Office productivity is the core of every organisation, from the small family business to the multinational corporation. Selling licenses has therefore always been very straightforward, with one dominant vendor and similar needs across end customers. But with the rise of cloud computing, even the market for office suites, specifically Microsoft Office, has changed dramatically.
Customers have shifted their expectations, especially with software-as-a-service allowing them unprecedented flexibility in the purchasing of software and support. No longer do they need – or want – to commit to long term license agreements. Accounts are bound to users rather than to machines, giving them full accessibility and flexibility on every location. And end users still get the environments and complete platforms they are familiar with. No wonder Microsoft Office 365 is one of the most popular cloud solutions out there. But popularity among end customers aside, there are also other practical reasons why a cloud service provider (CSP) would want to offer Office 365 using a CSP Automation Platform.
As mentioned above, end customers now have full flexibility in purchasing software without committing to long term licenses. They expect that they can add MS Office 365 accounts whenever needed. A temporary expansion of the team means they need short term access to an Office 365 account. While activating an additional account is not a complicated procedure in itself, it can become a hassle if the client has to go through the movements repeatedly simply because projects demand a high turnaround of specialist teams. Or perhaps clients wish to run a trial first, without immediately committing their resources, and will select their service provider according to that.
By using our CSP Automation Platform, CSPs can easily provision Office 365 accounts and add any packages as they are needed, including Business, Business Essentials, Business Premium, Office Professional Pro, Enterprise E1/E3/E5/K1 with various add-ons. This greatly improves the customer experience, as it allows for full team flexibility, as well as service provider efficiency, as they can easily oblige. The same goes for corollary Microsoft business services, including Skype for Business, Exchange Online, Sharepoint Online, Onedrive for Business and Dynamics CRM Online.
By offering flexibility, service providers can be confronted with complicated billing schemes. Monthly mutations of subscriptions are manageable -even by hand- when working with fixed licensing, resulting in fairly straightforward billing. But that situation changes drastically when switching to an on-demand model. There is constant overlap between long term and short-term service purchases and combined with dynamic service uptake, billing can become very complicated.
CSPs can greatly increase scalability and flexibility by leveraging automating billing offered by CSP Automation Platforms. Customers will experience great service as all costs are collected into a single, clear invoice. This allows them to retain control, while service providers can commit their resources to offering services.
The Microsoft CSP programme allows for the delegation of support to partners. This greatly strengthens the bond a reseller has with their clients, as they become the one-stop-shop for everything their clients need in terms of their productivity solutions. However, not all resellers qualify to offer direct support of Microsoft services as Microsoft recently has made requirements stricter.
By using a CSP Automation Platform, resellers can profit from support delegated to distributors and remain the first point of contact for the clients. That means they can maintain and build out their customer relationship.