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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.

Our Take

  • 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.

Want to Know More?

Part 1: Microsoft’s Change From Premier to Unified Support May Cost Organizations Up to 30% More