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Microsoft Dynamics Support and Maintenance

Microsoft Dynamics Support and Maintenance

You might think of an ongoing support plan as a kind of “insurance” for protecting your Dynamics 365 investment. Different plans offer different levels of “coverage.”

All subscribers get “emergency” support, plus a number of self-service options out-of-the-box. But you’ll have to pay in order to access the hands-on support—from a real person—that really makes a difference.

Dynamics users have a few different options. You can sign up for one of Microsoft’s plans or look toward its network of certified support partners.

In these next few sections, we’ll explore all Dynamics 365 support options–and what’s included in your plan.

Out-of-the-Box Support for Microsoft Dynamics 365

All Dynamics 365 accounts include basic support–so, you’re not totally on your own if you run into trouble.

According to Microsoft, all subscribers receive a response to the “most critical cases” within the hour. Users also gain unlimited access to technical resources like community forums, support docs, and an online collaboration portal for managing implementations and filing & tracking incident reports.

F&O accounts include the LCS portal–where you’ll find a whole host of tools that make it easier to migrate, implement, monitor, and improve system performance. It also includes a variety of self-service support tools for solving problems with your F&O apps. The community forum and issue search tools allow you to identify workarounds, hotfixes, and issues still waiting on a solution.

You can also open a support ticket or click the “Help” button in the top right corner of the app–though it’s worth noting, your admins will need to set up a support partner account if you don’t have an in-house IT team. In other words, unless you’re paying for additional support, the “Help” button simply submits the incident to Microsoft.

These resources are useful for solving minor issues yourself but don’t offer much beyond the typical self-serve options and basic support desk services. Microsoft only steps in the event there’s a Dynamics emergency or the need for break/fix support.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Support Plans (Paid)

If you’re looking for more coverage than what’s included out-of-the-box, Microsoft offers the following Dynamics 365 support plans:

Professional direct support. This plan provides faster response times, escalation management, and proactive advisory services from a real person. You’ll gain access to expert insights, support dashboards, and a community of users you can turn to for help with common problems. This option is best for SMBs that generate value by running production apps. Plans start at $9 per user per month, but there’s a $180 minimum.

Unified support. The unified support plan offers comprehensive support for the entire enterprise across all Microsoft technologies–not just Dynamics. This option is designed for larger companies running production apps 24/7 and need on-demand support in case there’s a critical incident.

At this level, organizations get hands-on, tailored support from Microsoft that goes way beyond traditional tech support. For example, EY used the service to support ideation and proof-of-concept for an HR application, designed to streamline hiring, improve transparency, and eliminate manual admin tasks.

Premier support. Premier support is an enhanced version of the Unified support plan that offers end-to-end support for large enterprise teams. This plan covers performance improvement, incident management, and 24/7 support for all Microsoft products–both onsite and remote. As an example, this case study outlines how Arrow Manufacturing was able to create a unified experience for 20k employees via Microsoft Teams. The Premier Support team helped the company implement the new digital workplace and drive adoption.

Keep in mind, Microsoft is ending support for solutions like AX, NAV, and GP.

If you’re still using one of these systems–or you’re in the early stages of the migration process–you’ll likely be better off with a Microsoft partner that can offer more hands-on support.

Partner Support

The third option is transferring your system support contract to a certified Microsoft partner.

The advantage is, you’ll be working with experts who know how to leverage D365’s functionality to achieve critical business goals.

Partner selection depends on factors like industry, experience, and the amount of coverage you need. But, in most instances, you’ll want to look for a support partner that covers the following bases:

Reactive services. Reactive support describes the basic services provided by tech support. Think–break/fixes, support tickets, or troubleshooting issues.

But–it’s important to remember, reactive support alone won’t create value for your business.

It should be a given that your service provider is available to respond to service requests. Ask questions about response times and availability. How can experts maintain uptime and protect against threats?

Proactive services. Where partners begin to add more value than what you’ll get from Microsoft out-of-the-box is proactive support. Look for a partner that seeks out opportunities to generate value. That might mean finding ways to take advantage of new features or optimizing existing processes.

Strategic advisory. Taking this idea of “proactive support” a step further, it might be a good idea to look for a partner that can hold your hand through migration, implementation, and everything that comes next. Can help with requirement gathering, strategy, change management, training, etc.?

Long-term support. Finally, you’ll want to look beyond implementation and find a partner that’s in it for the long haul.

How might they help with ongoing training? Or resolving post-implementation issues? Will they help ID ISV solutions to plug performance gaps or improve processes?

Best Practices

Whether we’re talking self-serve options or hands-on guidance from a certified partner, support alone won’t fix problems caused by poor planning or a toxic company culture.

We asked our experts what, aside from extra support services, should clients invest in to maintain peak ERP performance and drive long-term wins.

Here’s what they had to say:

Take ownership of the solution. According to BC Support Engineer, Anthony Dossier, “it’s not on Microsoft (or your implementation/support partner) to maximize the value of your investment.” It’s up to you to develop a business strategy, define goals, provide training resources, and so on. Partners are there to help you achieve your goals. But, they can’t do much without a clear picture of what’s happening inside your company.

Stay informed of new functionality. Read and watch videos of existing functionality that have not been implemented or utilized. Keep track of new features in the base software and the ISVs they use. continue to suggest new features.

Test new functionality in a sandbox environment. Don’t deploy new features, updates, or automations, without thorough testing. You’ll need to make sure you know exactly how each change impacts existing business units and workflows before setting it loose in a system you depend on for critical tasks.

Take advantage of D365 tools. Use LCS to keep up with the latest updates & upgrades. Use the RSAT tool to verify the system is working properly after deploying updates. Use LCS to track system performance on an ongoing basis.

Keep it small (at least at first). Senior Consultant, Nick DiAngelo says, “in most cases, your minimum viable product (MVP) won’t include every single business need. “You’re starting with the essentials. Then, as you get more familiar with the system and start collecting more data, update the game plan to focus on new priorities. From a support standpoint, doing too much too soon makes it hard to pinpoint what’s causing a problem. And as a result, problems take longer to solve. The other issue is, you might end up implementing a bunch of features and customizations that don’t solve any real need.

Don’t let future phases die out. As Consulting Manager – BC Enterprise, Carrie Gabris puts it, “if something was parked as a post-go live solution, be sure to pick it up again once you’re stabilized to keep the growth going.” Completing the big implementation is only the beginning. Committing to making incremental changes on a long-term basis is the only way to sustain and build on your initial improvements. Carrie adds, “it’s also important to review post-phase requirements. to ensure that they’re still requirements after teams have adapted to new routines.”

Final Thoughts

Bottom line, if you’re investing the time, resources, and org-wide effort in Dynamics 365, investing in a comprehensive support plan should be a no-brainer.

Velosio experts not only support D365 migration and implementation–they provide ongoing support. This helps orgs maximize their investment and maintain peak performance for the entire solution lifecycle. Contact us today for a consultation.


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