Enable Software Procurement Return on Investment with the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider Programme

William Nelson
Version 1
Published in
4 min readJan 12, 2022



As Microsoft license experts, at Version 1, we often encounter organisations that are unaware of the financial and operational benefits of the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program.

To accompany our Version 1 webinar, this blog provides a summary overview of the key areas discussed with my colleague and Microsoft Principal License Consultant, Karl O’Doherty, about what CSP is, the benefits of this program, an overview of CSP and how customers can take advantage of the framework.

What is CSP?

The Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider programme is a reseller framework that enables Microsoft partners to facilitate and own the end-to-end supply and support of a broad range of Microsoft products and services to benefit their customers.

CSP is one of the primary motions through which 258 million Office 365 seats have been purchased worldwide (Microsoft FY20 Third Quarter Earnings Conference Call) and deployed by over 187,000 UK companies (Statista 2021), and a 90% share of productivity suite software within the enterprise market (Gartner, June 2021)

What is the Appeal of CSP to Customers?

Having covered what CSP is, we’ll outline why this framework is attractive to customers, including:

· No barriers to entry or minimum threshold requirements, as well as the customers retaining control and the right to choose and change their Microsoft CSP partner(s).

· Offers immediate access to enterprise-grade Microsoft cloud, end-user, business solutions and server products and services, including Azure, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and Windows & SQL Servers.

· Enables the right technology to be sourced and provisioned to align and meet the specific needs of the customer.

· Modern licensing programme designed for cloud-first operations whilst seamlessly facilitating on-premises and hybrid demands.

· Provides flexibility to increase/decrease or add/remove products and services, upon demand and without penalty.

· Simplified purchasing and provisioning process with transparent, operational costs model.

Next, there are a few steps to undertake and different approaches customers should review when considering CSP, as outlined below.

Best First Step — What Is My Licensing Posture?

· License Management — Do you currently have an accurate understanding of your organisation’s software deployment, usage & license position?

· Asset Intelligence — Do you have the internal expertise to support complex activities such as data collection, data analysis & license position validation?

· Licensing Expertise — Do you have detailed knowledge of software vendor product terms & licensing agreements to make decisions that can reduce licensing cost & risk?

· Cloud Licensing — Do you have visibility of Public Cloud licensing pathways and their associated risks and benefits?

CSP delivers real business value, and once you understand how this framework operates (in line with your overall software needs), there are numerous elements that you can take advantage of.

How to Take Advantage of CSP?

· Understanding licensing posture — CSP is covered by a single, sign-once Microsoft Customer Agreement that does not expire, thereby reducing the complexity of contract management and simplifying the ongoing purchasing process.

· Determine business needs — CSP allows customers to deploy a just-in-time and just-enough approach to purchasing by only paying for the quantity of products and services they need at any one time.

· Align technology to requirements — Integrating CSP with a structured software asset management policy process allows customers to better manage and control the software lifecycle and align to the current and future needs of their organisation.

When choosing a CSP partner, it is important that your business aligns itself with a suitably qualified Microsoft partner that can add value to the cloud services you purchase. Therefore evaluating prospective partners requires a careful assessment of the following:

Considerations for Evaluating a Suitable CSP Partner

· People — CSP is designed to offer more value to customers than just a means of transacting licenses; the strength and depth of a supporting Software Asset Management practice is key to leveraging the optimal benefit for your business.

· Process — Sound operational processes remove the complexity of provisioning, deploying and managing subscriptions throughout the lifecycle and help customers to maximise return on investment.

· Technology — By understanding your business, an effective CSP partner will be able to align the right technology to meet the needs and requirements of your organisation.

Additionally, your CSP partner is vital to providing support and value-added services. To this end, we’ll cover the importance of supporting your software lifecycle.

Use CSP in Support of your Software Lifecycle

· Proactive SAM — Removes the day-to-day pressure of SAM tasks from you.

· Ongoing Software Assets Optimisation — Analysing and reviewing your license use and allocation.

· Reporting — Insights into your software investment, provided as necessary.

· Advice & Guidance — Version 1’s team of experts are available to provide best practice recommendations.

In summary, we’ll offer some key takeaways for your consideration, to help you establish the next best steps in your CSP journey.

Key Takeaways

· Where are you on your journey?

· What are you trying to achieve or what problems do you need to solve?

· Do you have a strategy in place?

As a Microsoft Direct CSP partner, Azure Expert Microsoft Service Provider and Microsoft licensing specialists, we can advise and guide you on the appropriateness of CSP for your business and offer the full CSP lifecycle for optimal cost management and license compliance. Watch the full webinar or contact us if you have any questions. Alternatively, go to our website for more information.

About the Author:

William Nelson is a Microsoft SAM Sales Specialist here at Version 1.



William Nelson
Version 1

I’ve been successfully selling IT solutions and services for 20 years and now focus on my area of expertise: Microsoft Licensing and Software Asset Management.