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Microsoft executives expect the growth for CSP, in both partner participation and in revenues, to rapidly outpace growth in the older Advisor and Open cloud programs.The industry, from distributors to tools vendors, is lining up to get a piece of the CSP action.To get that relationship, a partner must have a series of capabilities.To qualify for 1-Tier, a partner must be able to bill, provide 24x7 support, do technical integration and handle customer lifecycle management.Second, partners who can control the billing can bundle the Office 365 or Dynamics CRM Online price in with the rest of their own services and resale services.That gives the customer the simplicity of a single bill to pay, and a single throat to choke, and gives the partner control over margin.
Here's how Microsoft defines CSP in a FAQ for partners: "The Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider program enables partners to directly manage their entire Microsoft cloud customer lifecycle.
The question for every current Microsoft partner is, should you be a CSP?
Based on interviews with senior Microsoft executives and partners, a review of Microsoft's detailed CSP FAQ and the Microsoft CSP nomination form, here are 20 essential points to consider before committing to the expanded CSP program.
First is to have the bill to the customer go directly from the partner to the customer rather than from Microsoft to the customer.
Partners have always had concerns that Microsoft would use a direct billing relationship to upsell and cross-sell services to a partner's customer, cutting the partner out.
The addition of cloud products to the Open program over the last few years did give some partners the ability to bundle services, bill customers themselves and, therefore, own the relationship.