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Cloud Solution Providers Gear Up To Own The Sale, Service of Microsoft Dynamics-based Solutions

by Dann Anthony Maurno
Assistant Editor, MSDW
Clouds & picnic table

Microsoft launched the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program in mid-2014 for the sale of Office 365 by channel partners, then a year later included Azure, Dynamics CRM Online, and the Enterprise Mobility Suite in the offerings. The new Microsoft Dynamics AX 7 is slated for inclusion once it is in general availability.

And while Microsoft expects big things from CSP as a means of selling its core cloud offerings, this is not a Tupperware party. CSP isn't about simply reselling Microsoft cloud products and cashing the checks. Microsoft requires much more from CSPs, who are expected to bring their unique strengths to bear in creating unique offerings around Microsoft's cloud products.

Of the two tiers of entry - 1-Tier and 2-Tier - 1-Tier requires the greater commitment. 1-Tier are direct resellers, and as Microsoft defines it, 1-Tier is the "program of choice" for partners looking to provide an end-to-end customer experience, including customer support. This program requires partners to have "high capability standards to provide a great customer experience" - after all, they provide the support that Microsoft used to, and Microsoft risks being damned for abandoning its customers.

The real opportunity for 1-Tier partners is to sell integrated offers and services - unique experiences that they build. 1-Tier CSPs can:

  • Introduce service offers across each stage of the customer lifecycle
  • Include their own tools, products, or services in one integrated sales motion
  • Increase upsell opportunities with greater customer touch points

2-Tier is an indirect sales model, designed for resellers to work with 2...

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About Dann Anthony Maurno

Dann Anthony Maurno is a seasoned business journalist who began his career as International Marketing Manager with Lilly Software, then moved on as a freelancer to write for such prestigious clients as CFO Magazine; Compliance Week;Manufacturing Business Technology; Decision Resources, Inc.; The Economist Intelligence Unit; and corporate clients such as Iron Mountain, Microsoft and SAP. He is the co-author of Thin Air: How Wireless Technology Supports Lean Initiatives(CRC/Productivity Press, 2010).