As many of you may already know, as of August 31, 2018 Microsoft will introduce new requirements for the Tier-1 CSP Partners. Besides meeting the new capabilities of Microsoft, the Partners will also need to choose either an Advanced or a Premier support contract. But what does all of this mean for CSP Partners? We will explain in this blog.

Partner models

To start at the beginning, let us summarize the models Microsoft works with for Cloud Service Providers:

Of these 2 models, being a Tier-1 partner has the most advantages. As a provider you benefit from:

  • Incentive programs
  • Rebates
  • Direct support from Microsoft
  • Account management by Microsoft
  • Selling Windows10 licenses via the QMTH program (Tier-1 only)

Changes to the Tier-1 contract

As a Tier-1 partner you were fine. So you thought. However, the amount of Tier-1 partners grew bigger than Microsoft had anticipated, which is probably the reason why they announced all Tier-1 partners should fulfil new requirements.

One of the new requirements is the support contract you need to choose.

You can select either an Advanced support contract of € 12.000 a year, or a Premier support contract of € 30.000, depending on the estimated support you need. Read about the differences between the two, here.

This investment might be a reason for you to change to a Tier-2 status. But did you properly overthink all benefits of the Tier-1 partnership you will lose by changing status?

Keeping up the Tier-1 status

What are these new requirements you need to meet after August, 31?

Let us first explain when you need to fulfil the requirements. Your CSP contract has a start date, let’s say: 12-02-2017. Meaning you need to re-enrol your CSP contract on 12-02-2019,. That is the given date you will need to match the new requirements.

In the table below you will find the new key requirements and how can we support with fulfilling these:

The benefits of a Support Contract

Although signing up for a Support Contract might seem as quite an investment, you will also benefit from the perks of the status. Let’s look at these benefits. You will have:

  • 24/7 Support from skilled Microsoft engineers;
  • Shorter response time, which will result in faster solutions and therefore higher customer satisfaction;
  • A USP in your Office 365 solutions, as you can include Premier/Advanced Support;
  • Microsoft as back-up: there is no need to have all know-how in house, plus it will provide a steep learning curve for your engineers;
  • The opportunity to offer your clients both cloud and on-premise support;
  • Unique event opportunities, as you can use the advisory hours as part of your own event (in collaboration with Microsoft).

Ways to earn back the investment

The benefits of becoming or staying a direct Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider is clear, yet the investment in an Advanced or Premier Support Contract might be an obstacle. There are several ways to easily earn back your investment. One of them is selling support packages.

Selling support packages

Combine 8×5, 8×12 and 24/7 support. If you know you need to pay € 1000 per month for Advanced Support to Microsoft, you will need to sell 4000 licences a month of € 0,25. Instead of selling a 8×5 support contract of € 0,12, you could also try to upgrade your customers to a higher support level: e.g. 8×12 (of € 0,25 a month) or even 24/7 of € 0,40 a month.

Freedom of choice

In this blog we focused on Tier 1 status. Of course it is up to you to choose what suits your business best. As independent partner we are equipped to facilitate both models: Tier-1 and Tier-2. Our goal is to automate your business so you can accelerate, either as direct or indirect partner.

Buy cloud solutions from several distributors or independent ISV’s, all these solutions can be easily integrated in one single cloud platform. No need to login into separate portals of several systems. Also our platform can be integrated with your back-end systems, such as ERP, CRM, General Ledger systems and Service Support systems. All this allows you to work on one single platform.

For those who need to swap their Tier-1 status to a Tier-2 we have various possibilities to support you in changing status.

If you want to know more about the new Microsoft statuses and requirements or if you want to discuss what it means for your company, please contact us.

Phillip Villiger
Cloud Product Manager