Spotlight on Critical Situation Support
If you write software or manage infrastructure, unplanned downtime will occur. Even with the very best people and process that money can buy, the unexpected still happens.
At Premier, we support Microsoft’s most innovative and talented customers but nobody is immune—not even Microsoft. We all deal with system outages and downtime of critical business systems. The causes are many: bad software, bad hardware, failed networks, people, process, hackers, market pressure—the list goes on and on. While it is true you can mitigate many risks and greatly reduce the likelihood of a system outage, a disaster plan is not something you want to create under crisis. Always be prepared and know for what comes next.
As a support organization, our mission is heavily focused on preventing outages. Monthly planning with our customers identifies risks, technical gaps, and support trends. As a result, we regularly propose services or training to bring in advisory resources and head off problems before they occur. In fact, we rarely emphasize the reactive side of our business, but it’s a big part of our commitment to customers. Problem Resolution Support is part of every Premier Support contract and provides a predictable, consistent way to engage Microsoft if problems arise or systems go down.
Problem Resolution Services
Premier customers can engage Microsoft for help via a phone call or over the web using Premier Online. As a customer, you set the incident priority which determines how important an issue is to your business. Incident severity also helps Microsoft prioritize the effort. A standard response for a Premier case is within 4 hours, but the response times get smaller as priority increases. Critical issues are handled with highest priority, often a live/immediate handoff, or within 1 hour.
Top priority incidents are referred to as Critical Situations or “CritSits” and they take on a special life of their own. They often represent a system outage but can represent just about any loss of business scenario (unable to ship software, significant performance degradation, system instability, etc.). When a critical case is opened under Premier, it is a mutual, 24×7 commitment that nobody goes home until the problem is solved. Both Microsoft and customer are expected to keep staff engaged until service is restored.
Tactical resources need to focus on troubleshooting, but management always needs to know what is going on. In addition the technical resource working with your team, your Technical Account Manager (TAM) or Application Development Manager (ADM) is required to take ownership of critical issues. They provide management support for things like status communication and dispatch decisions if onsite resources are needed to expedite a resolution. Critical situations are managed from start to finish with priority. After a CritSit is resolved, Premier can help with post-mortem assessments to understand WHY a problem happened and recommend services to avoid a repeat of the scenario. It’s all part of our commitment to keep our top customers focused on what they do best – running their business.
Confidence: In the Cloud and More
A Premier relationship drives the ongoing communication and support planning required to stay ahead of most crisis situations. If and when a business experiences an outage, the collective mindshare of Microsoft can be engaged through Premier to quickly restore service. Many customers are making game-changing transitions into the cloud. Premier can help minimize that risk through important support planning and critical response capabilities. Major Incident Response Plans are part of helping our cloud customers mitigate complex solutions in Azure. Premier offerings like Azure Rapid Response can reduce response times down to minutes and provide dedicated teams to support your most important business apps. Microsoft offers comprehensive support options, for on premises, cloud, and hybrid solutions. If it’s a supported Microsoft product or technology, it’s covered under Premier Support.
If your business does not have a relationship with Premier but depends on infrastructure or applications using Microsoft technology, think about what downtime of this system would cost for 1 day? For many companies, the cost of a major business outage for 1 day (even hours) and the repercussions of that crisis can easily exceed the cost of Premier Support. What if you don’t have a crisis? Use Premier to invest in your team through training, operational and process improvements, development guidance, performance testing, and more. Customers often turn to Premier under crisis, but they stay with us to avoid it.