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Cloud services make many things easier, but first things first – you need to purchase the right solution for your business. It’s not always easy, as there are so many different options and ways of buying them. How can you know which one is best for your organization? The CSP program might be the answer. In this article, I will guide you through the various options of purchasing cloud services and will answer any questions you may have about the CSP program.
There is one thing you can’t say about IT. Licensing is not simple. There are a lot of SKUs, ways to buy the same thing, and licensing programs.
And here’s another term – maybe you’ve heard about it. It’s the CLOUD SOLUTION PROVIDER, aka the CSP.
If you haven’t yet, you may become familiar with it when you decide to purchase some cloud services for your company based on the Microsoft cloud.
Today I will demystify the CSP program for you and describe its terms, conditions and value clearly to help you make an informed decision for when the time comes to buy your online services.
Let’s take a deep dive into it.
In short – the CSP program allows you as a customer to purchase Microsoft Online (Cloud) services from a Microsoft Partner (like Predica) and not through the Microsoft website.
Why would you want to do this?
Let’s start with stating what these cloud services can be:
So far, so good, it is fairly simple. Either you need to count your users or estimate your Azure usage. When it comes to buying those services, you will find that there are different models and programs for doing it. (Keep it simple! Huh?)
It’s not easy to navigate the whole offering. These programs are covered on the Microsoft web pages, but let’s try to quickly summarize them here for your benefit and understanding.
There are four main ways to buy Microsoft online services (there are a few more, but these 4 are the ones Microsoft will keep long-term):
Cloud Services Provider, aka your local partner delivering cloud service. Key questions we will cover:
How do we know these things? As a company, we have been in the CSP program as a Tier-1 provider (first lesson: there are different CSP providers; read more about tiers here) since March 2016 for EU and EFTA (second lesson: CSP providers are regional) and we’ve learned a thing or two about how it works through providing services for our customers. BTW – if you are interested, we’re also covering the MEA region as of March.
We always learn things the hard way – through practice!
The first thing you need to understand is the division of responsibility between your local partner and Microsoft if you purchase services through a CSP. Here is a handy table which summarizes it:
|CSP responsibilities||Microsoft responsibilities|
Complicated – let’s make it more practical.
These will be your CSP’s obligations and duties and some of the benefits coming from this split:
In short summary – a CSP gives you:
Good question – from our standpoint it is when:
Sounds too perfect? Now, let’s see some different scenarios
There are a few examples when other ways of licensing might be more suitable:
It is best to learn from examples, so let’s look at a real-life one: When do we use the CSP model at Predica?
First example – a common use case, Office 365 or EMS licenses.
Most enterprise-level organizations have Enterprise Agreements in place, and it makes more sense to use those to buy Office 365 or EMS.
On the other hand, for small companies in SMB sector, a typical CSP is not the right partner either – there are dedicated, large volume resellers working only in this segment.
However, there is a case where it makes sense to go for a CSP even for large organization – it is when the organization needs:
In our Dynamics 365 projects which usually also involve usage of Azure services (web portals, integrations, data analytics), we are using the CSP scheme heavily.
The reason for that is that we are also providing support and control over deployment and this is what business users of the platform are expecting. One contract, one place to go to with all the issues and problems. And one entity accountable for it.
It is much easier and is much more welcome from the client perspective in such (usually) mission-critical applications.
When it comes to Microsoft Azure, almost all of our current development projects are based on it and the CSP option has been proven effective in those instances.
With most of our small and medium clients who often do not have existing agreements and Azure subscriptions, we use the CSP model to run production environment workloads and support them end-to-end. This simplifies the process for the client: they know we have the people with the right skills, Microsoft MVPs among them, and that we will take care of the whole solution.
With large-scale clients who usually have production environments on Azure, we use the CSP program to establish and fund development and test environments for their solutions.
In both cases, it is usually important to the client that through a CSP they can establish a well maintained, supported environment with fixed fee billing as part of the overall service agreement.
I hope you have a better understanding of the Cloud Solution Provider program right now. To put it in a short statement – it is the Microsoft cloud provided by your trusted, local partner. Same scale, same services, with friendly faces you know to provide and support them.
To make it 100% clear we have prepared a short Q&A on the subject to address all possible doubts.
Q: If I have existing services on Azure, can I still benefit from the CSP program?
A: Good news! If you have existing services you can still transfer them to a CSP of your choice. Of course, if it makes sense for you.
Q: If I buy services from a partner like Predica (of course us, why not?), am I tied to this partner?
A: No, it is still your money and your service. You are free to transfer to any other CSP of your choice. There are even ways to transfer to other purchasing programs, though it may be a bit tricky (but no worries – we know how to do it).
Q: If I have existing cloud services purchased in other schemes, can I still use the CSP program?
A: Sure you can, the cloud is all about flexibility (oops, some marketing materials got in the post!). You can mix these services in different models.
Q: If CSP, why Predica?
A: The best way to answer this question – give us a try, and you will know for yourself after the first project!
We have advised clients on Microsoft deals from several thousand to nearly a million euro. Why not use this expertise? Contact us and spend some time talking about it.
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