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What is the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program?

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“Cloud” is more than a buzzword now! It’s becoming the main mode of business for many industries. This IDC study predicts 73% of CIOs will embrace a “cloud first” strategy in 2018. And with cloud spending expected to exceed $500 billion by 2020, you may be wondering the best way to harness this powerful growth. That’s where the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program fits in!

Becoming a Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) will allow you to own the customer life cycle end to end from solutions to support to billing. With multiple touchpoints, you’ll build stronger relationships with your customers and spur deeper engagement.

Offering support and billing services allows you to take advantage of new revenue streams. Additionally, partnering with Microsoft enables you to offer bundle solutions of industry-leading products providing added value to your customers.

What is the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) licensing model exactly?

There are two models of CSP; indirect and direct. While neither is better than the other, choosing the right model is important. You can start by watching this short video about the differences between the two models. Read below for basic information on each model to get you started. And consider using the business modeling tool to help you calculate and understand the numbers.

Indirect model

You may consider the CSP indirect model if you want to provide more services to your customers but need some infrastructure support for services like billing. The indirect model is a 2-Tier selling approach through indirect providers and indirect resellers:

  • Indirect providers offer billing, customer service, and technical support during the sales cycle and post deal closing. They handle a lot of the backend processes, enabling the indirect reseller to focus on finding and closing deals. In general, indirect providers are large, well-vetted companies. There are only a few per geographic area.
  • In the indirect model, your organization would likely be an indirect reseller. Indirect resellers are responsible for finding customers and selling. Because of the support from indirect providers, you can focus on selling and growing your customer base.

As an indirect reseller you can take advantage of the ability to offer Microsoft online services while outsourcing billing and support to your CSP indirect provider. Working with an indirect provider has several benefits. They can help you start selling sooner, expand your portfolio, and lower your costs. If you know this is the model for you, follow these three steps and get started!

  1. Join the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) and get an ID number you’ll use to enroll in CSP
  2. Enroll your business in the CSP program as an indirect reseller
  3. Connect with an indirect provider who can help you with support and billing

Direct model

If your business already operates with or is planning to develop the appropriate sales, billing, and support infrastructure you may consider the CSP direct model. Each organization is unique but, in general, you should meet the following prerequisites if you want to become a CSP direct partner:

  • Active MPN ID for the location you’re enrolling
  • Existing customer support infrastructure
  • Existing customer billing infrastructure
  • Funds to invest in technical integration and support readiness 

Whether you choose the indirect or direct model, enrolling in CSP can take you from selling licenses to building relationships as you take control of the customer experience end to end.

What is CSP2.jpgAdditional information

If you’re still not sure which model is best for you, fill out this form and we will email a recommendation on whether you should go with the direct or indirect model. 

For information on participating in the Azure Cloud Solution Provider (Azure CSP) program specifically, be sure to visit the Azure CSP site. Here you can learn about the Azure services available and how to use them to deliver managed services. You'll also find information on partner account management, customer management, billing, and integration with Azure CSP.

Interested in even more information on CSP? Check out the below resources to learn more about CSP opportunities:

Three key takeaways on CSP

  1. You asked for it and we listened! CSP is a new licensing model optimized for cloud
  2. CSP has two models; indirect and direct
  3. We have a lot of information on the two models to help you chose which is best for you. Start by clicking on the links; CSP indirect model and  CSP direct model

Already started with CSP and having success? Still wondering which model is best for you? Share your story or ask your question here!