REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 16, 2000 — The folks at Motorola Inc. seem to think that Glenn Edwards works for them.
“We take Glenn with us when we travel internationally on behalf of Motorola support and we consider him a part of Motorola,”
says Michael Guggemos, Motorola’s worldwide manager of technical accounts, who has a key role in maintaining the IT infrastructure for the company’s 80,000 PC users in 70 countries around the world.
“He does a phenomenal job for us.”
Motorola credits Edwards with enabling the company to successfully fight two of last year’s most dangerous computer viruses; with helping to cut support calls to Motorola’s key technology provider, Microsoft, by 20 percent; and with helping to manage a newly consolidated technical support operation that provides better support and saves Motorola $750,000 a year.
But Glenn Edwards doesn’t draw his paycheck from Motorola. He’s paid by Microsoft, where he’s a Dedicated Technical Account Manager (DTAM) in the Microsoft Premier Support Program, working full-time to support Motorola’s use of Microsoft technology.
“Sometimes we forget Glenn works for Microsoft,”
says Motorola’s Dee Ramon, quality assurance manager for mail systems.
“He does that good a job of representing our interests.”
One person who couldn’t be happier with the way Motorola views Edwards is Joe Austin, Microsoft’s general manager for Premier and Alliance Support.
“Large enterprises — those with 5,000 or more desktops — need customer advocates within Microsoft who are passionate about customer service, knowledgeable about Microsoft and how to work the system here, and dedicated to keeping their customers 100 percent satisfied,”
“As our relationship with Motorola shows, it’s a crucial piece of our Premier and Alliance Support Programs.”
Premier and Alliance Support: Proactive Services to Prevent Problems
It may be a crucial piece, but it’s not the only piece. Although Premier and Alliance Support do offer the type of reactive support for specific problems — for example, a crashed server or an unresponsive application — that many people associate with technology support programs, they excel at a range of proactive services that many wouldn’t have thought of even a few years ago. Those services include
that evaluate a customer’s digital infrastructure and offer recommendations for fine-tuning; access to Microsoft labs for stress-testing customer solutions; and online services to help educate and inform a customer’s own technology staff, including Expert Roundtables, Product News Flashes and Microsoft’s famed Knowledge Base with tens of thousands of support articles.
Even Microsoft wasn’t offering — or even thinking about — these proactive services several years ago.
“We’ve worked steadily over the past five years to make Premier and Alliance great services that meet the needs of customers in demanding environments,”
Major Growth, Customer Satisfaction for Premier and Alliance Support
According to those customers, Austin and his colleagues at Microsoft have largely succeeded. The customers for Premier Support have increased by 900 percent over five years and now number more than 3,700 worldwide.
Even more important, Austin says, is the growth in the amount of service those customers want and get from Premier and Alliance Support. Five years ago, each account manager supported six customers. Today, most account managers focus full-time on a single customer — with some customers contracting for the full-time services of 10 or more account managers. As the program has grown, Microsoft has created specialized Premier Support packages for enterprises, developers, OEMs, IT pros, MCSPs and, most recently, for Internet businesses.
Customer satisfaction ratings for Premier and Alliance Support have doubled over time; 97 percent of customers say they are satisfied with the service and most of those — 75 percent — say they’re very satisfied. And these customers put their money where their mouths are. Virtually all — 97 percent — renew their Premier or Alliance Support contracts at the end of each annual term.
“We all think Microsoft Premier Support is great,”
says Tina Lustig, senior program manager, software engineering, at FileNET Corp., maker of Web content management solutions.
“You don’t know how valuable it is until you use it, and then you can’t remember how you lived without it.”
“The key to the success of our Premier Support relationship with Microsoft is our ability to have a full-time, influential advocate within Microsoft to understand us and to represent us to the support, engineering and product development groups,”
says Rick Sparacio, supervisor of the Windows Server Group at Chevron Corp., which estimates that its use of Premier Support, together with Chevron’s overall migration to a Microsoft infrastructure, has helped the company save $60 million in corporate IT costs over two years.
“Our adoption of the Microsoft platform has been a great success, and the availability of Microsoft Premier Support for Developers was a very important part of our decision to take this step,”
says Dan White, executive vice president and founder of SkillSet Software, a leading provider of enterprise workforce management solutions for end-to-end collaborative recruitment. ( Click here for more information on how SkillSet uses Premier Support for Developers, part of Microsoft’s specialized Premiere Support programs. )
“Speed in resolving problems is crucial when you have a major component-down situation,”
says Bruce Lyons, global IT & S infrastructure manager for Getronics, the world-leading information and communications technology service and solution company, which includes the former Wang Global.
“We don’t have the time to research crisis issues on our own when a server goes down affecting thousands of users. With Premier Support, we don’t have to. It saves us time and money in resolving each support incident.”
Premier for Internet Business is Newest Offering
The latest addition to the Premier Support lineup — Premier Support for Internet Business — began to roll out this past summer. Customers include application service providers (ASPs) such as LoudCloud as well as dot-coms and online retailers, including BarnesandNoble.com and Lycos.
“We had been serving dot-com customers through our Premier Support for Developers program, but when we looked at what they really needed we realized that there was a better way to serve them,”
says Rich Russell, program manager for Premier Support for Internet Business.
Internet companies need both the application development services of the Premier for Developers program as well as the operations maintenance support of the Premier for the Enterprise program, Russell explains. Beyond requiring elements of both of those other offerings, Internet businesses need a service that operates at the rapid pace of the dot-coms and ASPs themselves, and that appreciates and helps them avoid the losses that accompany even temporary service disruptions, he adds.
A team of account managers, infrastructure specialists and development experts provide infrastructure assessments, code reviews and lab testing, as well as workshops and online information services to train a dot-com’s own personnel in the techniques that will keep it up and running successfully. In addition, Microsoft provides incident response services, including onsite support and a toll-free phone number exclusively for Internet business customers that’s staffed by support professionals trained for Internet business needs.
“Interest in this new offering is extremely high,”
says Christine Lee, Microsoft business development manager.
“We’re expanding our teams to support additional customers, and monitoring and refining the mix of services to ensure we’re meeting customer needs.”
“Our Internet business customers are different from our other Premier and Alliance Support customers in key ways — they’re in a more volatile segment, they have different business models, and so on,”
says Microsoft’s Austin.
“But in other ways, they’re very much the same. They want and need a support team that’s completely customer-focused. We know how to do that, and our Premier Support people are absolutely passionate about it. We’re looking forward to this latest challenge.”