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Why are my Unified Support costs increasing?

It is confusing and even frustrating to see the cost of Unified Support increase every year, even though you are not utilising additional support services.

Only Microsoft could pull it off – increasing the cost of a support contract without providing the actual services. It's not something that smaller vendors would even dare offer.

It would be an understatement to say that Unified Support is a masterpiece of an agreement. It is structured based on the actual consumption costs of your Enterprise Agreement and Azure monthly billing statement.

You are paying a percentage of your overall costs, regardless of whether you are consuming support, consulting services or proactive support from your Unified Support contract. What is the value you are receiving for the money you are spending? Sometimes it can feel like you've lost control.

It typically goes like this. You sign an agreement and get a fixed price for a fixed set of services. At least, that's what you think you get. And three or six months later, your Azure spending spikes up – it happens to most organisations. Your Unified Support bill has increased as well, although you haven't utilised any additional services. And then your CFO, who has a predetermined budget, picks up the phone or sends you an email saying, "What is going on here? Please explain to me why are we paying more?"

With Premier Support, the price was clear and fixed, and you knew exactly how many service credits and consulting services you were getting. With Unified Support, the cost can change even if your usage remains the same. This can lead to unexpected increases in your bill and confusion for those responsible for budgeting.

It's vital to be aware of this aspect of the Unified Support Agreement and take steps to protect your budget from sudden uncontrolled spending.

What can you do? You can negotiate percentage tiers, put a cap on annual costs, and utilise Software Assurance benefits while they are still available.

You also can—and should—optimise Azure costs and turn the most significant disadvantage of the Unified Support Agreement into your advantage. Its link to your monthly Microsoft invoice works both ways. As your Azure costs decrease, the relevant part of Unified Support costs will decrease too. Leverage the recently introduced Azure Savings Plans or use your imminent Microsoft contract renewal event to negotiate better Azure terms.

If you would like to discuss your options, please use the form below to contact us, and our Chief Negotiation Officer will respond as soon as possible.