Over the past few years, the rapid pace of innovation and an evolution in how customers purchase technology have resulted in the need for Microsoft partners to think differently about their businesses. Along with new opportunities have also come adjustments for partners to make in order to thrive. One of those areas is the go-to-market licensing model used by the channel.
During the early days of Office 365, partners found great success with the Advisor model. This approach supported partners through billing and support provided directly from Microsoft. But as the market shifted, so too did the desires and expectations of customers.
In a recent Microsoft-commissioned study by 451 Research, half of the organizations surveyed said that service providers were vital for helping them implement new technologies. Sixty percent of those said they would be willing to pay more – up to twice as much – for a single trusted advisor to help them manage their IT, expecting a mix of applications and services. This has opened new doors for many partners in the areas of managed services and IP services, and also led to the need for operational transformation.
To support this need, Microsoft introduced the Cloud Solution Provider licensing model. To help partners build successful, profitable cloud businesses, Microsoft created the Cloud Solution Provider program. The Cloud Solution Provider program (CSP) makes it easy to build a managed services business with Microsoft Cloud Services and provides an opportunity to build recurring revenue streams. It puts partners out in front, enabling them to serve as the trusted advisor. With CSP, you own the end-to-end customer relationship, including billing and support.
Making the shift from Advisor to CSP
Thousands of partners are now participating in the Cloud Solution Provider program, and it is the primary licensing model for the Microsoft channel. There is a solid economic value proposition for partners with CSP. And, through June 30, you can take advantage of incentives that are currently in market.
CSP Power Up Reseller Incentive
Through June 30, 2017, Microsoft is offering partners the CSP Power Up Reseller Incentive, which lets you earn incremental incentives – up to US$50,000 – for selling Office 365, Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS), Microsoft Dynamics 365, and Microsoft Azure through CSP. For seat-based products such as Office 365, there is a varying amount added as a rebate depending on which SKU sold. To participate in this incentive, you must register before June 1.
Using Office 365 E3 as an example, you can earn a one-time incentive per seat sold with the CSP Power Up Reseller Incentive:
| Number of seats
|CSP Power Up Reseller Incentive
(US$40/seat for Office 365 E3)
|250 seats of Office 365 E3||$10,000|
|500 seats of Office 365 E3||$20,000|
|1,000 seats of Office 365 E3||$25,000*|
* The CSP Power Up Reseller Incentive is capped at US$25,000 per product. Partners can earn up to US$50,000 by selling more than one product and earning incentives across each. Review the offer website for details and terms/conditions.
If you are a managed reseller, you may also be eligible for an additional incentive through June 30. Sign in to the Partner Incentives page for details about incentives related to the Cloud Solution Provider program.
Getting started with CSP
It’s time to make the shift from Advisor to Cloud Solution Provider. On the Cloud Solution Provider program website, you’ll find materials that help you understand the opportunity and the scenarios and financial models that lead to profitability.
If you’re concerned about the CSP program requirements of providing billing and support, consider partnering with one of the CSP Indirect Providers in the United States.
Companies such as Ingram Micro, Tech Data, SYNNEX, D&H, Arrow, and others have offerings that execute billing and support on your behalf. These firms provide you with a similar experience to what you have today under Advisor, but through CSP.
Learn more about the cloud programs offered by these CSP Indirect Providers:
Beyond billing and support, CSP Indirect Providers aid the channel in other ways. Services they provide include managing vendor relationships, offering guidance for maximizing vendor programs, providing incremental financial offers, sales and technical training, marketing funds and programs, multi-vendor solution aggregation, on-demand project and managed services, robust marketplaces, and more.
If you’re not participating in the Cloud Solution Provider program, I encourage you to get started today. Reach out to your CSP Indirect Provider of choice and learn how CSP can help you maximize your profitability and long-term growth.
If you’re joining us in Washington, DC for Microsoft Inspire this July, there will be several sessions that help you capitalize on the CSP opportunity. In the Session Catalog, filter on Partnering with Microsoft and select Cloud Solution Provider Program. I look forward to seeing you there!