TMCnet Feature
August 07, 2020

10 things you need to know about Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider Program



The CSP (News - Alert) (Cloud Solution Provider) program gives you the ultimate control in managing your entire cloud customer lifecycle.



While it’s been around since 2015, the Microsoft CSP has been constantly evolving and changing to keep pace with the technology and how people use it. As businesses increasingly move operations to the cloud, CSP is becoming more relevant to more people.

CSP is not just a licensing programme

While part of CSP is about licensing, it’s far more than that. CSP gives you all your Microsoft (News - Alert) public cloud subscriptions, including Azure, Dynamics CRM Online and Office365. But as well as that, there is 24/7 support, monthly invoicing that makes accounting and cashflow a breeze, and so much more flexibility.

CSP is only for the cloud

As the name suggests, CSP is only for use in the cloud. It gives you access to SharePoint Online, Skype (News - Alert) for Business, the Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) and Office365 from where-ever you are, when-ever you want. 2am in Texas? Sure. Eleven o’clock in El Salvador? No problem.

You might still need on-premise software licensing

If you aren’t going to operate exclusively in the cloud, then you’ll still need some on-premise options. Get licensing from a Microsoft partner to ensure your staff have every option available for maximum productivity.

You must sign a contract with Microsoft

Because this cloud subscription is Microsoft’s IP and is owned by them, you’ll need to enter into a contract with them as well as your partner. Microsoft have terms and conditions you must agree to. This means signing the Microsoft Cloud Agreement and the Microsoft Online Service Terms. This forms the legal agreement between you and Microsoft.

Your Microsoft provider gives you 24/7 support

Your CSP provider will give you all the support you need as part of your package. Microsoft deems 24/7 support as mandatory among their CSP partners and is totally non-negotiable. Smaller providers may outsource their support to a global distributor outside of their operating hours, but either way, you’ve got backup and support when you need it.

You may be able to enter foreign subsidiaries

The Microsoft CSP program is divided up into areas across the globe. If you have a CSP agreement in one region, it covers all your subsidiaries within that geographic border. For instance, your provider may be in the EU area, or Southeast Asia. Microsoft have a complete list of areas on their site. However, if you have subsidiaries across multiple regions, you may need another CSP provider in more than one region.

You can stop at any time

There’s no minimum timeframe from Microsoft, and the CSP program is charged month by month. That means the ultimate in flexibility as your business grows and changes, letting you stop your commitment when you need to. Some CSP’s may have a minimum 12 month subscription initially, but after that there is nothing stopping your subscription from being altered or terminated.

You pay your provider, not Microsoft

The CSP provider is who you have a payment agreement with, and they are who you pay. The manage the payment for cloud subscriptions with Microsoft. You can relax, knowing you only have to deal with your CSP provider, who you already have a relationship with.

CSP programs have a number of benefits

With month-to-month billing, flexible contracts, and only one invoicing partner for subscriptions, a CSP is an easy choice for many business. The biggest downside though, is that your business cannot get your license for on-premise software through your CSP.

There is an alternative for complex scenarios

If you have a mixed IT environment, there are better solutions available. Check out the OVS (Open Value Subscription) program for medium and small organisations. OVS gives you the ability to licence the cloud software and the on-premise software, making it a one-stop-shop.

OVS also uses a subscription based model, so you can add or subtract seats as you need up to 500 users, have various subscriptions can be added on as you need, and you can spread payments out to help affordability and cashflow. This means that although the payments are yearly, rather than CSP’s monthly fee structure, there can be financial planning arranged.

Make your choice today

The decision might not be straightforward for you, choosing between the OVS and CSP agreement. If that’s the case, a CSP might be a good option to choose first- with more flexibility of time periods, you’re not locked into a long contract. Find a local CSP and give them a call to find out what they offer, and then get your business humming- in the cloud.



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