This post will explain my new role at Microsoft, and describe the services offered by the Microsoft Premier Developer group, one of the only delivery-oriented groups within Microsoft Premier Support Services.
Since I’ve been getting a lot of questions about my new position lately, I wanted to take a moment and explain the group I joined, why it’s so unique within Microsoft, and how companies can benefit by engaging this group to help support their own developers and make the most of their Premier Support hours.
Premier and MCS
Microsoft’s Services division has two major organizations that employ consultants and engineers to help customers with their Microsoft technology investments:
- Premier Support – This group leverages consultants from PFE (Premier Field Engineering – the rock star support engineers that get escalated on critical support requests), and my group – Microsoft Premier Developer. Customers typically buy blocks of support hours or sign up for long term support contracts, and are assigned Technical Account Managers (TAMs) or Application Development Managers (ADMs) to help manage their cases. You can read more about Premier here.
- Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) – The custom consulting and delivery organization within Microsoft. They typically perform fixed-bid project work (with Statements of Work, formal contracts, warranties, etc), and offer a range of services that are common throughout a software consultancy, such as project management, deployment assistance, software installation and configuration, custom development, testing and QA services, architectural guidance, etc. MCS contracts can be written to enable MCS consultants to work and maintain production systems. You can read more about MCS here.
I’m of course over simplifying these two organizations- they offer many more services than I’ve mentioned here, but the basic guidelines apply – if you have a software-related project to complete, you can engage MCS to help deliver it, and if you need support for your Microsoft products, you can engage Premier Support to tackle the toughest support issues. While they have totally different engagement and contractual models, Premier and MCS work together – the knowledge gained by the PFEs during support efforts is fed back to the consultants at MCS to improve architecture and delivery, and the cutting edge implementations of MCS get shared with Support, and can ultimately influence the folks in the Product Groups that build our software.
Some services may fall in a grey area between these two teams, and this is where Premier Support for Developers can help. For smaller engagements that don’t make sense within the overhead of a fixed-bid project model, customers can use their Premier Support relationship to get the help and assistance of top-quality developer consultants.
Premier Support for Developers (PSfD)
PSfD is a Premier Support contract type designed to fill a sweet spot between support and delivery, to help the development teams of our customers. Customers that have (or are considering) Premier support contracts can use them for services such as:
- Mentoring, training, and coaching on development with Microsoft technologies
- Delivery of workshops, chalk talks, and training sessions
- Code, architecture and systems reviews and assessments
- Readiness assessments, migration assistance, gap analysis
- Development of Proof of Concept implementations
- Process management and improvement
- Ad-hoc consulting or advice on a broad range of Microsoft technologies
Let’s say for example, that you are a customer interested in moving your SharePoint on-prem customizations to an Office365, cloud-friendly approach (FTC to CAM). You have developers that can perform this work, but wish to have guidance, advice, and analysis of existing customizations. This might not make sense as a fixed-bid, outsourced, end-to-end engagement -you just want to quickly bring in a consultant to help guide your team, bounce around ideas, and provide some analysis and recommendations. For these kinds of ad-hoc consulting opportunities, Premier Developer is an excellent, no-friction resource. Premier Developer consultants span a broad range of Microsoft technologies, including:
- SharePoint, Office365, Exchange, Lync, and Yammer
- SQL Server and BI/Reporting, BizTalk
- Visual Studio, TFS, and ALM
- Windows and Web development (ASP.NET, WPF, WebAPI, Windows Phone, Windows 8 apps)
- ITSM/Process management
- Windows Azure and cloud development, machine learning, big data
- Mobile development
Many customers with Premier Support contracts have unused hours, and so Premier Developer help is a great way to maximize your Premier Support investment.
SharePoint, Yammer, and Office365 Premier Developer Support
If you are a Premier customer and are looking for services related to SharePoint, Yammer, Office365, or Azure, here are just a few of the things I or my other SharePoint colleagues can help with:
- FTC to CAM migrations (full-trust-code to cloud-app-model/on-prem to Office365 multi-tenant)
- Analysis, code review, and recommendations for existing full trust or Office365 solutions and code components
- SharePoint PowerShell workshop
- SharePoint and Office365 development workshops (app models, capabilities, administration, etc.)
- Yammer Development workshop (admin and REST API development)
- SharePoint deployment and ALM assistance
- SharePoint infrastructure assessments, planning and architecture
- Proof of concept development
- Hosting SharePoint in Azure IaaS, HA/DR for SharePoint
- Patching and Version to Version upgrade assistance
- Mobile considerations for SharePoint
- Enterprise Social consulting (Yammer and SharePoint integration, migration from other Enterprise Social platforms)
If you have a Premier contract with Microsoft already, and are interested in using your hours for Premier Developer help in the SharePoint/Yammer/Office365/Azure space, give your TAM/ADM a ring and let them know (or contact me and I can help you find your TAM/ADM if you do not know who it is).