Microsoft have announced more changes to their Software Assurance program – this time its the 24×7 Problem Resolution Support that is on the chopping block. 24×7 support will be retired/killed off/ended as of February 1, 2023.
Historically, access to 24×7 support has been determined based on how much organizations spend on certain products. As part of the SA changes introduced in 2019, there was a plan to change this to being simply as-needed 24×7 support for organizations with a spend of $250,000+. Now however, Microsoft have decided to ditch it completely in favour of Unified Support. Current support incidents can either be used or transferred to a Microsoft Support contract before February 1st 2023, but any unused/non-transferred incidents will be lost.
Microsoft say their goal is to give every customer “comparable support…at a comparable price” but, given the large price increases most people saw when Unified Support was introduced – and the negative feedback I’ve heard from users around the world – I can’t help but raise a Rock-style eyebrow at that!
Those of you with existing Premier/Unified Support contracts will start to hear from Microsoft in August 2022. If you don’t have a Support contract, you can buy support on a per-incident basis from Microsoft.
The vast majority of changes that Microsoft make are to (sometimes almost imperceptibly) shift customer organizations in the direction that Microsoft want them to travel. Reducing the benefits and value of Software Assurance should, in theory, weaken the ties that bind a customer to on-premises licenses and agreements. In turn, this makes Microsoft 365 a better option – if you’re not getting 24×7 support on-premises, surely the cloud becomes more attractive? Alternatively, if you want to remain on-prem with support – you’re going to have to look at the (almost certainly more expensive) Unified Support option.
It may also be related to their focus on the CSP – an offering they see as the future of licensing for most organizations, and which doesn’t feature Software Assurance.
While most organizations will always have some on-premises infrastructure, Microsoft (and most other software publishers) are determined to make it as small a footprint as possible.
Read the official Microsoft 24×7 support announcement here.