Jun 10, 2020
8 min read

How does Microsoft Premier support alternative work?

Verified reports from Microsoft clients confirm that a large portion of Premier Support subscribers should anticipate 50%+ price increases when forced into Unified Support. We can rescue those endangered IT budgets with our Microsoft Support practice.

With Definity First, organizations can continue to pay for the support areas they need, not for products not being used. We typically save clients 30-60% after switching them over to our Microsoft Premier Support offer. 

Why Microsoft Support Alternative is a better option? 

Microsoft has made a number of changes to Software Assurance Agreement, its volume software licensing program. Limited support for US$250k spends, new planning services, training.  

The big change covers support eligibility, which will move from incident-based support to “as-needed support and credit toward Unified Support”, according to Microsoft FAQ  That means that the cost of support provided by Microsoft is going to rise drastically. 

Planning Services sees either Microsoft or its consulting partners offer end-customers advice on efficient use of its on-prem and cloud products. 

 Partners like us provide a certain number of days of advice based on the level of license acquired by end-customers. 

Microsoft offered the following changes to the current software assurance contract. 

Microsoft has made a number of changes to Software Assurance, its volume software licensing program. Here is the timeline for changes to Software Assurance.

Other changes to Software Assurance include the retirement of the Training Vouchers, in favor of new courses and certifications.

  • February 2020: Deployment Planning Services cloud engagements will be retired, and you can apply to use FastTrack programs.   
  • February 2020: Training vouchers can no longer be converted to Planning Services days.   
  • February 2021: End to the accrual of new deployment planning days.  
  • June 2021: Last day to create Planning Services vouchers.  
  • January 2022: Last day to redeem Planning Services vouchers.  

What are the three types of our Microsoft’s Premier Support Alternative? 

Technical support is often subdivided into Support Tiers or Support Levels, in order to better serve a business or customer base. A common support structure revolves around a three-tiered technical support system. ( Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3) 

Tier-1 or Level-1 Support 

This is the first Microsoft Premier support level responsible for basic customer issues. It is synonymous with first-line support, level-1 support denoting basic technical or non-technical support functions. 

Approach: The first job of a Tier-1 specialist is to gather customer’s information and to determine the issue, the customer is facing.  

This is done by analyzing the symptoms and figuring out the underlying problem. When analyzing the symptoms, it is important for the support rep to identify what the customer is trying to accomplish.  

This ensures time is not wasted on attempting to solve a symptom instead of a problem. Once the identification of the underlying problem is established, the specialist can begin sorting through the possible solutions available. 

Issues covered: Support specialists in Tier 1 tech and L1 support typically handle straightforward and simple problems while possibly using knowledge base tool & step-by-step guides with your Microsoft system.  

This includes troubleshooting methods such as verifying physical layer issues, resolving username and password problems, verification of proper hardware and software set up, and assistance with navigating around application menus. 

  •  Provides basic support & troubleshooting 
  •  Account unlock / lock 
  •  Password reset 
  •  High-level application usage or How-to questions 
  •  Application navigation assistance 
  •  Gather user’s information & analyze the issue 
  •  Ticket creation & allocation to relevant teams 
  •  Call on-duty technicians for urgent issues 
  • Monitoring & responding to server notification emails 
  •  Escalation to Level-2 or Level-3 support 

Answers or resolutions must be made available via knowledge base, FAQs or step-by-step guides. 

The goal of this group is to handle 70%-80% of the user problems. 

Tier-2 or Level-2 Support 

This is a more in-depth technical support. Tier-2 support levels cost more than tier-1 as the support (reps are more experienced and knowledgeable on a product or service?

Our Microsoft Support specialists in this realm of knowledge are responsible for assisting Tier 1 personnel in solving basic technical problems and for investigating elevated issues by confirming the validity of the problem and seeking for known solutions related to these more complex issues with your Microsoft system.  

However, prior to the troubleshooting process, it is important that the technician review the work order or support ticket to see what has already been accomplished by the Tier 1 technician and how long the technician has been working with the particular customer. 

 This is a key element in meeting both the customer and business needs as it allows the technician to prioritize the troubleshooting process and properly manage his or her time.  

If a problem is new and/or personnel from this group cannot determine a solution, they are responsible for raising this issue to the Tier 3 technical support group.  

This may include Microsoft software repair, diagnostic testing, and the (utilization of remote-control tools used to take over the user’s machine for the sole purpose of troubleshooting and finding a solution to the problem.) 

Tier-3 or Level-3 Support 

This is the highest level of support in a three-tiered technical support model responsible for handling the most difficult or advanced problems regarding Microsoft.  

Out of the 3 support levels, Tier -3 professionals are experts in their fields and are responsible for not only assisting both Tier 1 and Tier 2 personnel but with the research and development of solutions to new or unknown issues. 

 Note that Tier III technicians have the same responsibility as Tier 2 technicians in reviewing the work order and assessing the time already spent with the customer so that the work is prioritized, and time management is sufficiently utilized. 

 If it is determined that a problem can be solved, this group is responsible for designing and developing one or more courses of action, evaluating each of these courses in a test case environment, and implementing the best solution to the problem.  

Once the solution is verified, it is delivered to the customer and made available for future troubleshooting and analysis. 

As a Microsoft Gold Partner with 15 Microsoft Competencies, we offer support that will ensure peace of mind, continuous operation, and focused on your business success.  

Choose Support That Drives Your Business today! For more info click here or contact us at hello@definityfirst.com and let’s discuss your needs.