The Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program offers Microsoft Partners the opportunity to offer their own services and Microsoft licenses and cloud services. A Microsoft Customer Agreement (MCA) signed between the customer, Microsoft and the partner, is the contract to provision licenses and services from Microsoft in the CSP Program.
What is a Cloud Solution Provider (CSP)?
The CSP can be a Microsoft Partner that provides many services, or a partner that only resells the licenses in the CSP program. As a minimum, each partner must provide technical support for the use of the Microsoft services and products. Microsoft itself does not provide support to end users in the CSP program. The CSP must provide this itself or engage a partner to do so.
In addition, the partner manages the customer environment in the Microsoft 365 portal. The partner can give contacts of the end user organization rights in that portal, but remains responsible for the activities in the portal.
The CSP partner has a distinctly different role than the seller of other licensing programs such as the Enterprise Agreement and MPSA. In those programs, Microsoft is in principle the party that provides technical support and the end-user organization itself is the party that manages the Microsoft 365 portal.
Almost any Microsoft partner can become a CSP. We see a diverse landscape of direct providers who purchase from Microsoft themselves and often provide the services themselves, and indirect providers who purchase from resellers and often use these resellers to deliver the required services.
What does the CSP Program offer?
It is already in the name: this program offers Microsoft cloud licenses. And that’s the bulk of the licenses. In addition to user-based licenses like Office 365 or Azure AD Premium, the program offers other licenses and services. We can divide the offer into a number of groups:
- User-based licenses, offered for a month, a year or sometimes three years. Like
- Microsoft 365
- Office 365
- Project and Visio Online
- Enterprise Mobility & Security
- Dynamics 365
- Power BI and Power Platform
- Microsoft Azure Services, payment based on actual usage. Like
- Virtuele servers
- SQL Databases
- Kubernetes Services
- Azure Virtual Desktop
- Azure Express Route
- Azure Storage
- Subscription licenses for a few products that you can use either on premise or in Azure. Subscriptions run for one or three years.
- SQL Server
- Windows Server
- CALs (Client Access Licenties) for Windows Server, Windows Server RDS and Windows Server Rights Management Services (RMS)
- Perpetual licenses for software products, without the option to add Software Assurance. Like
- SQL Server
- Windows Server
- Exchange Server
- Diverse CALs
- Project en Visio
So there is more than cloud licenses only in the CSP Program.
What does the Cloud Solution Provider's revenue model look like?
For partners of Microsoft, the CSP Program is very attractive. The entry is low and earnings can be high. The partner can earn money through the sale of Microsoft licenses and services as well as through the sale of their own services.
The CSP can make a (considerable) margin on the sale of Microsoft licenses and services. In addition, Microsoft makes various incentives available at the back for achieving certain commercial goals. The partner can also develop and offer various services related to the CSP Program. This is an excellent opportunity for partners to strengthen the relationship with the customer and to increase profitability.