Huge business opportunities are popping up everywhere for cloud solution providers. After all, the demand for managed services is growing strongly.
Extensive studies by renowned industry experts show remarkable growth expectations for cloud services. Gartner, in its cloud research, found that public cloud revenue will reach nearly US$331.2 billion in 2022.
So, if you are a service provider, don’t be left behind. The opportunities are there. This article will guide how you can take full advantage of them.
The Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program was introduced by Microsoft in 2014 with the belief that the cloud is the core. It has helped MS partners get high value when working in a cloud model and be involved in their customer’s businesses, more than just reselling licenses.
“CSP puts the right amount of pressure on us to sell the right thing, and we’re motivated more than ever to make sure we drive adoption and training,”
– a Microsoft partner.
How to grow and maximize profit through Microsoft CSP program?
In July 2019, Microsoft launched new tools, commerce options, and rewards programs through Microsoft commercial marketplace to help its partners get their services out to market faster. With these enhancements, the way to new opportunities becomes clearer.
Before you embark on this journey, make sure you are prepared and know what to expect. Do your research and decide what you need exactly to succeed. There are multiple things to consider. Here are a few offerings you should keep in mind:
Microsoft Commercial marketplace
It’s not a simple catalog of offer listings. It includes both Microsoft cloud services and software and MS partner services, built on top of and to connect with one or more Microsoft cloud services (Microsoft 365, Azure, Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform) published as transactable offers. The commercial marketplace supports offers from MSPs (managed service providers) and consulting services by SIs(System Integrators).
It provides customers with Microsoft products and services from partners at one place, with a single transaction, on a unified invoice by the commercial marketplace.
The channels from where customers buy – field sellers or CSPs, is accessible and managed by Microsoft partners through a single place known as Partner Center. With it, partners can publish marketplace offers and manage engagements, resellers can bundle a partner’s services and software with Microsoft services and software. This helps in simplifying the engagement between partner, customer and reseller with one transaction and invoice.
New commerce capabilities
There are new commerce options that Microsoft partners are already benefitting from. Many are using custom business models for their SaaS-based applications. Many like MongoDB are using managed services and per-seat SaaS capabilities from long-time Microsoft partners. These commerce abilities help you customize your offers and deliver a highly targeted service to meet your customers’ needs.
Microsoft is sharing marketplace rewards – a new program for benefitting publishers by enhancing their success with transactable offers in the commercial marketplace. Through it, publishers can unlock benefits like sales, marketing and technical support to accelerate success. With each stage of their growth, they can unlock more benefits. This is with a new badging program for Azure marketplace and Microsoft AppSource to quickly direct customers to trusted partner solutions working with Microsoft cloud services.
CPOR and OSU-M365
To improve the partner experience, Microsoft has launched Claiming Partner of Record (CPOR) and Online Services Usage Incentive program (OSU-M365).
Here, you can get full access to your customer’s performance and data usage to help them optimize it for the required business outcome. A customer, on the other hand, can associate with multiple partners for the workload they deliver. They can manage the whole complex process in one place. As a partner, you can provide clear insight to your customers who can easily turn out to you for assistance with specific workloads.
Go-to-Market (GTM) Activities
The new go-to-market (GTM) aims to improve partners’ reach to customers and increase their Microsoft practices. Through the GTM Demand Center, you can conduct analysis on the market, develop an approach like the target customers, value proposition, create a distribution model, etc. plan your sales and apply best practices to reach your target customers.
If you have a silver or gold competency, you can use more benefits like consultation where a dedicated GTM services desk will be provided to you to review your marketing strategy and listing optimization where you can receive personalized support to generate more leads.
Demand generation assets are for partners who have attained gold competency using which you can publish a landing page in Microsoft Partner Demand Center as well as send target emails to increase visitors.
Microsoft Azure reserved instances
Microsoft’s Azure reservations are a great way to save money in the cloud. The reservations are applied to resources already deployed based on their type, performance tier, etc. Customers who have subscription-based reservations with the 1-3-year term can purchase the reserved instances.
Using reservations, your customers will be able to save significantly when they reserve instances in advance. Plus, they can model out their purchases to measure their performance and ROI to make the best decision.
Keys to success to follow as a Microsoft CSP partner
The MS CSP partners manage the entire cloud lifecycle for their customers. Following is the list a partner should follow to increase benefit from the Microsoft CSP Program:
- Go to the cloud marketplace on a small scale to test the market, understand your GTM strategy, and then go to a broader level rollout.
- Create bundled services with unique solutions for your clients that offer a comprehensive solution. In the end, your revenue will increase.
- Modernize your sales and marketing processes to create a digital brand and emerge as a leader in the cloud-service business.
- Implement and deploy the operational framework which will keep you the single point of contact for the services you offer, such as MS CSP services, your services, and third-party services.
- Guide your customers for the first 3 months which is important in most cases and will help you in building higher lifetime customer value.
Provide better solutions to customers with CSP enablement solution
Microsoft provides CSP API to help partners integrate their systems to manage customer accounts, ordering activities, subscriptions, and support requests. But then, the MS CSP marketplace, billing, customer support, and management remain the duty of the Microsoft CSP program partner. Here, RackNap comes to your rescue.
RackNap is an automation platform that helps partners (Direct Partners and Indirect Distributors) to enable the MS CSP business model operations. It allows the MS CSPs to bundle their different services, including Office365, Azure RI, etc., and sell them directly to their customers effortlessly.
Learn more about RackNap Microsoft CSP automation platform.