As per the industry analysts, cloud adoption is showing an exponential trend. More and more customers now prefer to have their IT solutions deployed in the cloud. This presents an opportunity to the Microsoft partners to provide customers with customized solutions with Microsoft cloud services.
Microsoft Cloud Solution Providers (CSPs) offer Microsoft online services like Office 365, Microsoft 365, Enterprise Mobility + Security, Dynamics 365, Windows 10 and more to the customers. By becoming a Microsoft CSP under the CSP program, you can get the following advantages:
- Manage the cloud customer lifecycle, including support and billing.
- Build long-term relationships with the customers as their first point of contact.
- Create bundled offerings, upsell or cross-sell services with trusted Microsoft solutions to increase their bottom-line.
- Get tools for managing and supporting Microsoft services for the customers.
Microsoft keeps on improving the CSP program to help partners reduce business risks, increase revenue, reduce licenses and customer support overheads.
Here’s a look at the new major updates for the CSP program in 2019-20:
1. PMC to Partner Center
This year, Microsoft made it easier for partners to do business by introducing a single website – Partner Center, that serves as a single point of engagement. All things that partners used to do in the Partner Membership Center (PMC) can now be accomplished via Partner Center dashboard.
Microsoft Partner Center (http://partnercenter.microsoft.com) helps Microsoft partners grow their business through the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN), the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program, and more.
A web-based enrolment system for the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN), Partner Center (PC) helps associated individuals to use the PC Dashboard for managing their Microsoft membership and benefits associated with it. It has many capabilities, including existing MPN programs, benefits and competencies, and new capabilities like the referrals engine, where depending upon the profiles and competencies you maintain, customers are directed to incentives management or your contact points.
Partner Center experiences for CSP partners:
- Succeed and grow with Microsoft while preserving your investments.
- Increase efficiencies with simplified experiences for partner buying, selling, and management.
- Safeguard your customers and your business.
Click here to know the differences between PMC and Partner Center.
2. Introduction of Azure Lighthouse to enable partners to deliver differentiated managed services
With Azure Lighthouse, service providers get a single control panel for viewing and managing Azure across all their customers with enhanced governance, better automation, and scale. Azure Lighthouse enables service providers to deliver managed services using complete and robust management tooling which is in-built in the Azure platform. This offering is also beneficial for enterprise IT organizations who manage resources across multiple tenants. Advantages of Azure Lighthouse:
- Better precision and visibility for the customers.
- Complete and centralized platform tooling.
- Management capabilities at scale.
3. Security requirements started from August 1, 2019
In order to safeguard CSP partners’ business, infrastructure and their customers’ data from potential security risks like fraud incidents or identity theft, all Microsoft partners in the CSP program or direct bill partners, indirect providers and indirect resellers, advisor program partners and Control Panel Vendors, are needed to:
- Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): for all user accounts in their partner tenant.
- Implement the Secure Application Model Framework: for any integration with a Microsoft API.
4. Microsoft Partner Agreement (MPA) has been made available in Partner Center from September 1, 2019
“Businesses and users are going to embrace technology only if they can trust it.”
– Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft Corporation
Effective September 1, 2019, Microsoft Partner Agreement (MPA) (new version of Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program partner agreement) has now been made available for signing in the Partner Center, replacing existing CSP partner agreements.
As per Microsoft,
The MPA will:
- Provide a modular, perpetual agreement that partners execute and store digitally.
- Be simplified, making it faster and easier to accept and manage.
- Offer clear, concise terms that help Microsoft, partners, and customers comply with regulatory requirements. This supports our commitment to privacy, security, compliance, and transparency.
With this new process, by January 31, 2020, all CSP indirect resellers now need to accept Microsoft Partner Agreement in the Partner Center, digitally, in order to keep transacting in the CSP program.
5. Microsoft Customer Agreement available for CSP from October 1, 2019
Microsoft has brought Microsoft Customer Agreement (MCAv2) to the CSP program from 1 October 2019. This non-expiring agreement replaced the then existing Microsoft Cloud Agreement (MCAv1) for existing and new CSP customers. With simple terms and conditions, this single agreement can be signed by all customers digitally. This lets customers purchase services across all Azure channels and adds new products and services, as required.
This can also be used to buy all offers available in the program, including existing offers accessible under Microsoft Cloud Agreement. Customers buying new Azure plan in CSP will need to accept Microsoft Customer Agreement terms.
For buying other offers in CSP, including Azure offer, partners have the option between using the Microsoft Cloud Agreement or Microsoft Customer Agreement for all services purchased, during the transition period that will end on January 31, 2020. Following this transition period, partners will need to direct customers to accept Microsoft Customer Agreement for all purchases in CSP, including subscription renewals.
6. New commerce experience in CSP for Azure effective November 1, 2019
Microsoft launched a new commerce experience in CSP for Azure on November 1, 2019. It has been done to smoothen the way customers purchase and consume Azure services. It will provide CSP partners with a unified view of Azure pricing across sales, alignment of the billing date, USD pricing for international consistency and access to Azure Cost Management. Microsoft provides CSP partners with needed policies and governance to transition customers to new Microsoft Customer Agreement.
The Azure offer continues to exist in the CSP so that partners get time to create new services and move their customers to new Azure features in CSP. More information is available on the Partner Center resources gallery.
With so much exciting new offerings on the CSP front, Microsoft is heading in the right direction and enhancing the customer experience and offering the right tools to improve cloud adoption amongst the customers. To take advantage of all these changes and to ride the cloud wave, it’s better that you move your day to day cloud business operations like cloud billing, service provisioning and delivery, to a cloud business automation tool like RackNap. By automating these processes, you can focus on increasing your business revenue, rather than investing your time and skills on mundane activities. So, book a demo today.
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