Being a reseller used to be limited to the actual meaning to the word. You would simply sell on licenses for services and maybe offer some support, with the vendor taking things over from there. But times have changed. Thanks to cloud computing, more organisations have access to enterprise grade IT services. With that they need – and expect – enterprise grade support and billing. But Microsoft’s Cloud Services Provider (CSP) programme allows for offering exactly that. Here’s how:
What resellers need
Before Microsoft introduced its CSP, the role of the reseller was mostly limited to sell software licenses to their clients and finding new ones. Resellers are specialised parties with a strong local personal network, and it made sense that they would be able to counsel their clients in choosing the right solutions and leave the operational side of things to the supplier. This meant that Microsoft took control of billing and advanced support.
But the cloud changed everything. Instead of ongoing licensing contracts, end customers have started to prefer monthly payments that they can cancel on short notice. This did not work well with the long-term commitment that resellers have with their vendor. Also, their IT purchasing possibilities have markedly expanded, giving them access to a mix of IT services that were formerly out of their league. For the reseller, this means they need to be able to offer a solution which fits the exact needs much more closely.
The CSP equips resellers for the cloud
The transition has prompted Microsoft to create a reseller programme that is an exact fit with the potential cloud computing offers to partners. The programme allows partners access to billing and support roles that hitherto were limited. Partners get much more flexibility in selling Microsoft cloud services, including Office 365 and Azure. They can bundle it with other cloud services and tune their offerings to the specific needs of their customers.
This has been very successful. Microsoft has expanded the scope from the initial 50 markets to 131 now. The number of partners transacting through a CSP has grown by 83 percent over 2017, to reach a current total of 45.000 CSP partners. The CSP program has obviously struck a balance between the needs of the reseller and the specifics of cloud services.
But with great power…
However, next to the possibilities, the CSP programme also gives resellers more responsibilities. Not only does the programme have revenue targets that have to be attained, but partners have to be able to offer 24/7 support and have integration and billing capabilities.
Resellers generally excel in offering the personal touch, and that will still be a key asset. The good news is that they don’t have to do it alone. One of the key provisions of the Microsoft CSP program is that they have the possibility to collaborate with other parties that can assist them. The interworks.cloud platform offers exactly the automation tools needed for integration, provisioning and billing that resellers need to fully profit from the Microsoft CSP Program. Our added knowledge enables your organisation to fully service your end customers.
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