You’ve made the decision to build your next great idea in the Microsoft Azure Cloud or to take advantage of Cloud-based productivity with Microsoft 365. As you prepare to make the transition, these are the questions you should be asking to ensure your decision brings the most value and return on investment to your organization.
What is a Cloud Solution Provider (CSP)?
A CSP is a company who facilitates access to the Cloud through licensing. Basic tenant-level support and escalations to Microsoft are also included. CSPs greatly vary in options of support, services, pricing, and quality offered. Many purchase through third-party distributors who add another layer that customers have to wade through. Few have the volume to purchase directly from Microsoft like Interlink, but those that can have the best pricing options.
What is the Microsoft CSP program?
The Microsoft CSP Program enables its partners to directly manage your entire Microsoft Cloud customer lifecycle. CSPs can help you take advantage of the Microsoft Clouds (Office 365, Azure, and Dynamics) by packaging their own products and services with Microsoft solutions and combine them into one monthly or annual customer bill. These might include quarterly testing for an Azure based disaster recovery solution or bundling end user help desk support.
What is a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA)?
The Microsoft EA is another way to license and access Microsoft 365 and Azure. It is a legacy licensing agreement used by many organizations and has been a long-preferred agreement for customers who could meet the minimum requirements. It is a three-year agreement term and requires upfront annual payments for the full year and limits the ability to change quantities of licenses.
When is an EA the right choice?
If your organization is large (2,400+ licensed users) and complex and/or needs:
- A multi-tenant solution
- Local or global affiliates to be included in the agreement
- Negotiated terms from Microsoft
- The most comprehensive list of product use rights
You might also renew your EA if you have an existing agreement with licensing that includes the "From SA" discount (15% off), which is a nice discount. Previously, "From SA" gave discounts for new Cloud users – although this is now gone for new clients. Only customers with existing From SA discounting can continue to renew it. Keep in mind that when clients change their bundling, they frequently lose their From SA discount even when the new bundle includes the previously discounted product.
When should I choose a CSP?
CSP may be a good choice if your organization is less complex and you:
- You are seeking a new agreement and need fewer than 2,400 User SLs
- You are looking for a partner that can sell you User SLs as part of a managed integrated solution
- You do not want to pay a year up front
- You need customizable support that is best for your organization
Interlink supports your journey to the Cloud with planning, architecture, deployment and management solutions designed to easily migrate and support your critical workloads. In addition, through the power of Microsoft's systems management solutions, we can help you gain visibility and insights across workloads, identify and respond to security threats, and ensure high availability of your applications and data.
There are many companies who can resell CSP licensing; however, it is important to understand the value of each company's offering and what you are getting with your purchase. Microsoft empowers the CSP to set the price and build an offering, but the guidance is vague, so offerings can vary greatly from CSP to CSP.
Interlink is a Direct Partner with Microsoft. We are one of a small subset of all Microsoft Partners who transact directly with Microsoft instead of through a third-party distributor. This helps ensure the best possible costing and support outcomes for you.
This process can be challenging to navigate but Interlink is available as a resource to provide guidance or additional information to help with decision making. If you're debating between a CSP and EA, contact us today to discuss your options, and we'll help you determine the right choice for your business.