Expert Opinion on Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider Program and the New Microsoft Customer Agreement (MCA)

June 12, 2019
Neil Lomax

Author

Neil Lomax

President - North America, Global Sales

A few days ago, Microsoft provided more details on their plans to revise their Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program and a perspective on how to better support the purchasing of their offerings. As one of Microsoft’s leading partners, and a major partner of Azure and managed services, we embrace the direction they are taking. We want to take this opportunity to offer some advice on how to proceed and make the most of Microsoft’s commercial programs for both direct customers and partners.

Evolving Microsoft’s Commerce Platform

Having been a long time Microsoft partner, we are thrilled to see the evolution of their commerce platform and their goal to close the gaps between direct and partner channels. In the past, features and services have been inconsistent depending on the customer’s contracting vehicle, partners using CSP have had various gaps compared to the traditional Enterprise programs. The new Modern Commerce platform will enable partners with a richer experience and a better ability to serve their enterprise clients. In our case, this also means better support for Microsoft indirect CSP partners, i.e., those partners acquiring Microsoft Azure through us for their own cloud solutions.

Companies Need Expert Help to Sort Through the Complexity

While we agree that the purchasing landscape is evolving, we believe strongly that companies need to continue to leverage partners when acquiring enterprise cloud solutions. The complexity of offerings alone makes it easy for a business to make the wrong decisions. When it comes to Azure, it is especially important for companies to think through their needs and map them to the appropriate services and resources. All too often, we see clients who are underestimating costs and not gaining the business transformation they had hoped. The culprit is usually an improper architecture and selection of services to meet their needs. This costs companies time and money, which could have been avoided with an expert partner guiding the process upfront.

Making the Most of Commitments, Sizing, Cashflow and Bundles

In addition to the complexity of services, there are many incentives that should be considered, which can have a material impact on the purchase price. We have a dedicated team of experts who stay on top of all promotions related to commitments technical sizing, cashflow and solution bundles to ensure clients and our partners are gaining the best value and return. We will even suggest changes over time to continue to take advantage of new solutions, promotional resources and packages.

Understanding How Companies Are Impacted by the New Commerce Platform

Starting October 1, 2019, Microsoft will replace the current Microsoft Cloud Agreement with the new Microsoft Customer Agreement (MCA). Having a single contractual vehicle for companies is exciting and a welcome change. For our direct Azure only clients with an expiring Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE) contract, Microsoft has already started to offer to move them to the new MCA.

Our opinion and guidance to clients is to wait to sign the MCA until CSP on Modern Commerce becomes available. SoftwareONE expiring SCE clients who elect to wait can go directly into Extended Term after their agreement expires without the normal 3% admin penalty for not renewing. We believe it is in the best interest of our clients to move their contracts only once. The Modern Commerce platform will be available through all channels and with partner support options. Signing an MCA today means the client will have limited choices and will need to move commercial relationships again if they wish to utilize the full partner offering via the new CSP on the Modern Commerce platform when it becomes available later this year.

SoftwareONE’s AzureSimple and Promotion For Existing SCE and New Azure Clients

We understand how complex Azure is and the challenges in putting together the right roadmap to meet a company’s needs. We just released a new version of AzureSimple, which brings together all our experiences with Azure and offers our clients a choice of four service bundles depending on where they are in their cloud journey. The four bundles are advisory services, server migrations, SQL migrations, and cloud optimization. We also built in budget-control capabilities and are providing a customer success manager to deliver an unparalleled experience. All bundles include our premier support services available anywhere in the world 24×7. Best of all, AzureSimple clients will be moved to the Modern Commerce platform free of charge when it becomes available.

To get our existing SCE clients and new clients started with AzureSimple, we are offering one of the four bundles free of charge. For instance, we will migrate 25 physical or virtual servers to Azure for free. If you are interested in AzureSimple and this offer, please contact your business development manager or reach one of our experts.

Helping Partners Sell Microsoft Azure with Managed Services

All these changes also impact Microsoft partners who have to consider how best to purchase Microsoft offerings and add value. Our CSP Indirect partner program makes it easy for partners to get access to the full portfolio of Microsoft services and products including new solutions, promotional resources and packages. We also provide managed services, which partners can resell to their clients and help them successfully deliver on their business transformation goals.

Are You a Microsoft Partner and Want to Find Out More? Be our Guest at Inspire July 15, House of Blues @ Mandalay Bay

SoftwareONE is hosting a VIP event for Partners attending Inspire and we would welcome the opportunity to host you and explore how we can help you with Azure. Please RSVP here.

Other Resources

Read past posts with more related content:

  • Interested in AzureSimple? Contact us today
  • Direct vs. Indirect CSP: which is right for your organization?
  • How partners can accelerate their Microsoft Cloud business
  • Introducing SoftwareONE’s CSP indirect team & program
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