Microsoft have announced that 24×7 Problem Resolution Support is being retired as of February 1, 2023.
Historically, access to 24×7 support has been determined based on how much organisations spend on certain products. As part of the SA changes introduced in 2019/20, there was a plan to change this to being simply as-needed 24×7 support for organisations with a spend of $250,000+.
Now however, Microsoft have decided to ditch it completely in favour of Unified Support. Current support incidents can either be used or transferred to a Microsoft Support contract before Feb 23. Any unused/non-transferred incidents will be lost.
Microsoft say their goal is to give every customer “comparable support…at a comparable price” but, given the large price increases most people saw when Unified Support was introduced, I can sense a large amount of scepticism about this! Those of you with existing Premier/Unified Support contracts will start to hear from Microsoft in August 2022.
If you don’t have a Support contract from Feb 23, you can buy support on a per-incident basis from Microsoft.
A couple of decent additions this month – new products across EXP (Employee Experience) and Security as well as (some) clarity around support offerings.
Viva new products
Microsoft Viva Insights & Viva Insights Capacity SKUs were added. Not only do we get a new product but we also get a new licensing piece to watch out for…the idea of additional capacity SKUs for Viva Insights analytics. I go into more depth here.
A growing security portfolio
2 x Privacy Management SKUs added – “Risk” and “Subject Rights Request”, furthering increasing Microsoft’s security position. It does, however, look like there was some confusion between “Office 365” and “Microsoft 365” for the pre-requisite licenses as they list “Microsoft 365 E1” which doesn’t exist…yet!
Microsoft have added a range of information about their support offerings including Unified Support and Premier Support, as well as some of the additional services that are available to purchase. Making this information publicly available will be a big benefit for customers and partners alike, as it hasn’t always been easy to know what was included etc.
A change that snuck past me initially in July is that Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise (formerly Office 365 ProPlus) is no longer classed as an “Enterprise Product” and is now an “Enterprise Online Service”. This means it is no longer required to be purchased enterprise-wide.
The Product Terms site now lists a whole host of information about the support offerings that are available through Volume Licensing – with links to supporting documentation too. Finding any information on Microsoft Support has always been surprisingly difficult so this update makes a welcome change!
In this post, I want to look at the information made available by Microsoft and explore what’s on offer. There are two main flavours of Microsoft support, giving access to different services and priced in different ways.
Microsoft Unified Support
This is the latest addition to Microsoft’s support portfolio, introduced in 2019, and Microsoft made a concerted effort to move as many customers as possible from the existing Premier Support (discussed below) to the new Unified Support. This wasn’t a particularly popular move as it generally led to significant price increases for organisations.
First of all, it’s worth noting that Unified Support has a relatively limited reach as it is only available in 22 countries globally:
There are three flavours of Unified Support:
Unified Advanced Base
Unified Performance Base
Unified Enterprise Base
The first two, Advanced and Performance, are governed by the “Support & Consulting Services Description (“SCSD”)” which is available here – while Unified Enterprise is governed by the “Unified Enterprise Support Services Description (“USSD”)”, available here.
Previous information, and in fact the current SCSD, break down Unified Support into 3 options:
but as you can see above, the Product Terms list:
It looks like there has been a change to the levels of support but I’ve not seen an announcement saying as much.
Calculated as a percentage of your contract’s list price, this can be used for Proactive services, enhanced services and solutions, Support Technology Advisor, Proactive credits or Custom Proactive Services.
Although not included with Unified Enterprise, they are all available via Flex Allowance or as a separate, additional purchase.
Unified Enterprise Pricing
Microsoft calculate your “Product Spend” aka “P” which is comprised of:
Cloud services purchases in previous 12 months
Software Assurance purchases in previous 12 months
License only purchases in previous 60 months
and then they price Unified Support as a percentage of that spend. For Azure, it is calculated as:
while for other products it is:
Microsoft state that:
Rates are graduated, so if a customer has $6M in annual Azure spend, it would be calculated as 10% of the first $1.8M and 7% of the next $4.2M ($6M-$1.8M).
So in Microsoft’s example of $6m Azure spend, the Unified Support cost would be:
10% of $1.8m = $180,000
7% of $4.2m = $294,000
Total = $474,000
The publicly available Microsoft documentation doesn’t provide pricing information for the “Advanced” and “Performance” levels but, based on previous information (like this), it will be the same format as above but with lower percentages.
Microsoft Premier Support
Premier Support offerings are detailed in the “Enterprise Services Description of Services” which you can download here. The document gives a pretty thorough overview of all the different services available under Premier Support including:
Implementation & Optimization
With the introduction of Unified Support, Microsoft have been working to migrate as many customers as possible across from Premier. However, it is still possible to remain on Premier Support…although it doesn’t appear to be particularly easy.
There are different levels of Premier Support listed in the Product Terms:
although, as mentioned, this isn’t Microsoft’s preferred option anymore.
Optional Enhanced Services & Solutions
Additional paid services are available, these include:
Designated Support Engineering (“DSE”): DSE services are delivered as described in the applicable services description (SCSD or USSD)
Rapid Response services are delivered as described in the applicable services description (SCSD or USSD)
Microsoft Azure Event Management (“AEM”) services (Unified Support only)
Office 365 Engineering Direct services (Unified Support only)
Developer Support services
Support for Mission Critical services (Unified Support only)
You can see this, and more info, in the Product Terms here.
It’s good that Microsoft is making this information available – anything that enables customers and partners to do more research and be better prepared for sales conversations/renewals etc is a good thing. However, it isn’t complete and does seem to contradict some of the longstanding info regarding the support levels etc. so there’s still a fair amount of confusion.
If anyone has anything they can add to this and/or any corrections, please let me know.