SAMexpert logo

Microsoft Unified vs Premier Support

What's the difference between Premier Support and Unified Support?

Microsoft Premier Support agreement has been around for 20 years. Unified Support is a relatively new package – it was introduced only three years ago.

They're both identical from the customer service standpoint. The main change is in how Microsoft bills you for their services.

Premier Support cost

The cost of MS Premier Support was fixed. You paid for it based on your service levels, consulting services, TAM services, etc. It was predictable.

Unified Support cost

The cost of Unified Support is no longer consistent. It's determined by your total licensing and cloud payments to Microsoft. It's dependent on your Enterprise Agreement, CSP licenses, and Azure usage. Therefore, every year, it will increase based on those expenditures.

Growing costs year-on-year

There are also different Unified Support rates for online and on-premise licenses. Your overall Unified Support cost will increase as you consume additional Office 365 or Azure services.

But it doesn't mean you will automatically get more benefits or see better value. Your costs will go up, and you won't be able to directly link it to what you're getting in return for your money.

Negotiating Unified Support contract

Our recommendation is straightforward.

  • Understand your baseline for calculating Unified Support costs. Ensure that your Azure baseline is known and your Enterprise Agreement baseline is clear.

  • And negotiate the percentages on which the actual calculations are done. The larger you are, the more leverage you have in such a negotiation.

Alternatives to Microsoft Unified Support

Some IT service providers and Microsoft partners have started offering alternative packages to Microsoft Unified Support. They often provide extra perks in addition to a more transparent pricing model.

Interestingly, their offers do not contradict Microsoft's policies as they would often provide you with first-line support while escalating more complex cases to Microsoft via the Advanced Support for Microsoft Partners package, which they pay for themselves.

We recommend you consider such alternatives and use them as leverage during negotiations with Microsoft.

Talk to a Microsoft negotiations expert

We are an independent consulting business that sells no licenses or Cloud services. That is on purpose, so our advice is unbiased.

Negotiating support agreements can be tricky. There are many dependencies and moving parts. We'll look into your situation and advice on the best possible resolution.

Please send us a message using the form below, and our Microsoft negotiations experts will get in touch as soon as possible for a no-obligation call.