Microsoft Cloud Solutions Provider

Microsoft Cloud Solutions Provider


The 1-Tier partner is approved by Microsoft and orders seats on behalf of customers directly from Microsoft, rather than through another partner type. To get that relationship, a partner must have a series of capabilities. To qualify for 1-Tier, a partner must be able to bill, provide 24×7 support, do technical integration and handle customer lifecycle management. Microsoft is also looking for partners with a business model around managed services IP and with broad market reach.

There’s also what Microsoft calls a 2-Tier model. In that one, the distributor or companies that were formerly part of the Microsoft Syndication Partner program handle the capabilities with Microsoft. Those partners are called 2-Tier distributors or cloud distributors. They in turn work with the bulk of Microsoft partners, who are the 2-Tier resellers. Depending on a given cloud distributor’s offering, those resellers may still have control over customer billing and may also be able to outsource white-labeled support services to the distributor. For much more detail on the emerging 2-Tier ecosystem, see the related feature in this section.

New investments will vary based on your current practice. Areas to consider:

  • Local tax implications of selling a subscription product versus a service
  • Adjustments to your sales incentive programs to reflect monthly revenue recognition
  • Management of credit risk and collections
  • Ability to transact billing on a monthly and/or annual basis
  • 24/7 end Customer Billing and Technical Support in local language
  • Pass through Microsoft service credits to customer service.  Approved service credits are provided to Partners, and it’s the Partners’ responsibility to pass through these service credits to their affected Customers since they own the Customer billing relationship.

A critical component of the CSP program is that the partner is the first point of contact for a customer support incident. Some types of support that partners are responsible for providing include:

  • Frontline billing and subscription
  • Provisioning
  • Answers to questions
  • Service and software updates
  • Software configuration
  • Performance issues within a partner’s span of control
  • Client connectivity and client desktop
  • Service availability issues within a partner’s span of control

Some types of incidents can be escalated to Microsoft, such as:

  • Supported tasks that are outside the functionality provided with available tools
  • Break/fix — undocumented problems with the service
  • Availability — service not accessible
  • Not operating according to service descriptions
  • Bugs and other irregularities that affect service appearance or operation
  • Large-scale network disruptions
  • Regional, multi-tenant impact



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