Cloud

Microsoft revamps Premier Support, focuses on cloud services and lower-cost options

Microsoft is overhauling its Premier Support program and introducing Unified Support, meant to help business customers adding cloud services to their product mix.

For the first time in two decades, Microsoft is overhauling its Premier Support arm, which provides businesses with issue resolution, planning assistance, infrastructure design guidance, and IT education, ZDNet reported.

Previously, Microsoft Premier Support relied on 8,000 support specialists to provide those services for more than 11,000 enterprises worldwide. However, the structure and mission of those specialists is now changing, according to ZDNet. Microsoft is updating the support program and introducing a new one, codenamed "Volta" and officially called Microsoft Unified Support.

"The Microsoft Unified Support portfolio must evolve with the industries and markets it serves," according to a Microsoft job posting. "In FY18, we are launching a new commercial support offering, the biggest Microsoft Support transformation in the past twenty years, modernizing our offerings and simplifying support for our customers."

The tech giant started rolling out Unified Support in July in the US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Australia, Sweden, and Mexico, ZDNet reported, and plans to make it available to all business customers globally by the end of FY 2019.

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Unified Support is meant to help business customers who are increasingly adding cloud services to their products mix. "Because of the influence of the cloud, Microsoft is changing the way it provides services in a world that's more attuned to paying for consumption, purchasing via subscriptions and requiring 24X7 support," ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley reported.

The service is also meant to simplify how these business customers buy and use Microsoft support services, by consolidating their supported products and services into one contract, Foley wrote.

Information on how the change could impact customer pricing is not yet available, ZDNet noted.

As part of the update, Microsoft is also reducing the number of Premier Support offerings. According to ZDNet, it will now offer "a Core Support plan that provides lower-cost problem resolution, reactive support, self-help resources and insights for planning purposes; an Advanced Support Plan with more responsive critical issue support and help from Microsoft employees in evaluating and planning for new technologies; and the highest end Performance Support for the fastest response times with service-level-agreement guarantees and access to Microsoft architects and engineers."

Microsoft's Services organization is a $3.3 billion business for the company, according to the job post mentioned above.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

1. For the first time in two decades, Microsoft is overhauling its Premier Support program, which provides businesses with issue resolution, planning assistance, infrastructure design guidance, and IT education.

2. Microsoft Unified Support is meant to help business customers who are increasingly adding cloud services to their products mix, and to unify the tech giant's support platforms.

3. Microsoft Unified Support began rolling out in July, and will reach each market worldwide by FY 2019.

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Image: iStockphoto/lukutin77

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About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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