What is Microsoft CSP Program and Why should Partners care?

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Microsoft CSP, or Cloud Solution Provider program enables authorized Microsoft partners to sell and deliver Microsoft Cloud products such as Office 365, Azure, Dynamics 365, Enterprise Mobility + Security, Power BI etc.  In a CSP scenario, a customer maintains the relationship with the CSP Partner and does not deal with Microsoft directly, enabling the CSP partner to drive and own the customer relationship.

Here’s how Microsoft defines the CSP Program

“The Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider program enables partners to directly manage their entire Microsoft cloud customer lifecycle. Partners in this program utilize dedicated in-product tools to directly provision, manage and support their customer subscriptions. Partners can easily package their own tools, products, and services and combine them into one monthly or annual customer bill.”

In CSP Program, you buy cloud products and licenses from Microsoft or an Indirect Provider and sell them to your customer at your own price and earn the profit.

The two models that CSP program offers are Direct and Indirect.

  • Direct Model

In direct model, CSP Partner deals directly with Microsoft for reselling cloud services to their customer. In this case, the partner will sell, provision and support their customer services and will bill them only for their respective usage and licenses. Direct model is recommended if you have or are planning to have support infrastructure for sales, billing and customer support for your clients. Microsoft will bill you directly for all your customers under a single invoice and you will be paying to Microsoft for all your customers. There are various requirements you need to fulfill to be a direct partner, such as

  1. Support Infrastructure for supporting your customer’s technical needs 24*7.
  2. Platform to manage billing/invoicing etc. for your customers
  3. Microsoft ASfP or PSfP Support agreement
  4. Provide at least one managed service, IP service, or customer solution application. Learn more
  • Indirect Model

Also known as reseller model, Indirect model is a good program for cloud newbie partners who do not have sufficient support infrastructure in place to run a full-fledged cloud sales and IT Support organization. In Indirect model, you will work with an Indirect Provider who will enable you to resell products and will support your customer for their billing/technical needs. In Indirect model, you would be dealing with your indirect provider, not with Microsoft. The requirements to get started aren’t much in an indirect model wherein you can start selling cloud products quickly. Both models have their own pros and cons and it’s important to choose the right model, This short video, and business modeling tool can help you in learning more about what could be the right model for you.

Why should Microsoft partners care about CSP Program?

DC forecasts revenue for that worldwide public IT cloud services will reach $141.2B USD by 2019, a 19.4% compounded annual growth rate. Microsoft CSP Program is an opportunity for Microsoft Partners to be ready for this capturing this always expanding market and make recurring revenue and profits.

  1. Empower your customers in this cloud first world: Cloud is a reality now, if you’re already a managed services provider, your customers must have been asking you for benefits for moving to cloud to you already. Cloud solution provider program enables partners to effectively migrate their existing customers to Microsoft cloud and earn ongoing profits.
  2. Access to the discounted Prices and Partner Incentives With CSP Program, you’d have access to a discounted price of cloud solutions than standard public pricing, enabling you to earn recurring profits even if you resell the solutions at a standard public price. Along with discounted price, you’d also have an opportunity to earn incentives from Microsoft based on CSP sales.
  3. Build Customer Relationships In CSP Program, you the CSP partner drives the customer relationship from the beginning of sales cycle and manage it throughout delivery and regular support. This enables partners to provide end to end hand-holding experience to customers, helping them to build ongoing customer relationships.
  4. Build your custom IP and Solutions With CSP Program, you can also build your own IP and your custom solutions, package them with Microsoft cloud solutions and sell as a single bundle. For example, if you’re an MSP, you could offer a managed user support bundle which would include Microsoft Office 365, your support services and possibly your own solution or any third-party product.
  5. Upselling and Cross-selling opportunities With CSP, you have an ocean of opportunities related to upselling and cross-selling. With the ongoing customer relationship that you’d build, you will a greater opportunity to upsell more cloud solutions, cross-sell customization and your professional services such as consulting. For instance, you could offer your custom backup solution or support contract or any other consulting support very easily to a new or existing Microsoft cloud solution.

In further posts of this series, we will talk about how you can get started with CSP, understanding CSP licensing and billing, understanding Microsoft bill, how you can automate your billing process etc. Watch out cspcontrolcenter.com for more. C3 aka CSP Control Center is a cloud platform purpose-built for Microsoft CSP partners, enabling them to distribute, sell, bill and provision cloud solutions.

This blog is originally published on CSP Control Centre.