Understanding Lync Server Support Options

Microsoft recently made changes to the support options available to organizations deploying Microsoft Lync. Microsoft covered these changes in a Next Hop Blog Post- Expanded Lync Server Support Options. I wanted to provide an overview of these changes as I see them from a Microsoft Customer and Microsoft Partner perspective. This post will outline the pros and cons to the newly available support options.

The History of Lync Server Support

Up until 2012, all Microsoft Lync customers would receive Microsoft Lync support from Microsoft Premier Support services. Many customers had this support included with enterprise licensing agreements, and the remainder would purchase support agreements, or use a per incident payment model. As Microsoft Lync became a more predominant Enterprise Voice solution in many enterprises, Microsoft chose to leverage it’s wide array of Lync Certified Partners to support customer needs. This program was introduced under the internal code name Premier Support for Lync Partners (PSLP), and to customers as Lync Certified Support.

In 2012 Microsoft ramped up the PSLP program with a large number of certified support partners, and introduced a great value to many organizations who required Lync support. However, not all organizations would easily fit into this model. For one, it was very costly for small organizations, and secondly, large enterprises with a very capable internal IT team were often paying for support that did not fit their unique needs. My opinion is that these issues with the support model have prompted the recent changes to the support options for Lync, and I am personally excited about these changes.

The New Lync Server Support Options

Microsoft outlined these details in the Next Hop Blog Post Here. However, as a quick summary:

  • Standard Lync Product Support- This is provided by Microsoft Premier Support Services and is similar to support Microsoft offers for all of it’s products.
  • Premier Support for Lync- This is a new program introduced by Microsoft to allow organizations to receive advanced Lync Server support directly from Microsoft.
  • Lync Certified Partner Support- This is what was originally introduced in 2012 and involves a relationship with a Lync Certified Partner for end to end support of your Lync environment.

 

I mentioned that I would  be providing a pros and cons analysis of these support options. The table below outlines my understanding of the new support options.

Target Customer Lync Software Support Provided By Third Party Hardware and Software Support Provided By End to End Issue Management and Support Provided By
Standard Lync Product Support Small Business or No Enterprise Voice Microsoft Third Party Customer
Premier Support for Lync Large Enterprise or Customer with Enterprise Voice Microsoft Third Party Customer
Lync Certified Partner Support All of the above Partner Partner Partner

 

The solution that is provided by Lync Certified Partners has the advantage of providing end to end support for all hardware and software in the environment. The key difference here is that Microsoft is not able to support any gateways or SBCs, or any video equipment, or any other third party solutions that are in the environment. Granted, a number of customers are OK with that, they have those support options covered and would prefer to have an escalation point to Microsoft for serious issues, and that is where the Microsoft provided support options come in to play.

Summary

Customers that are looking to escalate Lync only issues to Microsoft will be more inclined to purchase support directly from Microsoft. Customers that are looking to have end to end issue management and support for all components of a Lync environment including third party hardware and software, as well as having an escalation point to Microsoft will want to purchase support from a Lync Certified Partner.

Lastly, if I had to recommend a partner for Lync Certified Support. I work at Modality Systems, a global solutions and services provider for Microsoft UC. Modality Systems is without a doubt the #1 Lync Partner in the world, so my recommendation would be FIRMLY to work with Modality Systems for your Lync Support needs! www.modalitysystems.com

 

Resources

List of Lync Certified Partners- http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/lync/hh965532.aspx

Expanded Lync Server Support Options- http://blogs.technet.com/b/nexthop/archive/2013/07/02/expanded-lync-support-options.aspx

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