The CSP Sales Motion

Here are a few guidelines to follow if you have an Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft and looking to decide whether or not to renew or work with a CSP partner to help you with your licensing needs.

Enterprise Agreement

The EA is a legacy program by Microsoft and in the current licensing world in which we live, is designed for organizations who are the largest and most complex environments.  In most of these customer situations, there are amendments, exceptions, and additional terms that need to be negotiated.  If this is you, a CSP model is probably not ideal for your situation.

Other hot buttons that will help you make the case to sign an Enterprise Agreement

  • All affiliates to be included in one agreement
  • Multi-tenant solutions
  • Fixed price requirement for 3 years
  • Existing agreement with existing licenses that will qualify them for discounts such as “From SA” or “Add-On” licenses

Cloud Solution Provider Program

The CSP program is designed to help customers move to the cloud.  The case for CSP can be summarized this way  – how dated is it to buy software that you have yet to deploy?  Many organizations make upfront commitments for licenses they will never use to get a better discount.  CSP is a program that supports pay as you go and deploy (or use) with little commitment.  Why pay for something that you haven’t used?

Other hot buttons that will help you make the case for CSP:

  • Less than 500 USL licenses
  • Partner requirement to help deploy and manage
  • Fluctuation in user count
  • Simplified workloads
  • Pay for consumed services (Azure) on a monthly basis

Without question this post is a generalization, but hopefully it will give you an idea of what to look for and questions to ask if you are signing a new agreement.  CSP or EA, it doesn’t matter, Microsoft still gets their fair share.

Thanks for reading,

CSP Man

 

 

The New Microsoft Cloud Agreement

In this article, we will provide a short brief on the changes to to the Microsoft Cloud Agreement (MCA) and what it means for all Cloud Solution Provider subscriptions and licenses paid in full.

What is the MCA?

MCA is the end customer agreement for CSP.  It details all applicable use rights and governs the end customer’s use of Microsoft cloud solutions.

How often does it change?

Agreement terms are published yearly.

Does Microsoft provide it directly to my end users or is it something I need to provide?

MCA is always provided by the CSP provider, not Microsoft.

What’s new?

Downgrade rights are now available for CSP customers permitting customers the right to install previous versions.  Similar to SPLA, the use rights that are in effect when the customer orders software will apply to the customer’s use of the version of the software that is current at that time.  All future versions, the use rights that were in effect when the products are first released apply.   In addition, customers can now transfer licenses that are fully paid (perpetual licenses) to an affiliate or third-party due to merger or a divestiture.

Any gotchas?

Microsoft has the right to verify compliance.  If unlicensed use is 5% or more, the customer must reimburse Microsoft for the cost of the audit and acquire the additional licenses owed for the bargain price of 125% more than the actual price.  Similar to SPLA, they can use independent auditors and contractors to determine compliance.

Does the MCA ever expire?

No.  The existing agreement remains in effect until the termination or renewal of the customer’s subscription.

My customer accepted the prior MCA terms.  Do I need to have them sign this new one?

If the customer is not creating new subscriptions, no.  The terms of the existing MCA continue to apply.

Are there templates I can use?

Yes. Go to the Microsoft partner center for details.

Does my customer need to sign off on this?

They have to agree to it but not sign it.  Similar to the End Customer Terms and Conditions in SPLA, you must make it available to your customers.   As part of CSP, I would make it part of your overall managed services agreement.

Where can I get a copy?

You can get a copy here

Thanks for reading,

CSP Man

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to License Azure in CSP

In this article, we will explain how Azure works in the CSP program.

Azure can be sold through various channels and programs.  If your company would like to purchase Azure, you can continue to purchase through a volume licensing agreement. If you’re a hosting provider and you would like to leverage Azure as your datacenter provider, you can also purchase it through volume licensing leveraging the Microsoft Hosting Exception found in the Online Services Terms (OST).  Last, if you are a solution provider, you can resell Azure to your end customers through the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program.   Let’s highlight how this would work operationally with links to the appropriate documents you should be aware of.

Azure in CSP Direct (Tier 1)

  • The end customer is the licensee.  They are the one to sign off on the Microsoft Cloud Agreement and follow the Online Services Terms.  They would also sign your own support agreement with the customer with SLA’s and other terms.
  • The CSP provider is the reseller.  As a CSP, you will sign the Cloud Reseller Agreement.  Your responsibility is to resell the licenses to your end customer, provide the support for the consumption, and provide proper billing services.
  • CSP is the reseller in this model, each end customer would be required to have their own Azure tenant.

Azure in CSP Indirect (Tier 2)

Same rules apply as above, however the Tier 2 provider would provide the platform and support for CSP.  The managed service provider (or reseller) would be responsible for the billing and overall management of the end customer.

Azure in SPLA

If a service provider would like to run a multi-tenant hosted solution to their end customers, they could leverage SPLA for all user based applications and Azure through the volume licensing Hosted Exception found in the Online Services Terms.

Thanks for reading,

CSP Man

Multi-Channel Partnerships…Good idea?

CSP by its nature is designed to provide different licensing and support options for the channel.  In this post, I want to highlight a couple of those options and how you can partner with other CSP providers to satisfy your end customer.

According to the Microsoft Cloud Solution Program Guide, the CSP direct partner must invoice the licenses directly to the end-user.  That’s fine in many instances, but what happens if you have customers globally, but only authorized in the USA?   In other words, if you are authorized in US, but have a customer in Australia, how can you resell CSP to that end user?   In walks our friend ‘Multi-Channel”.

Option 1: The end customer in Australia could set up shop in the US and use an US address to receive licenses leveraging your CSP USA authorization .  The problem with this (especially in Australia) is latency issues and billing.  The address on the invoice is where the datacenter location will be but the users will still be in Australia.

Option 2:   The CSP authorized reseller in the USA could partner with a CSP reseller in Australia to procure the licenses.  In this model, the USA CSP partner would provide all the support for their Australian customer, but another partner would provide the licenses.

I like option two the best.  Most MSP’s and other solution providers do not make money from the licensing, they make money from supporting the solution.   Leveraging another partner will take care of the customer and both parties will be happy.  What do you think?  Is Multi-Channel a good idea?

Thanks for reading,

CSP Man

 

 

Enterprise Mobility and Security (EMS)

With the big push to the cloud, the Enterprise Mobility and Security offering emphasizes Microsoft’s mobile first, cloud first strategy.  EMS focuses on three areas:

  • Hybrid and Cloud Identity – Enabled through Azure Active Directory Premium
  • Mobile Device Management -Microsoft Intune.
  • Data Protection and Security – Azure Information Protection/ MS Advance Threat Analytics.

In this article, we will review each of these offerings and how it can help your business.

Azure AD Premium

Is a single sign-on or connection that links a user to multiple applications and multiple cloud solutions including social media accounts and other SaaS applications.  Almost all organizations have different applications users access; personal and business from the same device.  Azure AD also includes a full suite of identity management capabilities including multi-factor authentication (identifies the user) , self-service password management (retrieve password) , self-service group management and security monitoring and alerting (identify threats).

Intune

One of the number one questions asked around the BYOD concept is “what happens if my employee leaves”  One of the features of Intune is Selective Wipe, which allows IT staff to wipe corporate data remotely from that device via self-service company portal or admin console, but not touch the individuals personal applications (Facebook as an example).

In addition to mobile device management, it also helps IT administrators with the ability to push company apps automatically and allow users to easily install corporate apps from the self-service company portal.

One other feature of Intune is email.  If a company wants to protect an attachment through Intune security, IT administrators can set protection parameters on that attachment that will prevent the user from copying and pasting into another application.  Let’s say you have a company spreadsheet with private financial information.  In order to prevent  the user of just copying that application into another spreadsheet or word docs, the IT admin can use Intune to prevent unauthorized distribution.

Azure Information Protection (Azure Rights Management)

Using the email example above, Azure Info Protection allows an IT admin to set permissions of who can receive not receive the email.  As an example, let’s say you send an email to a vendor with personal information, using Azure Info Protection, the sender can set a no-forward policy or even an email expiration in which the email will auto delete so no unauthorized users can access that email.

Microsoft Advance Threat Analytics 

MS Advance Threat Analytics is a preventative security measure to protect the user from unauthorized use of personal information.  A credit card is a good example.  Using behavioral analytics, Advance Threat Analytics (ATN) will notice unusual activity on a customer’s account.

How to buy

You can purchase the EMS offering through various channels and programs.  Similar to most program, buying EMS as a package is more cost competitive than buying as individual components.

Volume Licensing:  When customers who purchased Windows Server CAL, Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, System Center Endpoint Protection and Microsoft Active Directory Rights Management Services CALs via the Microsoft Enterprise Volume Licensing agreements they will have the ability purchase the Enterprise Mobility + Security Add-on.  This is much cheaper than buying the full user license since you already made the investment in certain technologies.

CSP: When working with a CSP partner, you can either resell or consume EMS for your own internal use.  When using CSP, you either provide the support (as a CSP Direct/Tier 1 provider) or work with a distributor (CSP Indirect/Tier 2) to sell to your end customers as a managed service provider.  The cost varies depending on number of users and the support offering.

I hope this provides some insight into EMS.  More articles on this coming soon!

Thanks for reading,

CSP Man

 

 

 

 

 

Office 365 Licensing

In order to understand a licensing program, it’s best to start at the beginning and go from there. Office 365 comes with various plans and product lines that can get a bit confusing to the average consumer.  In this post we will review Office 365 and Azure and the various programs to purchase them under.

Just purchased volume licensing and want to move to Office 365?  There’s a plan for that.  Need to buy the full license?  No problem.  Have Software Assurance (SA) and need to move to a User Subscription License (USL)?  Got it covered.  Here are 5 scenarios to help understand how to the licensing works.

Step-up-USL

John purchased an Office 365 E3 but really screwed up;  he really needed E5.  He’s midway through his agreement.  What does he need to do?  As long as he purchases the licenses under the same agreement, he can acquire a “Step-up USL” license at a cheaper rate than if he were to wait until his agreement ends and purchase E5 without the step-up discount.  Step-up USL is just a way to upgrade services during the term of the agreement. That’s a key fact to remember.  Step-ups expire when the step-up USL expires or the base USL expires (whichever expires earlier).

Add -on – USL

Bill is a bit of a nervous Nellie.  He has an on-premise volume licensing agreement but wants to try Office 365.  An Add-on-USL gives Bill the ability to migrate to Office 365 at a fraction of the cost.  This also must be purchased on the same agreement as the qualifying licenses.  In summary, it’s just a license that is purchased in addition to a previous acquired license at a fraction of the cost.

From SA USL

Mary is tired of managing licenses on premise.  She has an Enterprise Agreement (EA) and owns the Core CAL Suite.  She wants to move to the cloud, but wants to do it in the most cost-effective way possible.  Since she already purchased licenses with SA (a mandatory requirement when buying an EA), Microsoft recognizes (That’s nice of them) the investment they made with SA, and offers a discount to move to the cloud.  That discount is called “From SA USL”  Like everything else, you guessed it…it must all be purchased under the same agreement as they originally purchased under.

Full Blown License

Barbara hates Microsoft. For the past 10 years she has installed nothing but open software.  Her boss is tired of the incompatibility that comes with open source software and has recently told Barbara to either go to the Microsoft cloud or go home.  She decided to go Microsoft.  Since Barbara does not already own a Microsoft agreement (or any licenses for that matter) she must buy the Full USL license.  The Full USL is also applicable for those customers that let their agreement expire without migrating to the cloud prior.  Remember in the previous examples, all step-up, add-ons, and from SA must be purchased under the same agreement.

SAL for SA

This last example is not for everybody and is probably meant for a 500 level Office 365 licensing conversation.  That being said, I think it’s important to at least bring up.

Let’s say John bought Skype for Business USL license and for whatever reason his boss is hesitant about using Microsoft data centers.  Maybe it’s for disaster recovery or maybe there are compliance concerns (or maybe Barbara from the previous example went to work at John’s company 🙂 but regardless the reason, they do not want to use Microsoft.  How can they leverage their USL licenses but use another data center provider? It’s called SAL for SA.  The new data center provider can license through their Microsoft agreement a SAL (Subscriber Access License) that will allow John to leverage their existing USL license and pay a fraction of the cost.

There you have it.  Office 365 licensing 101.  The next post we will review the different products and plans to help you identify the right plan for you.

Thanks for reading,

CSP Man

 

 

 

Want Azure pay as you go? Forget about MPSA.

Last week at Microsoft conference, the new buzz was “Digital Transformation”  Essentially adapting to the way in which consumers and enterprises consume technology.  In January, 2017, the pay-as-you-go you once loved is removed from the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement.  I see this move as primarily positive, but for company’s that built out a service around MPSA and Azure as a challenge.   Change is not always bad, but an overnight program change is not always the best way to do it.

Existing customers currently purchasing Azure on a pay-as-you-go basis through the MPSA will see no change.  New customers will be opted for the CSP.  Good news if you are a CSP provider.

As mentioned in a previous post, way back when consumers signed up for BPOS but didn’t use it.  By moving customers to CSP, it encourages users to adapt and migrate to Azure.  This is no longer a licensing game, it’s  a platform/solution/service offering game. Get ready CSP, more products are sure to launch!

Thanks for reading,

CSP Man

 

 

Why “MSP” is the new “Cloud”

I think the acronym, “MSP” is the new “Cloud”. From the beginning of the century and carrying on through today, the term “cloud” was thrown around faster than a Nolan Ryan fastball (horrible).   “You have to get in the cloud!  “Hybrid Cloud!” “We need more Cloud!”

Why is “MSP” the new cloud?  For one, everyone wants to be a managed service provider.  If you really want to upset a reseller, call them a reseller. What is a managed service provider according to Microsoft?  I am not sure it is clearly defined, but I’ll give it my best shot.  A managed service provider is an organization that performs three primary functions as it relates to helping end users migrate workloads from an on premise solution to another data center provider (cloud).  The three functions are:

  1. Cloud Assessments – help end users determine how ready they are to offload workloads and determine which workloads they can even migrate.  This includes ROI analysis, training, and perhaps even SAM.  (Software Asset Management)
  2. Cloud Enablement – perform Proof of Concepts (POC), System Integration, and compliance.
  3. Cloud Operations –  Network monitoring, bandwidth, backup, security, and assist with troubleshooting.

This is exactly what Microsoft is looking for in a CSP partner.  MSP’s bridge the gap between the end-user and the data center provider (either Azure, Office 365, AWS, or some other 3rd party hosting partner).  One unspoken function of a MSP is not just migrating customers to the cloud, but moving them back from the cloud.  You can argue that the three functions mentioned can help customers migrate from the cloud back to on premise.  Just replace “cloud” with “on premise”and you get the picture.

Another trend is how the cloud partner ecosystem has also evolved to include the MSP.  MSP’s are partnering with other MSP’s to provide a fluid customer experience; it’s the same with CSP.  A service provider, who perhaps has the customer relationship, can partner with a CSP Tier 2 partner to perform those three functions on their behalf.  To Microsoft, they don’t care how a customer migrates, just that they migrate and have the support to help them manage it.

I remember when BPOS (the old Office 365) was first launched.  The Microsoft account teams had a huge quota to have customers sign up for BPOS.  It didn’t matter if they actually consumed it, as long as they signed up for it.  Microsoft had thousands of end users sign up for BPOS, but very few actually deployed it. (very few knew they even signed up for it).  Microsoft learned a lesson from that initial project – it doesn’t matter who signed up, it’s who’s consuming it that matters.  In walks are friend Mr. MSP.

The days of being a transactional reseller are over, if you are not in the MSP game, find someone who is…and fast!

Upgrade benefits for Windows Cloud Subscriptions through CSP

Not all Microsoft licensing programs are created equal.  This past January, Microsoft announced that customers who subscribed to Windows 10 Enterprise E3 and E5 as well as Secure Productive Enterprise E3 and E5, can now upgrade their Windows 8 and Windows 7  devices to Windows 10 without the need to purchase upgrade licenses.  This is only available through CSP channel.

Last July, Microsoft made the announcement that allowed CSP partners the ability to provide a subscription to Windows 10 Enterprise Edition as part of a managed service.  Now adding the ability to upgrade older Windows versions at no additional costs is another benefit notch in the CSP belt.

To provision this solution, end customers must purchase Windows cloud subscription from one of the authorized CSP partners.

More changes ahead!  Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading,

CSP Man

 

Leveraging Azure CSP instead of SPLA

Azure is just a data center outsourcer.  Designed for both enterprise customers and service providers, it provides solutions that fit both business models.  In this article, we will review four scenarios on how different solution providers and end customers can leverage CSP.

Scenario 1

An end customer has many vendors in which they purchase various technology services from. They would like to outsource their IT infrastructure to Azure but are concerned about adding another vendor to their already complex portfolio.  The ultimate goal is to consolidate vendors and work with one strategic partner.   How would CSP work for this customer?

The customer could purchase Azure from a Tier 1 CSP partner who has a platform to manage consumption and make recommendations based on spend.  Secondly, they can use the CSP Tier 1 partner for support.

Scenario 2

A hosting provider who has a signed SPLA agreement would like to resell Azure to their end customers.  The hosting partner has very limited resources internally but would like to still control the billing.  How would CSP work for this customer?

The hosting provider can partner with a  CSP Tier 2 partner and resell Azure to their end users.  The Tier 2 partner will provide the support, while the hosting partner provides the billing leveraging the Tier 2 partners platform.  Because the hosting provider is leveraging Azure, there is no need for SPLA.  All Windows and SQL would be provided by Azure.

Scenario 3

A hosting provider has an application that they lease from another company.   The hosting company  would like to provide this application as a service to their end users leveraging Azure.

The hosting partner can buy an Azure agreement (through CSP or any other program) and use Azure as a platform to host the application.  Again no need for SPLA, they are purchasing the licenses from Azure.

Thanks for reading,

CSP Man