Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider Program has started to gain traction in the IT market, which may have caught your eye as an attractive choice for cloud deployment. If you’re considering buying from Microsoft’s CSP platform, it’s crucial that you balance pros and cons in order to carefully decide what’s right for your company.
In this post, we will go through the specifics of the CSP software and its advantages and potential pitfalls for future customers.
What is Microsoft’s CSP Program?
The Cloud Solution Provider Program is a new approach that Microsoft sells licenses and handles client accounts. Instead of Microsoft selling licenses directly to its customers, they will sell their licenses to Direct CSP Distributors, who will then sell them to Indirect CSP Resellers or to you, the consumer. Indirect CSP resellers can also sell directly to consumers.
As a customer, you don’t have to deal with Microsoft and only have to handle your interaction with your Reseller and/or Distributor. Your Reseller or Distributor will manage relations with Microsoft and represent you to Microsoft for any major issues.
Your Reseller or Distributor will provide you with anything related to your customer experience, including negotiating exclusive discounts, customized bundles, support, maintenance, etc.
What is the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) Licensing Model Exactly?
There are two CSP models, either direct and indirect. While neither is better than the other, it is necessary to choose the right one. Read below for detailed information about each model to get you started. And consider using a business simulation technique to help you quantify and understand the figures.
If your company already operates with or plans to create adequate sales, billing and support infrastructure, you can consider a CSP direct model. Each company is distinct, but in general, if you want to become a CSP direct partner, you should meet the following requirements:
- Active MPN ID for the location you’re enrolling
- Existing customer support infrastructure
- Existing customer billing infrastructure
- Funds to invest in technical integration and support readiness
You can consider the indirect CSP model if you wish to offer more services to your customers but need some infrastructure support for services such as billing. The indirect model is a 2-Tier sales strategy through indirect providers and indirect resellers:
- Indirect providers provide billing, customer care, and logistical assistance during the distribution and post-contracting cycles. They perform a number of backend operations, allowing the indirect reseller to concentrate on locating and closing transactions. In general, indirect providers are big, well-founded businesses. There are just a few of them per geographical area.
- In the indirect model, your company is likely to be an indirect reseller. Indirect resellers are responsible for locating buyers and selling. With the assistance of indirect suppliers, you can concentrate on marketing and expanding your client base.
As an indirect reseller, you can take advantage of the opportunity to deliver Microsoft web services while outsourcing billing and supporting the indirect CSP supplier. Working with an indirect supplier has many advantages. They will help you start selling more quickly, grow your holdings, and lower your prices. If you know this is your model, follow these three steps and get started!
Join the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) and get an ID number you’ll use to enroll in CSP
Enroll your business in the CSP program as an indirect reseller
Connect with an indirect provider who can help you with support and billing
Whether you choose the indirect or direct model, enrolling in CSP can take you from selling licenses to building relationships as you take control of the customer experience end to end.
Pros of the CSP Program
1. You Get to Work with Your CSP Partner
As an individual consumer, you might know the frustration of trying to get the attention of Microsoft. As outstanding as they are in delivering goods, they often find it difficult to provide meaningful customer service to any of their customers simply because of the sheer scale of their company.
You can often feel like you’re a bit different than some of them, which is why the CSP Partnership delivers a more immersive and customized experience. When your CSP partner maintains your relationship with Microsoft, you will just have to manage your relationship with your CSP partner, whose function in this chain is to provide you with an optimal customer experience.
2. No Minimum Commitment
Microsoft’s EA wanted its consumers to satisfy certain very time-consuming criteria in order to retain their price standard and the discounts that go along with it. These price thresholds are largely determined by the number of seats you require and, as of 2016, the minimum seats you need to register for the EA have been increased from 250 to 500.
This leaves a number of mid-sized enterprises in the region of 250-500 employees in the lurch, scrambling for options that won’t require them to pay for the licenses they don’t need.
This is where the CSP program comes in; with the CSP program, there are no minimum commitments that you need to comply with. This makes CSP suitable for mid-sized enterprises, and many former EA customers are likely to turn to CSP for that very purpose.
There is also no overall amount of time you need to be with the CSP program. For the EA, you mostly needed to sign up for a three-year agreement, and during that period you could potentially add licenses, but you couldn’t easily dive below the initial agreement.
With the CSP however, there is no minimum seat requirement and no length of time you have to commit to, giving you complete freedom in how long you stay and how much you use.
3. Monthly Payment Models
One of the main appeals that attract buyers to the CSP is the month-to-month payment models that CSP provides. This helps you to adjust for seasonal inflows of staff and consumers alike. Not only is it easy to scale, but it’s also easy to scale, which is not a feature found in Microsoft’s Enterprise Agreement (EA).
For the EA, while it was straightforward and almost inevitable that customers would apply licenses to their final count at all times, it would be painful and almost futile to delete any license that always left customers feeling obligated to purchase more than they wanted merely to retain their EA status and keep Microsoft satisfied.
With the CSP, although there are other long-term payment models available, there are no such limitations that limit you to lock in, and you are free to add and remove licenses from month to month as your needs dictate.
The billing you get is often meant to be more detailed than that of the EA, allowing you to monitor your expenses quickly.
Cons of CSP
Some of the Partners are Newer than Others to the Cloud Business
It can be a lengthy procedure to become a direct CSP distributor, and you would need to satisfy a lot of requirements.
However, being an Indirect CSP Reseller would not entail almost the same amount of prerequisites, since they would receive much of their infrastructures, such as their billing and technological assistance, from their Direct Distributor. As such, you may find that smaller and younger resellers are not as well suited to meet your particular market demands as they emerge.
1. It’s in the Cloud
It may be a bit of a no-brainer because the CSP program is a cloud-based program, meaning that it can not offer products that are only usable on-site. This could be a roadblock for certain companies that want their software and data to stay on-prem.
You will need a different license for those things that are on-prem, such as servers. Cloud-related issues come from an exclusive cloud network.
Ready to Become a CSP?
Becoming a CSP enables Partners to address the full experience of clients; partners become their customers’ supplier of IT solutions, manage subscriptions, renews, and updates, and help their digital path from start to finish.
For consumers, buying through a CSP provider rather than going straight to Microsoft means that they can expect a wider variety of product options, customized solutions, and a clear line of help when they need it.
CSP Partners will be the first point of contact with all the needs of their clients, delivering solutions from a trustworthy, established firm. They will have the autonomy to manage and monitor their own billing processes and intervals, to set customized rates, to develop exclusive lending options, to provide innovative strategies, and to upsell their own goods.
CSP Partners will frequently get previews of new apps and software, so that they can keep updated on changes that can impact their clients and get to grips with enhancements before they reach general availability.
With the cloud services industry expected to continue to expand dramatically, the CSP platform gives Partners the opportunity to develop themselves as a trusted cloud solution provider. With the help of both existing Partners and Microsoft themselves, Partners will expand their companies and get ahead of the imminent cloud explosion.