Learn more about Microsoft Cloud Solutions Provider Program
Less is more
You’ve probably heard ‘less is more’ cliché a million times, and surprisingly, it works, especially in certain aspects of your personal life and business. However, when it comes to the subject of profitability, most professionals would agree that “more is more.” This is the thinking that has led different cloud services providers to participate in the Microsoft Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) program.
Not only does the CSP program authorize partners to re-sell Microsoft’s cloud services, like Office 365, in different countries, but it can also create new opportunities to develop and manage a subscription-based, scalable business that enables savings on administrative costs and billing and doubles profit margins, if not more.
This is significant when you consider that, beginning October 2015, profit margin disparity between Microsoft CSP and Advisor program has grown enormously. While the latter offers partners a margin of only 3 percent, the CSP program provides the capabilities to yield higher percentages of almost 16.5 percent, especially if the partner provides a 30-day free CSP trial.
Perhaps this would be better explained with the help of an example:
Suppose you’re part of the MS CSP program. You sell an Office 365 subscription to one of your clients, which results in profit. After a while, the channel firm becomes a partner of the Microsoft CSP program through your organization. The process will be fast and seamless, with no disruption in the service of the customer. However, what will change is the partner’s profit margin for reselling MS Office 365. It will triple!
Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well, considering the stellar reputation Microsoft has for its partner programs, this opportunity should not be passed up. Still, if you’re interested in knowing more details about the Cloud Solutions Provider program, read below.
Understanding the CSP Program
The main goal of the MS CSP program is to strengthen the relationship between partners and customers and improve partner business opportunities by giving partners involved with the program the capacity to manage the total Microsoft cloud customer lifecycle. The partner is in charge of customer relationship, customer support, and billing for O365.
Any Participation Benefits Available?
In the modern cloud-first world, over 65 percent of customers expect to buy cloud services, like Office 365, from a single source, and 84 percent desire to be involved in a successful relationship with a vendor to trust them as a reliable cloud service provider. The CSP program allows partners to meet customer expectations with a lot more ease and allows them to package their IP through managed and project services to raise profits.
Selling O365 as Part of the CSP Program
Partners transacting in CSP can sell the whole Office 365 portfolio available via the CSP. When a cloud service provider becomes a direct partner, they will be authorized to offer Office 365 service, customer support, and bill customers directly. The company needs a service business model, a customer support infrastructure, the ability to scale, and customer billing and invoicing capabilities. Becoming a direct partner requires commitment and effort. However, if a cloud service provider lacks infrastructure for billing and customer support, they can always connect with an Indirect Provider. This allots more time to spend with their customers, building specialized services and offers. If the partner is interested in improving their business through adding complementary services, they will still be responsible for ensuring the success of customers. However, they should develop a plan that helps customers implement and support their solutions in an effective manner.
Why This Works?
Reselling Office 365 gives the channel partners in Microsoft’s CSP program something they always wanted – greater customer control. Microsoft publishes new APIs that enable partners to integrate Office 365 metering, provisioning, and management into their own systems. Such APIs have already through various iterations for Microsoft to sort out business rules, technical details, and bugs. But they continue to evolve over time as new services get added and functionality is delivered.
Cloud service providers need to make a significant resource commitment to the maintenance and integration that keep these reselling features working smoothly. They will have to figure out the best way to bundle and sell their own services with Office 365. They must then provision and bill carefully for those bundles, without compromising on customer experience.
Potential Business Models
Channel partners can offer system integration, migration, and deployment of Office 365, and they may bundle managed services. Upselling and attaching enhanced security features works well. Devices can be attached with Office 365, and the partner can even offer end-user training and support services. The best thing would be to target customers looking to adopt Cloud solutions.
Increased revenue and improved profit margins are not the only advantages that come from reselling Office 365 via the Cloud Solutions Provider program. Any company that is part of the CSP program can provide access to other features to benefit the client. Channel partners can even bundle more Microsoft cloud solutions with other complementary cloud services to businesses of any size. Some solutions on offer include CRM Online, Azure CSP, Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), Automated Email Discovery and Migration Services, and 24 X 7 technical support services for every kind of cloud solution. The CSP programs of some companies let channel partners deliver expanded IT services at a reduced administrative cost. Because of this, channel partners find it easy to foster stronger and long-lasting relationships with their Microsoft customers, while achieving a better bottom line.