident option, which could be an interesting option for organizations to trial services and see it if could be a viable long-term solution.
Finally, some organizations are contemplating dropping support all together, as usage has been limited. However, it is necessary to calculate the risk of not paying for support by submitting a support incident to Microsoft and understand what costs could be like for the future. Microsoft historically has had support incidents as a Software Assurance benefit. However, as of March 2020, these benefits are slowly being phased out in a commercial attempt to steer organizations towards Unified Support.
- It is critical that organizations demand changes from Microsoft. There have been a number of instances where changes were not made in the short term but feedback was heard and changes were made through numerous escalations in the long term.
- Require transparency on pricing, as many contracts simply offer a number with little explanation of how that cost was determined. Microsoft can, in fact, alter the baseline percentages shown for each plan.
- Calculate the overall cost implications on your Unified Support agreement at the time of your Enterprise Agreement and/or Server and Cloud Enrollment renewal, as the total spend should be leveraged to drive concessions from Microsoft.
- Obtain section 1.2 of the Unified Support proposal added as an amendment to the contract and ask for clarification on service offerings of interest.
- Microsoft has been offering Software Assurance benefits as discounts on the Unified Support agreement. However, these are one-time discounts since the benefits will be retired. Negotiate the percentage per category Microsoft will use in its pricing calculation.
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Microsoft Cloud Services Usage Surges 775% for Teams in Regions With Enforced Social Distancing – Part 2
Experiencing issues when using Microsoft online services? You are not alone. Capacity constraints were being hit, pre-COVID-19, and usage has surged in regions with enforced social distancing.
Google has announced a premium support plan for its cloud customers, promising a 15-minute response to the highest severity tickets. Google’s cloud has long struggled with enterprise customers – especially when compared to giants Microsoft and AWS – and this announcement is the latest incarnation of Google’s push to better serve a critical constituency.
Microsoft Announces Expansion of Azure Canadian Infrastructure, Offers Data Residency and High Availability
In January, Microsoft announced what it’s calling “the largest expansion of its Canadian-based cloud computing infrastructure” since 2016. Additional availability zones and services will increase capacity for cloud-hungry Canadians, and the addition of an Azure ExpressRoute site in Vancouver will guarantee security and performance in a regulated jurisdiction.
Microsoft’s announcement that server-side encryption with customer managed keys for Azure Managed Disks is now available is welcome news for security-minded public cloud customers. Managing one’s own keys in a cloud environment can be an important step in complying with regulatory requirements, and this new feature should open Azure Managed Disks to a wider group of customers who may have held back for this reason.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) has provided its customers with better options for Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) ingress routing. Customers will have to consider which works best for their needs.
AWS VPC Traffic Mirroring gives customers more visibility for out-of-band traffic inspection. This feature is another useful tool for monitoring in the AWS cloud.
Microsoft Cloud Services Usage Surges Over 700% in Regions With Enforced Social Distancing: How Could This Impact Your Organization?
Organizations have been running into capacity constraints on cloud infrastructure in regions with enforced social distancing due to COVID-19. Having a back-up plan will be critical to your business continuity plans.
Microsoft has added six months of additional support to Windows 10 Enterprise and Education 1709. This will help reduce pressure to upgrade and provide support in the interim as companies focus on business continuity plans due to COVID-19.
Microsoft’s deep pockets and Financing division can save your IT budget. If your Enterprise Agreement is coming up for renewal in the next six months, we will likely be in an economic downturn.