Since its launch, the Microsoft platform has been critical to business operations. From the basic Microsoft Office programs to the more advanced Power Platform, Microsoft provides the tools businesses need to succeed.
Making the most of these programs requires advanced support from experts. In the past, Microsoft has provided its own support through the Microsoft Premier Support program.
With a recent change in the pricing structure, many companies are looking for good Microsoft Premier Support alternatives.
Read on to learn more about this program, how it’s changed, and what you should look for when searching for a Microsoft Premier support alternative.
Importance of Microsoft for Your Business
Before we dive into the weeds of Microsoft Premier Support, let’s talk some about why Microsoft apps are so important for your business. Microsoft may be best known for the Windows operating system and the basic Office programs – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. But the tech giant makes a line of business apps geared toward helping companies work smarter.
These days, getting ahead in any industry means finding innovative ways to do more with the same amount of time. You need to have automation, data analytics, and top-level communication programs. And all these solutions need to be custom-tailored to your business’s needs for maximum efficiency.
Automation simplifies your standard processes and allows your employees to focus on the work they need to do. Generally, this will reduce the risks and consequences of human error.
Benefits of Having Microsoft Support
Microsoft programs like Power BI, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Azure, and Power Automate can all provide the sort of custom support your team needs. But because these apps are so powerful, they’re very complex and come with a steep learning curve.
Your team could spend years mastering all the Microsoft business programs before you were able to use them to their full potential.
Your business doesn’t have years to spend on getting your business to full efficiency, however. Outsourcing that expertise can get you the functionality you need right away.
You can work with top-level experts in each program to leverage the full power of the Microsoft business apps and stay at the top of your industry.
What is Microsoft Premier Support?
When it first started, Microsoft Premier Support was designed to give you exactly the sort of expertise we just discussed.
Actual Microsoft employees would help you set up your systems, answer questions when they came up, and optimize your solutions. Best of all, this was rolled into your overall Microsoft annual costs to make billing simple.
Microsoft Premier Support had four basic pillars of operation: assess, stabilize, improve, and educate. They would assess your current state and fix any problems with it and then teach you to improve your system to get to your desired outcomes.
This would help businesses attain their desired level of efficiency with their people, processes, and technology.
When Microsoft Premier Support first launched, it used a somewhat flexible pricing structure. You could decide how much support you needed, including the number of tickets in a given time period, types of services, and more. Your annual support costs would be based on how much service you needed to use in a given time period.
If you wanted to get a minimum of 200 hours of Microsoft premier support account management services, you would need to pay $50,000 for uncleared resources or $53,000 for security cleared resources. Each additional hour beyond the minimum would cost you either $250 or $265.
If you needed dedicated support engineering, you would have to purchase a minimum of 400 hours for $118,000 or $124,000.
Save Money By Switching to a Gartner® Recognized Support Provider
Successfully choose a Gartner® Research recognized support alternative, such as IncWorx, using Gartner’s Guide to Assessing Alternatives
Downsides of Microsoft Premier Support
While the Microsoft Premier Support pricing structure was more flexible, the program wasn’t without downfalls.
Oftentimes, the amount of cloud Premier support you could get would be limited by the number of hours you paid for.
Businesses may have felt that even though they were paying for support, they still couldn’t always get the help they needed. Companies would also have to pay extra if they wanted to get third-tier support for their programs.
Even the per-hour pricing structure could still be too steep for some smaller businesses to afford. The minimum purchases we discussed were only baselines – if you were working in a hostile or hardship zone, there would be additional hourly costs.
Transition to Microsoft Unified Support
In the last couple of years, Microsoft has announced that they’re transitioning away from the old Microsoft Premier Support model. Instead, they’ll be moving to a new platform called Microsoft Unified Support.
This announcement has not been well-received in the Microsoft community. A Unified Support agreement comes with three different levels of service: Core, Advanced, and Performance. The amount of service you get will depend on which support level you pay for. Each level has a minimum Microsoft contract size requirement – $25,000, $50,000, and $175,000 respectively.
Reasons to Consider Microsoft Premier Support Alternatives
There are a variety of reasons that Microsoft’s Premier Support, or the new Microsoft Unified Support model, may not be a great fit for your organization. Below are a few to consider.
Support Cost Considerations
While a great support team can help increase your bottom line, the cost-benefit analysis is, as always, a balancing act.
Yes, outsourcing that expertise will increase your overall Microsoft services expenses. But the increased efficiency you gain will save you money in some cases and actively make you money in others.
You need to figure out how much money you stand to make from optimizing your Microsoft processes. Some Microsoft consulting firms will be able to help you run those numbers. Then you need to make sure you work with a company whose pricing structure will put you on top at the end of the fiscal year.
When you’re hiring a Microsoft support team, one of the biggest things you need to look at is response time. Your business relies on your Microsoft apps to keep running, and lost time is lost money.
The longer you have to wait for your support service team to get back to you, the more revenue your company misses out on. Ask your top support options what their average response time is and if they have a response time guarantee.
Ideally, their response time should be a few hours or fewer. If they won’t tell you how long their average response time is or if it’s more than a business day, look for another company.
It’s also a good idea to check the qualifications of the people who will be providing your service with your Microsoft support company. After all, if you’re paying for this help, you don’t want someone who’s googling for answers while they put you on hold.
You want to make sure you’re working with credentialed experts who have years of experience. Your support team should have thousands of cumulative hours of experience working with Microsoft apps.
They should have training dealing with all sorts of customer service needs and unusual situations. Don’t be afraid to ask what sort of expertise your support team has and what sorts of situations they’ve helped customers with before.
Dedicated Support Staff
In addition to expert support staff, you want to make sure you have a team dedicated to helping your business.
Some subpar support companies will direct you through a call center each time you contact them. You’ll wind up with a new person each time, someone who doesn’t know your business’s history or the specific help you need.
Look for a company that will provide you with a dedicated point of contact or Technical Account Manager. This person may need to refer you to other experts who specialize in different aspects of the Microsoft world.
They will know your company and will be able to ensure you get the consistent, customized service you need.
Customized Support Services
On the subject of customized service, not every business is built the same.
One of the great things about each Microsoft product is the opportunities they offer to create customized solutions that meet your business’s particular needs. Your Microsoft support alternative should provide you with that same custom level of care.
Look for a company that will work with you to give you the specific support you need. You may need a little more attention on the SharePoint Online front but may not need any Microsoft Azure support at all.
Your support team should provide you with a personalized support alternative, not one-size-fits-all canned content.
Your support company’s personalized care should also extend to the contracts you sign.
Many companies will limit you to five support incidents in a given period of time or provide similar rules. But when you’re adding new programs or growing your company, your needs may not follow that strict schedule.
The best Microsoft support teams will provide you with flexible contracts that meet your needs.
When you’re going through a period of growth or change, they can create a plan that gives you more support. When you’re sailing smooth waters, you can dial that technical support back so you aren’t paying for managed services you don’t need.
Benefits of Working With IncWorx
When you sign up for IncWorx’s support services, you get all the benefits we’ve discussed here. You will have a dedicated point of contact who will work with you to understand your business, your environment, and your team. You will also get a team of dedicated experts who each specialize in all areas of Microsoft technology.
IncWorx knows you need quick response times, so we have one of the best in the industry – a guaranteed four hours or less. We work with you to customize your support needs from ticket submission to follow-up. And we can help you build a support services plan that meets your current needs and is flexible enough to grow with you.
IncWorx Pricing Approach
At IncWorx, we strive to make sure you get the Microsoft support services you need at a price you can afford.
We provide flexible pricing with either an annual contract or month-to-month plans. You can also choose the length of your contract and the number of support hours based on your needs.
So what do you do if you have a short-term project that only needs a little guidance or you just want a nudge in the right direction? IncWorx offers short-term by-the-hour support with a one-time fee so you can get the help you need when you need it. These contracts range from two to forty hours of support to give you maximum affordable flexibility.
Discover the Best Microsoft Premier Support Alternatives
Microsoft programs can help you optimize your business and stay at the front of the pack. In order to make the most of these programs, you need the right support services team. Look for a Microsoft partner that will give you dedicated support and expert advice at a price point that works for you.
If you’d like to get the best Microsoft Premier Support alternatives, check out the rest of our site at IncWorx. We provide proactive services and reactive support that keep your Microsoft technology running smoothly.
Request a discovery call today and start working smarter, not harder, for your business.