The Council of Australian University Directors of Information Technology wanted to maximize the value of Microsoft Services Premier Support for all universities. In May 2012, it struck a deal: a highly flexible Premier Support contract that allows
universities to pool IT support, tailor IT workshops, and focus resources on common challenges. With a strategic relationship in place, IT support costs fell 10 percent, while the total number of hours available for value-added services rose 12 percent.
Microsoft products are widely used by universities in Australia, who are eager to pioneer new ways of using technology in education. To help them do this, and gain maximum value from investments, most universities purchase Microsoft Services Premier
Support. This provides IT departments with proactive IT assistance and access to expert technical advice.
While each university held its own Premier Support contract, many procured IT through the services of an organization that negotiated sector-wide deals on their behalf, the Council of Australian Directors of Information Technology (CAUDIT). With Premier
Support becoming ever-more popular, CAUDIT spotted an opportunity to help its members.
“If universities joined together to purchase Microsoft Services Premier Support, we could lower the cost of technical support for our members,” says Maureen Klinkert, the President of CAUDIT. “Economies of scale would deliver better value for money and a
Microsoft-CAUDIT agreement would create a strategic relationship that would focus resources on the needs and opportunities that confront universities today.”
In early 2011, CAUDIT directors identified three areas in which they believed a common Premier Support contract framework could benefit universities.
“Each Microsoft Services Premier Support contract promises a set number of consultation services with a Microsoft technical expert, and we wanted the flexibility to focus these services on common challenges and strategic initiatives,” says Klinkert. “Second,
we wanted to create product training workshops that specifically targeted the needs of university IT departments. Third, we wanted to create a simplified Premier Support contract to relieve universities of legal and administrative burdens.”
In May 2012, Microsoft Australia negotiated an agreement with CAUDIT to deliver Microsoft Services Premier Support to CAUDIT members in Australia. Called Premier One, the agreement was the first of its kind in the world, and was worth AU$3.4 million
(US$3.5 million) per year over three years. It includes pooled support services, sector-specific upgrade initiatives, and education-focused online workshops.
||Technology is having a profound impact in every field of higher education, and sector-wide Premier Support helps us retain the initiative.… Strategic engagement makes this landmark agreement exceptionally valuable—for Microsoft and
| Richard Northam
Chief Executive Officer,
Council of Australian University Directors of Information Technology
To provide a single point of contact at each university, Microsoft has provided Technical Account Managers who work on-site and remotely across Australia. All are Microsoft Certified IT Professionals who offer practical advice, insight, and support. In addition,
Microsoft provides a Service Delivery Manager who works directly with CAUDIT to identify and develop strategic initiatives that most benefit all CAUDIT members.
In its first year with Premier Support, CAUDIT developed a program to help universities upgrade from Live@edu to Microsoft Office 365 for education. This included access to experts from Microsoft Cloud Vantage Services, which is dedicated to helping customer
transition to cloud-based services. As a result, CAUDIT made sure IT staff had the practical help they needed, including guidance for synchronizing Active Directory accounts.
Through the Premier Support agreement, Microsoft also created a series of tailored workshops. The sessions focused on operational issues, like updates for Windows Server 2012, and included only those topics requested by university IT staff members. The workshops
also provided a forum for operational staff to quiz Microsoft experts on product road maps, which helped them plan deployments and gauge support needs.
The Premier Support agreement proved instantly popular. As soon as its terms were finalized, 24 universities signed up and 5 more joined when their own support contracts were due for renewal. The popularity continued into 2013 with the Premier Support contract
covering a total of 34 Australian universities.
With the highly flexible Premier Support agreement from Microsoft Services, Australian universities have generated a greater return from their IT budgets, shared education-specific IT expertise, and improved long-term IT planning.
Reduced Costs, Increased Value
During the first year of the support agreement, universities have achieved a
10 percent savings in Premier Support costs. Improved economies of scale have allowed Microsoft to increase the value of the resources committed by 12 percent.
“In its [AU]$3.4 million contract, CAUDIT negotiated a value-based agreement with us that led to an education-specific strategic offering with tailored services and direct cost savings,” says Matt Batchelor, Services Executive for Microsoft Services Premier
Support. “Because we can deploy our resources more strategically, we have been able to invest in additional services around proactive support and service management. We have also secured further funding for strategic initiatives like upgrade support through
Because Premier Support is tailored to the needs of IT staff across the higher education sector, training is more valuable and technical knowledge is readily shared. “The agreement enables universities to leverage their IT spend,” says Steve Johnston,
Director of Procurement at CAUDIT. “The flexibility to devote lots of support services to specific challenges means that common problems are resolved quickly. And having that sector-wide focus gives CAUDIT the assurance that Microsoft is addressing the big
IT issues that universities face.”
According to Chief Executive Officer Richard Northam, CAUDIT is creating a strategic relationship between Australian universities and Microsoft that will stimulate innovation. “Technology is having a profound impact in every field of higher education,
and sector-wide Premier Support helps us retain the initiative,” he says. “Conferences with some of the leading forward thinkers in Microsoft have helped university IT heads grasp the prospects and potential for IT in education. Strategic engagement makes
this landmark agreement exceptionally valuable—for Microsoft and for us.”
Microsoft Services is a global team of professionals who are dedicated to helping customers maximize the value of their investment in Microsoft software. Microsoft Services touches customers more than 715 million times a year, helping them plan, deploy, support
and optimize our technologies. They also work closely with Microsoft Partners by sharing their technological expertise and product knowledge on a regular basis.
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