CSP / Microsoft

CSP Microsoft – A Comprehensive Guide

CSP / Microsoft

CSP Microsoft – A Comprehensive Guide

The Microsoft Solution Cloud Provider Program is:

  • Partnership Program: Designed for companies offering managed, cloud, or application services on Microsoft platforms.
  • Access to Products: Provides partners with Microsoft software and services for building and managing solutions.
  • Support and Benefits: Offers technical support, training, and sales and marketing resources.
  • Revenue Opportunities: Enables partners to grow their business and generate new revenue streams.
  • Customer Engagement: Helps reach new customers and expand market presence through Microsoft’s ecosystem.

CSP Microsoft

What is CSP Microsoft

CSP Microsoft, or the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider program, is a licensing agreement that allows businesses to procure Microsoft cloud services and software licenses directly from Microsoft partners.

These partners often bundle the licenses with their services, providing a tailored IT solution that caters to the business’s specific needs.

The purpose of the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program is to:

  • Enhance Service Delivery: Allows partners to directly manage the entire customer lifecycle, providing integrated customer experiences.
  • Offer Custom Solutions: This feature enables partners to tailor cloud solutions to customer needs, enhancing the value of Microsoft’s cloud offerings.
  • Strengthen Customer Relationships: This strategy facilitates closer relationships between Microsoft, its partners, and end customers, improving customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Drive Business Growth: A platform for partners to expand their service offerings, fostering business growth and development.
  • Simplify Cloud Adoption: Aims to make adopting Microsoft cloud services easier and more accessible for businesses of all sizes.

CSP vs. Traditional Microsoft Licensing Channels

CSP vs. Traditional Microsoft Licensing Channels

Microsoft’s licensing landscape has evolved significantly over the years, offering various models to cater to businesses’ diverse needs.

The introduction of the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program represents a strategic shift towards more flexible and accessible licensing options compared to traditional models like Enterprise Agreements (EA), Select Plus, and Open Value.

Operational Differences:

  • Enterprise Agreements (EA) are designed for larger organizations that require a substantial volume of licenses. They offer the best value per license but require a significant upfront commitment and a longer-term agreement (usually three years). EAs are often less flexible regarding adjusting license counts or products mid-term.
  • Select Plus and Open Value are more suited to mid-sized organizations. Select Plus offers a pay-as-you-go model without upfront commitments but will be phased out in favor of the MPSA (Microsoft Products and Services Agreement). Open Value focuses on small to medium businesses, offering the option to spread payments over three years.
  • CSP, on the other hand, is built with flexibility and scalability in mind, ideal for businesses of all sizes, particularly those looking to leverage cloud services without heavy upfront investments or long-term commitments.

Product Availability and Licensing Terms:

  • Traditional agreements like EA often include a wide range of Microsoft products but require bulk licensing, which might not be ideal for companies with fluctuating needs.
  • CSP stands out by offering a vast array of cloud services, including Office 365, Microsoft 365, Azure, Dynamics 365, and more, with the ability to adjust licenses monthly, aligning closely with your actual usage and needs.

Benefits of Microsoft CSP

Benefits of Microsoft CSP

Flexible Billing Options:

The CSP model introduces unparalleled billing flexibility, allowing businesses to choose between monthly and annual billing plans.

This adaptability is crucial for managing cash flow and aligns with the dynamic nature of cloud service consumption, ensuring you only pay for what you use.

Comprehensive Support and Simplified Management:

One of the most significant advantages of the CSP model is the consolidated support and management framework it offers:

  • Dedicated Support: Your CSP partner is your primary contact for all support queries, offering personalized assistance and expertise. This direct line to expert support streamlines issue resolution and enhances your operational efficiency.
  • Simplified License Management: Through the CSP, managing your Microsoft licenses becomes significantly more straightforward. Your CSP partner handles the procurement, deployment, and renewal of subscriptions on your behalf. This centralized approach saves time and reduces the complexity of managing multiple contracts and licenses.

Customization and Advisory Services:

Beyond the operational benefits, CSP partners often provide added value through customized solutions and advisory services.

They can offer tailored advice on optimizing your cloud infrastructure, ensuring you’re leveraging the right mix of services to meet your business objectives while maintaining cost efficiency.

How Does CSP Work?

How Does CSP Work

Understanding how CSP works can help you make the most of this program. Here’s a step-by-step guide to how CSP operates.

  1. Find a Microsoft CSP Partner: The first step is to find an authorized Microsoft CSP partner that fits your requirements and aligns with your business needs.
  2. Sign the Microsoft Customer Agreement (MCA): Once you’ve chosen a partner, you must sign the MCA. This agreement establishes a licensing relationship between your organization and Microsoft.
  3. Communicate with Your Partner: Your chosen partner will be your first line of communication. They will provide billing and technical support directly or via their distributor.
  4. Manage Your Microsoft Online Services Portal: Your CSP partner will help you manage your Microsoft Online Services portal, procure licenses, renew subscriptions, and more.

Benefits of Microsoft CSP for End Customers

Benefits of Microsoft CSP for End Customers

The Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program offers several advantages to end customers:

  • Customized Solutions: Tailored cloud solutions that fit specific business needs.
  • One-Stop Shop: Single point of contact for purchasing, billing, and support for Microsoft products.
  • Flexibility in Licensing: Flexible licensing options and the ability to scale services as needed.
  • Direct Support: Access to dedicated support from the CSP partner for faster resolution of issues.
  • Cost Efficiency: Potential for cost savings through customized packages and services.

Microsoft CSP vs. Microsoft EA (Enterprise Agreement)

Microsoft CSP vs. Microsoft EA

Comparing Microsoft CSP and Microsoft EA:

  • Target Audience: CSP is ideal for small to medium businesses, whereas EA is suited for larger enterprises.
  • Commitment Period: CSP offers more flexibility with monthly billing and no long-term commitment, while EA typically involves a multi-year commitment.
  • Customization and Support: CSP provides more personalized solutions, whereas EA offers standardized enterprise-level agreements and services.
  • Pricing and Discounts: EA may offer better pricing for large-scale deployments, while CSP provides competitive pricing for smaller-scale needs.
  • Direct vs. Indirect Management: CSP allows direct interaction with a service provider, while EA deals are managed more directly with Microsoft.

FAQS on Microsoft CSP

What is a Microsoft CSP? 

A Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) is a service provider that sells Microsoft Cloud products, such as Microsoft 365 and Azure. The CSP program allows service providers to sell Microsoft Cloud products, provide customer support, and bill customers. This means that customers can have a single point of contact for all their Microsoft Cloud services.

Is Microsoft CSP ending? 

As of now, there is no official information from Microsoft indicating that the CSP program is ending. It continues to be a significant part of Microsoft’s strategy for selling cloud services.

What does CSP mean in Azure? 

In the context of Azure, CSP refers to the Cloud Solution Provider program. This program allows partners to sell Microsoft Cloud services, including Azure, to their customers. Partners can package their services along with Microsoft’s cloud offerings, providing a complete solution to their customers.

What are the benefits of working with a Microsoft CSP? 

Working with a Microsoft CSP has several benefits. Customers get direct access to all Microsoft Cloud services, including Microsoft 365 and Azure. They also get a single point of contact for support and billing, making it easier to manage their services. Additionally, CSPs often offer additional services and support to help customers maximize their Microsoft Cloud services.

What is Microsoft CSP versus EA? 

Microsoft CSP (Cloud Solution Provider) and EA (Enterprise Agreement) are different ways to purchase Microsoft products. CSP is a more flexible option, allowing businesses to pay monthly and adjust the number of licenses as needed. On the other hand, an EA is a volume licensing agreement suitable for large organizations that need a substantial number of licenses and want to commit to a three-year agreement.

What is Microsoft CSP Direct Billing Partner? 

A Microsoft CSP Direct Billing Partner is a partner who has a direct relationship with Microsoft. They purchase Microsoft products directly from Microsoft and sell them to their customers. This type of partner manages the entire customer lifecycle, including sales, support, and billing.

How to become a Microsoft CSP? 

To become a Microsoft CSP, you need to meet certain requirements set by Microsoft, including having a solid business plan, the ability to provide customer support, and the ability to manage the customer lifecycle. Once you meet these requirements, you can apply to become a CSP through the Microsoft Partner Network.

What is Microsoft CSP licensing? 

Microsoft CSP licensing refers to the licenses for Microsoft products sold through the Cloud Solution Provider program. These licenses allow businesses to use Microsoft’s cloud services, like Microsoft 365 and Azure. The CSP program offers flexible licensing options, allowing businesses to increase or decrease the number of licenses as their needs change.

What is a Microsoft CSP perpetual license? 

A Microsoft CSP perpetual license is a type of license that allows customers to use a specific version of a software product indefinitely. It’s important to note that while the license does not expire, it does not include upgrades to future software versions. Currently, most of the licenses provided through the CSP program are subscription-based, not perpetual.

What is Microsoft CSP Direct Partner? 

A Microsoft CSP Direct Partner is a partner who has a direct relationship with Microsoft. They purchase and resell Microsoft products directly from Microsoft. The primary difference between Direct and Indirect partners is that Direct partners handle the entire customer lifecycle, including sales, support, and billing.

What is Microsoft CSP Indirect Partner? 

A Microsoft CSP Indirect Provider, also known as a distributor, is a partner with a direct relationship with Microsoft and works with Indirect Partners. They provide the Indirect Partners with the resources and support they need to sell Microsoft products to their customers. This includes customer support, pricing, and billing assistance.

What is the difference between CSP direct and CSP indirect? 

The difference between CSP direct and CSP indirect lies in their relationship with Microsoft and the customer. Direct CSP partners have a direct relationship with both Microsoft and the customer. They handle the entire customer lifecycle, including sales, support, and billing. On the other hand, Indirect CSP partners work with a CSP Indirect Provider who has a direct relationship with Microsoft. The Indirect Provider provides the support and resources the Indirect Partner needs to sell to the customer.

What is the difference between EA and CSP subscriptions?

EA (Enterprise Agreement) and CSP (Cloud Solution Provider) are different ways to purchase Microsoft products. An EA is a volume licensing agreement suitable for large organizations that need a substantial number of licenses and want to commit to a three-year agreement. On the other hand, a CSP subscription offers more flexibility, allowing businesses to pay monthly and adjust the number of licenses as needed.

What is the difference between CSP direct and CSP indirect providers? 

The difference between a CSP direct and a CSP indirect provider lies in their relationship with Microsoft. A direct provider has a direct relationship with Microsoft, purchasing products directly from Microsoft and selling them to their customers. An indirect provider, on the other hand, works with indirect partners who sell Microsoft products to their customers. The indirect provider provides the indirect partners with the resources and support they need to sell the products.

What is an indirect provider of Microsoft? 

In Microsoft’s context, an indirect provider is a partner who has a direct relationship with Microsoft and works with indirect partners. The indirect partners receive the resources and support they need to sell Microsoft products to their customers, including customer support, pricing, and billing assistance.

What is a CSP cloud solution provider? 

CSP stands for Cloud Solution Provider. Microsoft’s program allows partners to sell Microsoft Cloud services, including Azure, to their customers. Partners can package their services along with Microsoft’s cloud offerings, providing a complete solution to their customers.

Contact our Microsoft Licensing Consulting Team

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Author

  • Fredrik Filipsson

    Fredrik Filipsson brings two decades of Oracle license management experience, including a nine-year tenure at Oracle and 11 years in Oracle license consulting. His expertise extends across leading IT corporations like IBM, enriching his profile with a broad spectrum of software and cloud projects. Filipsson's proficiency encompasses IBM, SAP, Microsoft, and Salesforce platforms, alongside significant involvement in Microsoft Copilot and AI initiatives, improving organizational efficiency.

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