In May, Microsoft announced changes that it will be making to its Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program, which will impact Direct partners. Let’s take a look at these new requirements and how you can remain eligible.
Minimum requirements specified by Microsoft, which will take effect from 31st of August:
1. Provide at least one managed service, IP service, or customer solution application
2. Purchase a Microsoft support plan:
a. Advanced Support for Partners US$15,000 per annum; or
b. Premier Support for Partners from US$28,000 per annum3. Have the infrastructure in place to manage customer billing
With the deadline looming, many direct resellers are exploring their options to determine what would be the best option for their business. Do they remain as a direct reseller or does it make more sense to move to an indirect model?
Besides the new support plan fees which may push some of the smaller resellers into the indirect world, maintaining direct status should still be feasible with a few changes.
Infrastructure to Manage Customer Billing
If you are an existing direct partner, you would already be billing your customers directly yourself. So, this third requirement should not be news to you. Chances are though, this is likely a highly manual process for your business which cannot be scaled to withstand growth. That’s why implementing a solid infrastructure to manage billing is now essential.
The cloud billing burden is real. We’ve seen the enormous and complex reconciliation files provided by Microsoft, showing monthly usage for every single product consumed by customers. The trouble is, this file is not even remotely ready for any ERP system to process. As a result, resellers are spending days manually keying in thousands of lines of consumption data just to invoice their customers. A process that could not be sustained as business grows. Not only is it time-consuming and costly, it also slows time to revenue and leaves the door wide open to human error.
Solano is Coming
We’ve been busy building Solano – a cloud billing engine which will help solve this billing burden for VARs. Available from late July, Solano will automatically convert your customer’s cloud consumption data into billing information ready for your ERP system to invoice.
Contact us if you are interested in a free test drive once Solano is live.