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Microsoft Replacing Premier Support Program with Unified Support

"Microsoft Unified Support" is the company's new program aimed at providing technical support to organizations.

Microsoft Unified Support will be replacing the current Premier Support program. The new program is already in effect as of last month in some markets, even though Microsoft hasn't offered much in the way of a public announcement. The new program's existence was described in an article this week by veteran Microsoft journalist Mary Jo Foley. She got the information from a Microsoft job-post listing, plus unnamed sources.

Microsoft Unified Support is part of the Microsoft Services organization. It's described as "the biggest Microsoft Support transformation in the past twenty years, modernizing our offerings and simplifying support for our customers," according the job-post listing.

The new support program (formerly code-named "Volta") is designed to better address the support needs of customers using Microsoft's services, according to Foley's account. A Microsoft spokesperson today confirmed much of her description, including its start date and current markets.

"Microsoft Unified Support has already launched in several countries for Q1 FY18, including the US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Australia, Sweden and Mexico," the spokesperson indicated via e-mail. "Microsoft Unified Support will eventually be offered to all commercial customers with global availability by the end of FY19," the spokesperson added.

Global availability thus will happen as early as June of calendar-year 2019, based on Microsoft's description of its fiscal years. The "Q1 FY18" availability in some markets translates to a start date happening as early as July in calendar-year 2017.

The program is designed for cloud services customer needs, providing "an immediate response," the spokesperson added. It has three support levels:

  • Core Support: offers affordable access to problem resolution, concierge services, elevated reactive support, self-help resources, and data-driven insights to help plan for the future.
  • Advanced Support: is a balance of reactive and preventive support that helps ensure business continuity with special handling of critical issues, automatic escalation management, access to Microsoft experts to evaluate new technology, and a business advocate to help customers plan for changes.
  • Performance Support: is the ultimate in personalized support with 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.

At this point, that's what's publicly known about the Microsoft Unified Support program. Microsoft tends not to list pricing for its support services, and the Microsoft Services Web portal currently just shows the old Premier Support options, with no description of the new plan.

Under the Premier Support program Microsoft had "8,000 world-class support specialists" available, according to a Microsoft brochure (PDF download). The overall Microsoft Services program is described in the job-post listing as being "a $3.3B business" for the company.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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