What Is a Cloud Solution Provider (CSP)?

A Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) is a company that provides businesses with cloud-based infrastructure, networks, and software applications. Microsoft has designed a program to allow CSPs to offer Microsoft’s popular products directly, along with their own value-added products and services. Under the program, CSP partners can devise a comprehensive package and bill their customers as they deem fit.

Cloud Solution Provider Services

The popularity of cloud services is increasing with each passing year. The year 2020 has seen the peak of this growth so far. Now is the time to benefit from this powerful growth by becoming a Cloud Solution Provider (CSP). As mentioned above, a CSP provisions network, infrastructure, and applications in the cloud. These services are hosted in off-site data centers and can be accessed via the internet. Businesses, instead of purchasing and managing their own expensive infrastructure, can opt for the services of a CSP as per their requirements and pay on a per-use basis. There are many services that CSPs offer, but they typically fall into three categories:

But setting up a cloud data center from scratch and offering a range of services and support, all on your own, can be hard and complicated. That’s exactly where CSP programs can help. By becoming a CSP, you can maximize your net profit by owning and controlling the entire customer lifecycle, including support and billing.

In addition, you can offer the best-of-breed, most comprehensive solutions and services by becoming Microsoft’s partner in its CSP program. You can also provide your own unique solutions and value-added services to your customers. Despite offering Microsoft’s product, billing will be in your hands, and you can present your customers with a single monthly or annual bill. With Microsoft’s CSP program you can address your customers’ needs through multiple touchpoints.

What Is a Direct CSP Partner?

Direct CSP partners work directly with Microsoft. These resellers purchase their stock-keeping units (SKUs) from Microsoft and then resell them to their customers at a 20% profit margin. Resellers opting for this model must have adequate resources to be able to cater to all of their customers’ needs, including 24/7 technical support, as Microsoft offers little to no technical support in this model. Becoming a direct CSP partner is a lengthy and complicated process, and it may take up to four months before approval.

Additionally, there are a few requirements that must be met by resellers who want to opt for this model. Resellers wanting to become a direct CSP partner must have an active Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) ID. They must have a Microsoft support plan for which they have to pass a credit check. Direct CSP partners need to bill their customers directly, for which they must have a solid customer billing structure. They must offer at least one internet protocol (IP) service, managed service or a customer solution application, and they have to maintain at least one Microsoft Gold Productivity Competency.

What Is an Indirect CSP Partner?

Becoming an indirect CSP partner is a much easier process and gets you to the market a lot faster. Unlike direct CSP partners, indirect CSP partners do not buy SKUs from Microsoft. They can rather buy their SKUs from their CSP distributor and resell them to the customers on their chosen profits. The best thing about being an indirect CSP partner is that you don’t even have to be a support expert. Your customer support is handled by your CSP partner. CSP partners can offer you a business portal, business guidance, and flexible terms and rates.

Indirect CSP partner is the most popular, most straight-forward and fastest model to get your services to the market. In this model, you can rely on your provider’s infrastructure and experience to do most of the heavy lifting. It saves you the upfront costs as you are using your CSP provider’s infrastructure. The relief of having an experienced partner for support and infrastructure management allows you to focus on your customer offerings and business growth at a more rapid pace.

How Are Enterprise Agreements and Cloud Solutions Providers Different?

An Enterprise Agreement was once the go-to model for businesses when purchasing Microsoft products. However, in recent years, with more and more businesses moving to the cloud, Cloud Solution Providers have become a new potential alternative. Let us have a look at some of the main differences between the two:

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