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Microsoft Dropping Support for Medium and Small Businesses

Microsoft will no longer offer direct support for medium and small businesses with Software Assurance spends below $250,000 per year

Larger organizations who have a Software Assurance spend of $250,000 or more annually will be compelled to go to Unified Support. Smaller organizations will have to make do with partner support, unless they forego support altogether.

“Sometime in 2023” (that’s a direct quote from Microsoft), incident-based support will be replaced with as-needed support. Microsoft will also offer credits toward Unified Support. This benefit is only available to organizations “… with a Software Assurance spend of $250,000 or more annually.” This is just for basic support which includes 24×7 phone and web incident support, but does not have any commitment for response time for non-critical severity levels.

Microsoft Unified Support Levels:

  • Core Support: offers access to problem resolution, concierge services, elevated reactive support, self-help resources, and data-driven insights
  • Advanced Support: is a balance of reactive and preventive support with special handling of critical issues, automatic escalation management, access to Microsoft experts to evaluate new technology, and a business advocate
  • Performance Support: has the fastest response times with financially-backed SLA’s, product group engagement, an assigned support architect to create plans for your data, and engineers to assess remediation planning

Organizations that don’t spend $250,000 annually on Software Assurance with no enterprise support agreement, such as Unified Support, will be directed to a partner for support, or can purchase Professional Support incidents.

There are two (2) speculative ideas about this:

  1. Originally introduced in July 2019, Unified Support – the “most substantial change to Microsoft’s support programs in two decades” – has not been a popular draw. At the time, existing Premier Support contracts could finish, but new contracts were to be switched over. Microsoft has allowed for Premier Support contracts to continue despite the availability of Unified Support.  So “sometime in 2023”, Microsoft will force organizations to make the switch.
  2. Microsoft may not be as attentive to the quality of its on-premise software. This would mean that support for mission-critical applications would be necessary and would come at an additional cost. But what is the Software Assurance spend? And what kind of support are you receiving? It could also be Microsoft’s further push for organizations to adopt the Azure cloud.

In Azure, the cost of Software Assurance doesn’t calculate into the overall spend. This is because it is Microsoft that controls the products. That is, supports them within their own data centers. So you might think of this as something of a trade-off. If Microsoft is supporting the product, then support is included and/or not required separately.

However, Microsoft support for on-premise entitlements is becoming a Software Assurance benefit. This is evidenced by the segregation in spend-levels.

For organizations on the cusp of the minimum annual spend, it is necessary to determine the direction to go either by increasing the Software Assurance spend, or by settling for partner support.

We are staying very close to this. And more information is becoming available. So we invite you to speak to one of our Microsoft Analysts as you contemplate Microsoft support.

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