Thursday, August 25, 2011

P’s are more than you though they were

In Office 365 there are range of licenses for different suites. The P SKU is the one aimed at Small Business and Professionals. It is also priced to compete directly with Google Apps (read cheap).

 

The documentation for P SKU’s was that they only included ‘community support’. This mean that if you purchased these you’d really get no ability to log tickets or get a guarantee of up time.

 

Here in Australia, for customers with less than 125 licenses, Office 365 is sold through a major telco (Telstra). All the information I had seen from Telstra indicated that the Australian P SKU’s would also come with ‘community support’. Wanting to understand exactly what was and was not provided by Telstra here I pursued the matter for clarification.

 

Interestingly, it now turns out that Telstra does provide full support on the Australian P SKU’s just like all the other enterprise SKU’s. Here’s what I have been told by Telstra:

 

“The P-Sku customer gains the same support as all other customers”

 

That is certainly great news for people on these P SKU’s but it raises some questions in my mind.

 

Firstly, although this is good for resellers who support customers on P SKU’s I feel it may mean that such customers will seek out Telstra’s assistance first before contacting their reseller. The clients typically on the P SKU’s are going to be looking for the cheapest method of support and if Telstra is providing it free with P SKU’s where does that leave the reseller?

 

Secondly, does Telstra really know and understand the extent to which they are going to get support calls from P SKU customers? Are they going to help them set up their workstations? Are they going to help them do migrations? What happens when Office 365 being to scale up? Are they going to able to cope with the inevitable flood of support calls from customers? Are they also going to support customer issues on PC’s that appear to be Office 365 related but aren’t (as is typically the case). This is a real can of worms from Telstra’s point of view and I don’t think they have thought through how demanding the lower end of the SMB market will be.

 

To me, Telstra also hasn’t thought through the impact of this provision of support for its resellers as it certainly appears they are cutting the resellers out of the loop and that is not going to do anything for that relationship (which they say they are trying to build).

 

I am still awaiting full information about exactly what is and what is not supported on the Office 365 P SKU’s. When I know I’ll post it here along with my comments.