Microsoft Solution for Supplier Enablement

Support Guide

Microsoft Corporation

Service Release 1, May 2002

Applies to:
 Microsoft Solution for Supplier Enablement
 Microsoft Commerce Server 2002
 Microsoft BizTalk Server 2002

Summary:Learn about the support provided for the Microsoft Solution for Supplier Enablement (MSSE) by Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS), including escalation paths, support offerings and resources, and contracted support levels. (11 pages)


Support Scope
Support Reference Model
Support Activities
URL Resources


This document provides information about the support provided for Microsoft« Solution for Supplier Enablement (MSSE) by Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS). This includes escalation paths, support offerings and resources, and contracted support levels. The audience for this document includes delivery teams who are implementing the MSSE and customers who are supporting and maintaining the MSSE. This document, combined with the support package details template provided with the solution, provides guidance on the use of the support package. The template details the support package purchased with the solution and provides telephone numbers and Web sites for accessing support.

Support Scope

Microsoft Solution Offering (MSO) support packages are customized for each MSO. The support package included in an MSSE sale is determined by the complexity of the deployment configuration to be implemented by the customer. The MSSE Deployment Guide defines the following four primary deployment categories:

Development Deployment

Development deployment involves a single-server architecture that serves as both a development and testing environment. Development deployment is not supported in production environments.

Core-Medium Deployment

Customers implementing a Core-Medium deployment should obtain at least a Level D contract. A Core-Medium deployment consists of a two-server architecture and is intended for small businesses. This deployment is designed for Web sites with a low volume, and is the simplest and most economical production environment to support. The Core-Medium deployment is a good starting point for businesses that have developed and tested their solutions in the development deployment but are not ready to scale to the Medium or Custom deployment. For detailed Core-Medium deployment information, see the MSSE Deployment Guide.


Customers implementing a Medium deployment should obtain at least a Level D contract. A Medium deployment consists of a four-server architecture and is intended for organizations that expect sustained activity on their sites and want the ability to scale up to a larger deployment. The architecture of this deployment has the most practical configuration because the design addresses load balancing and security concerns. For detailed Medium deployment information, see the MSSE Deployment Guide.

Custom Deployment

Large enterprises may require a custom deployment, which provides additional reliability, scalability, and fault tolerance. Customers implementing a custom deployment should obtain at least a Level C contract. The architecture for this deployment is significantly more complex than the other deployments and will require additional support.

Support Reference Model

Microsoft Solution Offerings include a support package for solution-focused support. The types of support packages are detailed in the following section. Support is available directly from Microsoft and through Microsoft Gold Certified for MSO Support partners.

Support Package Details and Contacts

The Microsoft Solution Offering includes information about the support package purchased. In addition to a full description of the package, a summary based on the following template is provided for quick access to support.

MSO Support Package Details

Support Contact 800 Number (24x7x365)

Support Web Site

Customer Access ID (unique to each customer and solution configuration)

Named Escalation Contact (only for Level C, B, and Custom)

MSO Support Package Purchased (Level D, C, B, or Custom)

Support Package Components

  • Number of hours
  • Number of site visits
  • Premium services included with package

On completion of the MSSE implementation, an MSO support representative will conduct an orientation and planning session with the customer to provide specific instructions about how to use the contract.

Contract Options

Solution support comes in four levels of service: D, C, B, and Custom. The following table lists the features of each service level. The solution is recommended with a minimum support package of level C.

    MSO – Level D MSO – Level C MSO – Level B MSO – Custom Level
Prescriptive Services Service Level Agreement       Optional
  Solution Custom Code Quick Fix Engineering (QFE) Support        
  Source Code Control        
  Scalability and Benchmarking Labs   Additional Fee    
  Technical Workshops   Additional Fee    
  Architecture Review   Additional Fee    
Relationship and Service Level Management Solutions Operational Assessment   Additional Fee Additional Fee  
  Account Reporting        
  Escalation Contact Pooled Named Named Onsite
Advisory Services Onsite Advisory Additional Fee      
  Solution Workshops        
  Solution Advisory Services (Setup, Configuration, Operations)        
Resolution Services Solution QFE Support        
  Rapid Onsite Support Service Additional Fee      
  Break-fix Support:

Emergency — 1 bus. hours

Critical — 2 bus. hours

Standard — 4 bus. Hours

  Pooled Hours 150 Hours 400 Hours 800 Hours Custom Hours
Internet and Information Services Solution Expert Roundtables        
  Solution News Flashes        

The various components of the support offerings are described in the following sections.

Prescriptive Services

Service Level Agreement — A legal document covering the level of service Microsoft will commit to the customer. This agreement covers minimum service level guarantees, escalation procedures, and the penalties that are incurred when service levels are not provided.

Solution Custom Code Quick Fix Engineering (QFE) Support — This service extends support to the application code added on top of the standard Microsoft Solution Offering. The support includes QFE for the application customizations, and requires Source Code Control services.

Source Code Control — This service provides control of the entire MSO implementation source control. The code is maintained at Microsoft and is used to expedite support and to perform QFE of the customer solution.

Scalability and Benchmarking Labs — Microsoft will work with the customer├‚┬’s operational staff to analyze performance statistics and investigate potential performance throughput bottlenecks. Work can be performed in Microsoft labs or onsite with the customer.

Technical Workshops — The service includes technical workshops specifically designed for customer implementations of Microsoft Solution Offerings. Workshops will be focused as specified by the customer, including performance tuning, security, and administration.

Architecture Review — Microsoft reviews the architecture of the MSO implementation and provides recommendations. This service is required for custom code QFE support and Service Level Agreement (SLA).

Relationship and Service Level Management

Solutions Operational Assessment — The Solutions Operational Assessment helps an organization plan for improvements in its operation of Microsoft technology, especially in mission-critical systems. It helps an organization assess the maturity of its practices against industry best practices as applied to Microsoft technology, and then helps identify and prioritize key improvements needed to close any gap.

Account Reporting — This service component refers to monthly customer reports that reflect incident status and service use. These reports will be prepared by the Account Manager to spot trends and insights that can help a customer maximize the use of the service and the Microsoft Solution Offering.

Escalation Contact — The customer will be provided with a named Microsoft Account Manager whom the customer can call for escalation. The Microsoft Account Manager will escalate critical issues to Microsoft senior management for expedited QFE.

Advisory Services

Solution Advisory Services — Solution Advisory Services is a per-hour service that is used to receive informal guidance or advice from Microsoft support personnel. Following are the two types of Advisory Service:

Onsite Advisory — Provides Solution Advisory Services onsite at the customer location. An Onsite Advisory can be utilized for both the Proactive Advisory Service and the Reactive Advisory Service.

Solution Workshops — Provides workshops focused on MSO operations and performance. Workshops can be delivered onsite at customer locations or at Microsoft.

Resolution Services

Solution QFE Support — Microsoft provides Quick Fix Engineering (QFE) support for Microsoft Solution Offerings to fix any problems in the application code.

Rapid Onsite Support Service — The Rapid Onsite Support Service provides the capability to dispatch support professionals from the support center to a customer site to quickly resolve critical incidents and is geared toward problem resolution. This service is available to all MSO customers, although some support packages require the customer to pay an additional fee for the service. The objective of the onsite visit is to restore service, troubleshoot the problem, or help identify root cause.

Break-Fix Support — The Break-Fix support service is available when a single unexpected event with specific symptoms is encountered while using a Microsoft Solution Offering, where there is a reasonable expectation that the symptoms are caused by a Microsoft product. When a customer calls in their incident (or logs an incident issue over the Web site), a Microsoft representative will ask the customer to rate their incident in the following categories:

Pooled Hours — All Microsoft Solution Support is provided from a pool of hours included with the support package. These hours can be used across all the service offerings identified in the support package.

Internet and Information Services

Solution Expert Roundtables — Solution Expert Roundtables are an information service that is available to all Microsoft Solution Offering customers. Expert Roundtables provide information about key areas of Microsoft technology, focused on support topics and emerging products. During the Expert Roundtable, participants have the opportunity to ask specific questions of presenters. Customers who are unable to participate in the live Expert Roundtables can take advantage of on-demand streaming media content, access a phone-in replay, read full session transcripts, and download the Microsoft« PowerPoint« slides.

Solution News Flashes — Solution News Flashes provide customers with regularly scheduled updates of important public and Microsoft Confidential information that is covered under standard Non-Disclosure Agreements and Master Service Agreements signed with all MSO customers. Flashes are available for each individual solution, allowing customers to tailor the flashes to meet their needs.

Delivery Models

MSO Support package services are provided by both Microsoft and Microsoft Gold Certified for MSO Support partners. Microsoft direct support is provided by the Microsoft Global Solutions Services Center (GSSC). Customers with Microsoft Premier Support will have the MSO support package added to their Premier support agreement and will receive service and status reports from their assigned technical account manager or application development consultant.

Customers without Premier will receive support directly from the GSSC and will be provided with a named Microsoft GSSC contact for MSO Level B, C, and Custom support packages. GSSC will provide frontline support for the solution offering, which includes troubleshooting the initial request from the customer, root cause isolation, advisory services, and redirecting or collaboration with other PSS support teams.

MSO Support packages are also available from Microsoft Gold Certified for MSO Support partners. Partners will provide the same support services and packages identified in the Contract Options section. Partners will escalate issues to Microsoft that require QFE.

Third-Party Software

The MSSE connects suppliers to third-party marketplace and procurement applications run by external trading partners. This marketplace and procurement application software is not supported by the MSO Support Packages. Suppliers will need to address problems in connecting to these applications with the external trading partners running the applications. The external trading partner that runs the application can then address the problem directly or work with the marketplace and procurement application software vendors to do so.

Service-Level Metrics

Service-level metrics specify the maximum amount of time to elapse before a customer, after opening an incident, is contacted by a support representative. Initial response goals will be the same for all support package levels but will vary by severity.

Business Hours:

Initial technical response time is determined by severity, as follows:

24x7 Hours:

The 24 hours per day, 7 days per week solution support is defined as the hours between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. Monday through Friday and between 2 p.m. and 10 a.m. Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. During the 24x7 hours, the technical routers will be calling or paging the appropriate on-call engineers or negotiating callbacks for the next business day and dispatching the cases to the appropriate queue. Customers will be offered technical assistance via a page first, if they chose to wait until the next business day, and then the technical router will dispatch the case to the appropriate queue.

Support Activities

This section provides information about various support activities.

Status Reports

Status reports will be provided on a quarterly basis for MSO Support Level D and Level C. Level B and Custom MSO support packages will provide monthly status reports. The status reports will detail the contract utilization. Details include hours used, onsite visits used, and a list of support incidents opened. For each incident, the report will specify the number of hours used, the type of problem, and the time to resolution.


Readers should review the MSSE Operations Guide for details on troubleshooting problems with the solution. In addition to the section on troubleshooting, the MSSE Operations Guide includes information on monitoring the solution and failure scenarios.

Problem Reporting

The customer will initiate contact with support by telephone or the Web using the contact information provided in the support package description. Customers purchasing the solution support package will receive a unique ID used to contact support. This unique ID ensures that the service request is routed to the solution support team that is familiar with and trained on the solution.

All paths will result in the creation of an incident ID (SRX#) that will be provided to the customer. All incidents will be deducted from the customer support package by the hour. If the root cause of the problem is determined to be a bug, the incident time will be refunded.

If the cause of the incident is determined to be the solution code or documentation, a bug will be filed and the issue will be escalated to the Sustained Solution Engineering Team. (See "Escalation" below.)

If the cause of the service request is not a bug, or if the request is related to custom code, the support professional will work the issue to resolution. This may involve collaborating with other support professionals, teams, or groups (for example, Microsoft« SQL Server™ support) as needed. The hours logged by all support professionals involved will be deducted from the support contract hours.


If the support professional is unable to determine the root cause of the problem in a timely manner (see "Escalation Triggers" below), the incident will be escalated to Microsoft Solution Integration Engineering (SIE). SIE will perform a more detailed analysis of the issue to determine root cause and advise the customer, support team, SSE Team, and CPR on further action as appropriate. The SIE support professional will be responsible for isolating and reproducing the problem. Due to the complex nature of the solution, it is likely that multiple support professionals would be brought in at this juncture to work on the problem in a team environment. The standard developer support process for escalation will be used for any problems discovered with the underlying Microsoft products.

Escalation Triggers

During the normal course of supporting the solution, various checkpoints will be established to ensure a timely resolution of the incident. Triggers will be set based on time (both for hours worked and for days since incident creation) and severity, such that high severity (business down) issues will have escalations expedited.

Triggers will be used to protect the customer from extended case times. The faster an incident reaches the appropriate escalation level, the faster the resolution delivery time. The specific escalation path will be determined by the owning support professional, technical lead, team manager, and account manager.

Quick Fix Engineering (QFE)

Incidents caused by a bug may require QFE to resolve the problem. QFE issues can affect both executable code and documentation. Procedures for handling QFE issues are described in the following sections.

Solution Code

If isolating the problem results in the discovery of a bug in the solution code, the customer will be notified about the nature of the issue. Short-term workarounds may be suggested. The case will immediately be sent to the Sustained Solution Engineering Team. The Sustained Solution Engineering Team will then be responsible for keeping the GSSC, Premier, and customer contacts updated with the current status and estimated time to resolution.

Solution Documentation

If isolating the problem results in the discovery of a bug in the product documentation, the customer will be notified about the nature of the problem. A workaround (either code or procedural) will need to be developed. When the workaround has been tested, it will be submitted to the Sustained Solution Engineering Team for inclusion in an updated document. Other options include the resolution being added as an addendum.

Product Code

If isolating the problem results in the discovery of a bug in the code of an underlying product, the customer will be notified about the nature of the problem. The incident will immediately be dispatched to the appropriate Microsoft Critical Problem Resolution (CPR) team for resolution. It will be the responsibility of the CPR team to apprise the appropriate GSSC, Premier, and customer contacts as to the progress and estimated time to resolution.

Design Change Requests

It is likely that when the solution is in general use, changes in behavior will be requested. These issues may be perceived as "bugs" or design limitations. The requests may originate from either external or internal sources. Regardless of origin, the requests will be reviewed by the Sustained Solution Engineering Team for merit and overall impact on a case-by-case basis. Unless the change is deemed critical, no response time is required. If the request is critical, the Sustained Solution Engineering Team will be notified of the severity and the customer will be informed about the progress of the request. For critical issues, it may be preferable to identify alternative acceptable workarounds in the interest of expediting the resolution.

Advisory Services

In addition to traditional break-fix support, MSO support packages include advisory services. The Advisory Service provides short-term, proactive assistance for specific design, development, or deployment issues. Advisory Service engagements are focused on specific tasks within a development or deployment project and are delivered remotely from Microsoft offices throughout the world. Advisory services are billed by the hour and are deducted from the hours included in the MSO support package.

URL Resources

The following URL provides additional information:

Microsoft Solution for Supplier Enablement: