Excited about the new Microsoft Cloud Partner Program
Adding to this thread as I have received several private messages.
I think that a partner can not be Jack-of-all-Trades, instead you need to focus on only a few things and become a specialist. That opens up for partnering with other partners and together you will be able to serve your customers even better.
I realize that traditionally, when serving SMBs you tend to do a lot of things but this is not the path towards growth and decent profitability anymore.
The IAMCP, International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners, (www.iamcp.org) is a great association for finding partners and to learn how to make the transition. We got chapters all over the globe with a focus in Americas, Europe and India.
You are probably the only one, MS is taking the piss from any SMB who was a silver to gold Partner.
Now it a lot harder to become a partner for small msp's and a lot easier to stop selling MS and start selling G-Suite.
Hi @JcvnStdn, the challenge for some SMBs might be that they're not focused on the Microsoft Cloud and this transition might take time. My experience is that in all these transitions, most partners adjust their business models and in the long run it's great for the longevity of their businesses.
I also think that the margins for reselling M365 are too small nowadays so revenue streams needs to come from other sources, like professional or managed services.
I believe you are correct. There are a lot of partners out there who are just certification mills churning out as many M365 subs as possible and hoping that this is a sustainable financial model.
A gross oversimplification, but I believe that there are 3 keys to making money in this space:
1) Customer adds - If you have the same customers you make the same money. If you want more money, add more customers. Note: There's nothing wrong with keeping the same customers and making the same money but realize it won't be incentivized.
2) Services revenue - Don't just buy at your cost and sell at retail. Package and bundle services. Offer value-adds and charge for them.
3) Expand offerings - I see this a lot in the biz apps space where a partner doesn't want to sell outside of their comfort zone. Once you've got your client buying Office, expand to Azure. Once they're on Office and Azure, expand to Dynamics.
The Gsuite stuff is just posturing. Very few businesses are going to be successful at convincing their clients to pack up and move over from MSFT to GOOG. There's a lot of reasons this is a poor idea including customers having to adopt a new platform and the labor associated with moving a client from one platform to the other. The final problem here is that you're not making the switch to solve your customer's technical needs but rather to fulfill your own financial needs.
There's no doubt that the MCPP will be a disruptive force in the channel, but the partners who will benefit the most are the ones already strategizing on how to make this work for them.
Realistically, in a small country like NZ, where there are multiple IT companies and little SMB's who actually want to pay for services from MSP's, I don't agree with you. Most companies still use POP and IMAP services, those who actually want IT doesn't want to pay for it, so selling MS which is getting expensive is a very hard sell.
You can be the best reseller but the customer will end up going to someone that will sell them Gsuite or what ever other service that is affordable.
I know of a few multi Mil projects that stepped away from the MS solution, bit the bullet and took the pain in the A.. transition and moved to GSuite.
Microsoft should not make it this hard hard for someone to sell their solution.
You are saying "certification mills churning out as many M365 subs as possible" .. why should Microsoft care, people are getting qualified and selling their product. Now less companies will get qualified, because even if they make that step, they might still loose out on active seats or new adds.
Reddit is your friend here, look at the amount of MSP's complaining about this... It only benefits large to enterprise companies and screwing the SMB's which is getting all these small business on their Solution.
I appreciate your points and perspectives from someone in NZ. As a strange coincidence, I used to know a handful of folks from NZ who were quite savvy in Cisco VoIP even back in 2005 so you can't be that technologically far behind that POP and IMAP are still the norm.
You're in a tough situation. I get it. It sounds like:
- The amount of MSPs trying to make it surpasses the number of viable clients
- Your product is luxury when buyers want economy
Even prior to these upcoming MCPP changes when it was Gold/Silver, these were incentives to earn. I don't see how that foundationally changes. You have stretch targets to meet if you want to reap the benefits. For some Silver/Gold partners, that is going to mean growing a little bit. Luckily, the runway for these changes is quite long.
As for Reddit, it is a great place to share memes but can also be an echo chamber for unsavory opinions. I don't know that I'd put a ton of stock in what other random anons are saying. I looked at one of the threads you've probably seen over there and anyone with a useful tip is getting downvoted into oblivion thanks to groupthink/mob mentality.
Also, I was a part of a "multi mil" transition from Office to Fisher-Price *ahem* I mean Gsuite once and I can guarantee that the money our Fortune 50 saved making that poor decision they lost on the back end with labor costs and productivity losses.
Cheers, for responding..
So I agree with you there, NZ is not far behind on tech. We have gb fiber to the home, all the technology we want. But a few large companies still use IMAP and POP, which is shocking.
Regarding my post about REddit, it isn't just reddit, there a tons of forums where smaller MSP's agree.
The Mass move to Gsuite, is just my point, companies will rather move and take the pain, prod loss and labor cost, than to keep paying that massive price at the end of the day.
It is a tough situation and Microsoft should not make it that hard. Small MSP's easily made silver and could push for Gold which was a reachable goal, but now having to barely make it as a solutions partner, I don't understand why they doing it.
They could have created a solution that tailored for the small guys (who is the companies who push the product).
Well the good news is that you can renew and kick this can down the road for another year. Also, for what it is worth, Action Pack looks like it will continue to be a thing so there's still a "pay to play" option.
I think we will continue to disagree on the Gsuite point because price-wise Google Workspace is 6/12/18 USD respectively for their SMB plans while M365 is 6/12.5/22 USD for theirs. Now I have zero clue what margins look like on Google products, but it seems to me that the only person benefitting from the move would be the MSP and pushing your users towards Google because of your own grievances sounds...not customer focused.
Outlook is THE standard in workplace email. Word is THE standard in documents. Excel is THE standard in spreadsheets. As I am not one to mince words, I can only describe Google's alternatives to these programs as second-rate and not for serious users. Heck, even Edge is good once you detach it from Bing search, but I digress.
I think that once MSPs realize that the first two letters of the acronym are Managed Services and start to focus on their namesake, that's where they will find the lion's share of revenue. There's no value add in simply being a purchasing conduit for your clients.
At the end of the day, there's still a lot of time for things to change and just like with NCE I'm confident we'll see an evolution given the long runway.
Can't renew past September / October, so if your current renewal is after those dates you are a bit of trouble.
I fully understand the point in GSuite as I would have never even moved myself over to that, lack of support, lack of benefits - but now support is increasing and benefits and rates are getting better, (so from an MSP side more attractive). I also agree in full Sheets, Docs etc isn't the best but, no one really fully utilizes Word or Excel for it's true potential anyway.
MSP's- yup fully focus on the client, but you still need to make money, pointless in being an MSP in today's market but you can't hire professionals. Just because you are trying to look at your bottom budget line.
Here's to hoping it will change after MS realize they had a working model and messed it up.
Cheers for the chat, helps keep a man sane.
An alternative is to settle with just being a basic level member of the partner program, subscribe to Action Pack so that you get the licenses and instead focus on making sure that your people have relevant badges and certifications.
There are a number of badges/certifications for both sales people and for technical people that are highly relevant and it will most likely impress a customer. This can be a great avenue for smaller partners with fewer individuals and customers might even appreciate that more!
Great insights @BlakeCheek!
And @JcvnStdn, I think that when the dust settles you will find a way to hopefully build an ever stronger business than today! You can renew your legacy Competencies until Sept 30 2022 and you also keep your legacy benefits. Agree that Action Pack is, and will continue to be, a great way to get access to internal licenses (IUR) and you also get a $100 Azure credit every month.