Monday, July 15, 2013

Giving new Microsoft support offerings a chance


As I am only a small business my ‘traditional’ relationship with Microsoft is only as an ordinary reseller. This is probably the lowest level available to those dealing with Microsoft. Of course I have other more high level relationships (like being an MVP), however I like to ‘pretend’ to be an ordinary reseller now and then so I can understand what my SMB peers experience when dealing with Microsoft.
Since July 1 2013 Microsoft has been making changes to the way it deals with partners. One of these is the following:
from - https://mspartner.microsoft.com/en/uk/pages/support/partner-network-support.aspx
Note: Beginning July 1, 2013, email support will be phased out for all partners, and phone support will be limited to partners with competencies or Microsoft Action Pack subscriptions. Email support for all partners and phone support for partners without a competency or an Action Pack subscription will be replaced by an RSC agent–supported forum in the Partner Support Community.
So my original Office 365 tenant (still on Wave 14) was due to expire in 7 days. I wanted to keep this tenant if I could so I could go through the migration process to Wave 15 and document it. Previously, all partners had to do to resolve these issues was to call Microsoft Partner Support, speak and rep and get the trial extended. Easy as. Having called after July 1 I was greeted with the fact that I could no longer do this as a lowly reseller. I certainly felt unloved initially.
My only option appeared to be the partner forums for Microsoft cloud benefits which after a little searching around I found here:
http://partnersupport.microsoft.com/en-us/mpnpartnermem/forum/mpnpmcless
I posted a message and I received a public message a day or so later saying:
Hello Robert,
Thank you for your question.
All internal-use subscriptions will be extended by July 15th, 2013 automatically. Subscriptions may go into a "In-Grace" period while awaiting for the extension. This is normal and will not interrupt the services.
Please note that I have sent you a private response to further assist you on this matter.
Best regards,
Sandy
Partner Support Community
I also received a private message saying that the trail had been expended as I wanted.
I see many smaller partner bemoaning the changes that Microsoft is making and how they are ‘turning away’ from SMB resellers. Initially, I too felt the same thing when I made my call about getting the tenant extended. But you know what? Any relationship is a two way street and I realized that I also need to embrace the new way Microsoft handles things. Once I did I got an excellent results and am very happy.
As painful as change is it is something that is part of life. if Microsoft is changing its business then resellers and customers who want to maintain a relationship need to also change. In some ways this change can be for the better and I can now better appreciate why Microsoft has made the change to forum based support.
The end result? Don’t be too quick to judge change as being bad just because it is different from the way things were!