Microsoft CSP — The New Commerce Experience
If you are a current Microsoft customer obtaining your Microsoft licenses and subscriptions for the Modern Workplace (Microsoft 365 or Office 365), Business Applications (Power Platform, Dynamics 365) or Add-on services (Power BI, Phone System, Project, Visio etc) through the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) motion, some key changes have now come into effect. These changes potentially impact the degree of flexibility that was afforded to customers to choose, both the quantities of Microsoft subscriptions they purchase through a partner and more broadly the partner(s) they wish to purchase from.
Microsoft CSP Key Changes
The key change is the ‘re-branding’ of the CSP programme to the New Commerce Experience (NCE) — in my opinion, an exercise to lift and shift customers to a new billing schedule with a premium pricing structure introduced for monthly-committed subscriptions or the acceptance by customers to select an annual term for an agreed quantity of subscription titles (with no quantity reductions available after 7 days of the term starting). As a consequence, the risk of customers not paying their invoices is placed wholly upon their partner/reseller, and the liability for payment to Microsoft again rests solely with the partner.
However, customers do not need to make an all or nothing decision concerning the quantity or duration of Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and add-on products they may need for their business.
The principle of aligning technology with the needs of each customer has not changed because of the rebranding and revision of a licensing programme — this, for all intents and purposes, could be seen as immaterial and just a means to an end.
Customers still retain control of their choice of Microsoft reseller and partner, although, the timing may now be slightly elongated if they are steered down the path of an annual contract for their licenses.
The principle of understanding needs and adopting the technology to fulfil these requirements is attainable if practising an effective and productive software asset management process.
Through review and assessment of what is needed, by whom, for how long, why, and at what time, the correct blend of both product suites and agreement durations can help to ensure the optimum licensing posture is achieved within the business.
In real-life terms, determining how many users need specific features set to perform their role and if this is believed to be for anywhere between one month or 12 months, the NCE programme provides the flexibility and mechanisms to ensure the correct subscription and the most suitable contract length, per-user or per role, can be attained.
There is no overcoming the premium that will need to be paid for a monthly-committed subscription when compared to an annual commitment, but it does provide the flexibility for businesses to choose. For example, it may be possible for a business to forecast that 95% of users will require a certain product suite for at least a year, with the remaining 5% deemed to have short-term needs.
The subscriptions can be proportionally committed to on this basis, with only 5% of the subscriptions paid at a higher cost per month but with the full entitlement to remove and stop paying for these subscriptions at any time and without an early-exit penalty.
Similarly, additional subscriptions can be added at any time, for example, to cover staff brought in for a short-term project or to meet seasonal demands and then removed at any time without incurring charges.
So, understanding needs and aligning with the available and most suitable technology to minimise costs and optimise return is still available through the New Commerce Experience and can be realised by determining the answers to these questions:
- What do we need?
- Why do we need it?
- Who needs it?
- How long do we need it for?
- When do we need it?
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.
Contact us if you have any questions or go to our website for more information.
About the Author:
William Nelson is a Microsoft SAM Sales Specialist here at Version 1.