NCE needs to be fixed ASAP!
@Microsoft, please fix the glaring issues in NCE. The program is completely unreasonable for your Partners and needs to be made more flexible immediately. Just ONE Example:
I have an MSP Partner with a customer on an NCE agreement for 10 Business Standard licenses established a short time ago. Based on a recent development (they are adopting more Microsoft services) three out of the ten users MUST upgrade to Business Premium. Due to how NCE operates we are being FORCED to upgrade ALL ten of the users to Business Premium. This is not acceptable, and layering is a common occurrence with our customers. Please reach out to me directly with assistance as I have not been able to get in front of ANYONE on the NCE Team to discuss these issues.
We often take over clients from other MSP's. Our ability to take over their MS365 licensing is now, seemingly, at risk since some partners will not allow for transfers to other partners. If I take over a client but still have to call their old MSP every time I need to do something with licensing until the end of their one-year commit, it has made my life harder AND the life of the old MSP harder. Am I missing some transferability option? I talked to my NCE partner yesterday and they HATE this as much I do.
That is my understanding too... we have a 3 day window at their renewal date... all we need is the "old msp" to misread that date and we are up the creek without a paddle again for another year!
This is not true. you can upgrade whatever qty you want from one to the other. We have done this many times in NCE. I just did it yesterday. We have a client with 10 Business Basic and 20 Business Premium. 2 of the Basic users needed to be upgraded. Was no problem. Now we are direct. It could be that if you are indirect, your provider/distributor hasn't given you that ability. That isn't Microsoft's problem, that is your indirect provider. But in NCE it is totally possible.
@dswenson : Not true, partial upgrades are allowed (since long before NCE officially gone GA) and perfectly possible, this is not a Microsoft limitation, but maybe a limitation caused in the provider platform.
Maybe you can point them to the Operating Guide for NCE which has sections on partial upgrades and ask when they have plans to implement this functionality?
Also there is a new handbook which confirms the same options for Partial upgrades:
@JanoschUlmer Does Microsoft require indirect providers to implement that functionality or is it up to the providers if they do it? If Microsoft does require it, is there a deadline it must be implemented by? Is Microsoft auditing the functionality different providers have implemented? Is there a way for indirect resellers to contact Microsoft about indirect providers not providing functionality that Microsoft's documentation says should exist?
Microsoft does not have a list of features each provider has to implement, and Microsoft does not audit this, only if security requirements have been fulfilled might be subject to an audit.
Providers have the freedom to decide what & how they will implement - even the business policies for cancellation, cancellation fees etc. can be set by Providers themselves and are not subject to approval by Microsoft.
I always recommend to Indirect Resellers to look at 2-3 different providers in parallel, and maybe even use them in parallel for selling to end customers - to compare and to limit dependencies with a single vendor.
@JanoschUlmer Thanks for your input. The problem may very well be the CSP. With that said, your Microsoft Partners are struggling with this and need more DIRECT support from you and your Team. I would ask you to remember that CSPs do not just sell Microsoft licenses and thus, DO NOT care as much about Microsoft excellence as your MSP Action Pack, Silver, and Gold Partners. We need your help to clear this up and I would be happy to coordinate calls/meeting with hundreds of MSPs that have been struggling both in and out of the United States.
@dswenson : What kind of direct support do you need? I cleared up that this kind of upgrade is supported from Microsoft side, but I can help clearing up which CSP Indirect provider did implement which functionality in their portal. Can you give concrete examples on what you would like to discuss in calls with other MSPs? What struggles - besides the question on upgrade paths we did discuss here?
@jturenchalk : All of them have the ability, Microsoft does not know/track which have implemented this in their own custom provisioning platform though. In theory, the Indirect providers could use Partner Center UI to do this until they have implemented this, since all Providers can use Partner Center directly, apart from their own provisioning tool.
I really wonder what the challenge is - if the providers have implemented the upgrade functionality/API features generally, allowing upgrading for a different license count is only a small detail to be added in the code.
@JanoschUlmer , I would be happy to provide examples that our MSPs have been struggling with @LisaNU can also provide direct recent examples. We are being told that if a customer has (simplifying numbers & counts) 10 Business Standard Seats then ALL 10 must be upgraded at the same time even though only five of the users will need Business Premium. Can you confirm this is not the case and provide a way for MSPs to communicate this effectively to our CSP partners giving us other information?
Page 51 of the Operations Guide: Operating Guide: New Commerce Experience for CSP Seat-Based Offers (microsoft.com)
For new commerce, upgrading means going from one paid subscription to another paid subscription. New commerce paid-to-paid upgrades allow the customer to immediately upgrade from their current SKU to one with added services. Upgrades can be of two types: Full upgrade and partial upgrade"
"A partial upgrade is defined as going from a paid SKU to a different paid SKU where only some of the seats are being upgraded. In this case, a new subscription ID gets generated, and seats need to be manually assigned. Partial upgrades have an end date that’s coterminous with the original subscription end date. Any scheduled changes will be deleted with a midterm upgrade, and only subscriptions that are in an “active state” (not suspended or cancelled) can be upgraded."
So let me see if I got this right. You are a CSP (I assume indirect from the sound of it). You are confused about NCE, but are expecting Microsoft to help clear this up because your indirect provider isn't giving you the support you need? The transition to NCE was announced in Sept 2021. That was 8 months ago. Trainings, webinars, you name it, the information has been endless.
I find your statement odd that you say CSPs don't just sell Microsoft licenses and don't care about Microsoft's excellence, etc. as Silver/Gold Partners. So my question is are trying to be a Microsoft Partner or not? Partnership is a two way street. We have been a Microsoft Partner for over 20 years and I can tell you that you get out of it what you put into it. Microsoft has been gracious enough to have a Partner program and help IT consultants grow and make good money doing it. Not trying to great an argument, it's just if you are going a partner, then be a partner. If your distributor isn't working out for you, then it is time to find one that will. Microsoft (just like their products) are foundational and you need to build what you need on top.
@aroasdo1234 no, what I am saying is a change was made and too much was left up to "whatever works for you" - from the perspective of a CSP. I work with hundreds of MSPs and we are having this issue across the board with ALL NCE licensing agreements across ALL CSPs. Not singling out anyone but this is clearly a top-down issue and Microsoft needs to step in to "set the record" straight so their partners can continue to drive growth and sustainability through the distribution of Microsoft Licensing. I appreciate your defensive position (and have frequently taken this stance myself) BUT I have seen too much hersay and KNOW that a clean slate is needed from the top.
Also - I appreciate that you have been working with Microsoft for over 20 years. You must have seen much challenge & change. Please realize that I work with MSPs of whom many are JUST getting introduced to being a Microsoft 365 Partner. As a former Microsoft Team Member, our core priciple and guide post was to "democratize" this process - not make it more complex (even if indirectly).