By Dann Anthony Mourno
Microsoft has significantly upgraded its Advanced Support for Partners (ASfP) offering. This is subscription-based advanced support for cloud partners, be they born-in-the-cloud or moving into it.
Microsoft Director of Product Management, Cloud Support Offerings Marcelo Bellinaso summed up the history of ASfP and its new features this way:
ASfP is Microsoft’s newest partner support offering designed for born-in-the-cloud and growth-stage cloud partners (especially Cloud Solution Providers or CSPs). ASfP was announced at [the Worldwide Partner Conference] WPC 2015 and officially launched at EMEA Convergence last December. ASfP is a mid-tier offering that lands squarely between [Microsoft Partner Network] MPN and Premier from a pricing and feature perspective. All features listed below are new in the space below Premier. In particular, the ability for partners to purchase support as a month-to-month subscription with no upfront investment required is unique to our offerings portfolio.
Those new features of ASfP include:
- One hour response times, with escalation of most critical issues.
- Opening and managing incidents on behalf of customers.
- Access to expert Services Account Managers and Partner Technical Consultants.
- The pay-as-you-go option of US $1,250 per month, with no upfront costs. A yearly commitment is $14,550, which represents a 3% discount.
- Proactive communications that enable partners to get ahead of potential incidents with technical information, cloud consults, roadmap webinars, and more.
On the surface, it appears to be an excellent investment for CSPs. A yearly commitment of $14,550 ($15,000 if you pay-as-you-go) is less than a quarter that of a burdened employee with expertise at the level of Partner Technical Consultants.
ASfP covers most of Microsoft’s entire cloud portfolio, though ASfP collateral does not include the Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS). So it covers much the same ground as the CSP program, including:
- Microsoft Azure
- Microsoft Office 365
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online
- Microsoft Dynamics AX
Brad Larsen, Microsoft’s director of partner experience and benefits with the Worldwide Partner Group described the upgrade on the company’s Partner Network blog. Larsen writes that the ASfP was upgraded based on direct feedback from more than 1,500 partners worldwide.
Landing squarely between MPN’s offerings and Premier Support, ASfP is “ideal for partners who are growing their cloud business and need a higher level of service, but who aren’t quite ready for Premier Support,” says Larsen.
Thus far, over 150 partners (and growing) have subscribed to ASfP. Partners can learn more and connect to an ASfP expert on the Advanced Support for Partners page, or download the ASfP factsheet for more details.