While not naming names, it is important to understand how non-Microsoft product support works.
- Non-Microsoft support can be reactive. That is, if all is going well, no one from the non-Microsoft support will reach out.
- Non-Microsoft support doesn’t include all products. For example, during our analysis, Miro identified an offering that supported only Azure, Office 365, SharePoint, Exchange, and Teams. Or, in other words, subscriptions. But what happens when the deployments on-premise or in a hybrid environment go awry?
- There is additional cost involved – beyond what the organization remits to Microsoft (or the reseller, now referred to as a Licensing Solution Partner or “LSP”) either for licensing or for support. And these costs might not be all-inclusive.
- While Non-Microsoft support may be fully backed by Microsoft, it is not necessarily an answer to all issues. Nor can it be clear to harried System Administrators who to contact.
These are several of the points to consider. Supported products are a good idea, especially if the security team or some governmental regulations require it. But Microsoft’s Unified Support can be too expensive, especially for larger organizations or at the upper end of the support spectrum.
So being caught in the middle leads to alternative non-Microsoft product support. In addition to the points raised there are other aspects of such offerings to consider:
- Determine if you want “break / fix” support only or whether some planning or installation support is desirable. And define these levels of support carefully.
- Decide whether all the applications / systems require the same level of support or if some require less support or no support.
- Shop around to get the best value. Emphasize “value” because getting a great price for non-certified Microsoft support is not the best value. Be wary of add-on costs.
- Ensure that their call center operates 24/7/365 because issues can arise at the least opportune times. And find out whether they “follow-the-sun” or if the support is located in a single location.
- Determine what the escalation path is. Is there a single point-of-contact? For all issues? Who is that person? Who is the backup person? Will they contact Microsoft? Who represents the “one-throat-to-choke” if conditions warrant? All questions to ask and answer.
- Ensure regular – read “monthly” – reporting of all issues. And perhaps these might be categorized into open issues, closed issues, other issues, and planning or planned issues.
Contact Miro, your trusted software licensing advisor, for more information.