The Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program is a great pathway for many companies making the move towards Azure Cloud, and who want to optimise their ongoing use of its services for better ROI.
Partnering with a CSP brings many business benefits for both IT and decision-makers, often at no extra cost for organisations.
However, we speak with many customers who are often still confused as to the exact role and advantages a CSP offers them versus purchasing cloud services on their own.
While many enterprises opt to make the move to the cloud independently, many reports such as IDC’s Success Cloud Partners reveals approximately 84% of businesses want an established relationship with a single partner to procure their cloud services from.
CSPs fulfil this growing demand.
Xello have been part of Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider program for several years and have both seen and delivered numerous benefits to our customers which empowered their evolving Azure transformation initiatives. Our team breakdown 3 big reasons to partner with a CSP, based on our own feedback from customers.
First, however, it's important to understand what exactly a CSP is and means for your business.
What is a CSP?
Whenever you hear the terms ‘Azure CSP’, ‘Cloud CSP’ or ‘Local CSP’, it refers to a cloud-focused consultancy that offers businesses or individuals purchasable cloud computing services across Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).
A CSP is essentially a business partner that can provide you with additional value-added services and technical support you need to realise your cloud goals.
CSPs help you buy licenses and subscriptions for Microsoft Azure, Office 365, Power BI and more, based on your business requirements and while following best practices.
Microsoft Cloud Solution Providers (CSP) connect services and consulting-based partners like Xello with customers needing expertise and support to manage the end to end lifecycle of their digital transformation and cloud initiatives - strategy, roadmap, migration, optimisation and more.
Here are the 3 big reasons to consider partnering up with a CSP to achieve your Microsoft Azure Cloud objectives.
Reason # 1: A local partner for every step of your Azure journey
The greatest value in driving your cloud initiatives with CSP business partners like Xello is in the hands-on, direct partnership it offers. CSPs help align your business goals with your adoption of Azure and own your lifecycle end-to-end, from billing to solutions to managed services support.
Here’s a break-down of the same of the main benefits for partnering with an Azure CSP:
- Expertise: For companies that lack in-house experience, CSPs are a valuable option to ensure your Microsoft Azure transformation initiatives proceed without delay and following best practices and a strategic framework for your migration, adoption and optimisation of Azure.
- Point of contact for support: CSPs provide escalation and back-to-back support with Microsoft and step in at the most critical times - when unexpected breaches or outages occur, or you need help with managing workloads, or even just for a second opinion and assessment on current consumption. The active level of service CSPs provide helps you identify pain-points faster and give you confidence in your Azure setup. Having a CSP partner also means you’re never on your own, with a dedicated team taking ownership of all your support tickets that sees each step through with a hands-on approach and walkthrough the resolution.
- ROI Optimisation: It’s important to remember that even with a CSP, your business maintains administrative control and governance over each Azure subscription, Office 365 tenancy and any other licenses for other services such as Power Platform (Flow, PowerApps, Power BI). Where CSPs provides the most value is by having an experienced partner savvy on the in’s and out’s Azure to take care of all your cloud licenses and guide you on how to maximise your return on investment (ROI).
A good CSP doesn’t just sell Microsoft’s cloud services to its customers; they deliver additional, consistent value-add services to your overall transformation journey with Azure Cloud, providing strategic advisory services, exclusive cost-saving opportunities, and flexible PAYG billing.
Because you deal directly with your CSP rather than Microsoft for all your consumption and licensing requirements, taking the CSP route offers more hands-on support for those businesses that need it. You also don’t have to deal with multiple vendors - always a plus!
Reason # 2: Single bill for your PAYG cloud consumption
There are also many direct cost-benefits to partnering with a CSP for your Azure projects.
Because CSPs additionally offer their own IP and third-party services centered on Azure, they can bundle flexible discounts off the RRP with their unique solutions, which may better suit your organisation’s budget - and enable full access to the best SLAs for strong Azure service availability and quality assurance.
Partnering with a CSP for your Microsoft Azure migration and adoption also offers flexible pay-as-you-go (PAYG) billing, which means you only pay for what you use.
Instead of upfront, ongoing licensing costs, as per an Enterprise Agreement (EA) model, you are billed monthly (or annually) for Azure consumption and Office 365 licenses used. With a CSP, don’t have to commit to a fixed number of licenses or instances; your use of Azure and Office 365 is entirely consumption based - and what's needed now.
- If your business is using 100 licenses for Office 365, you get charged for 100 - nothing more, nothing less. You can up or reduce the exact rate at any time.
- You may have a transformation project that requires additional spinning up of new services; you can simply increase your consumption, then drop it down again when required, without fuss or paying for what you don’t use.
Compared to other procurement models, opting for a CSP and its monthly billing cycle also allows for more frequent touch-points with your chosen Azure partner, ensuring your business needs are regularly defined with expert consultation on-hand, and most importantly always aligned with your ongoing Azure Cloud migration and adoption.
Reason # 3: Full visibility into consumption with regular reporting
Monitoring is a big part of managing cloud infrastructure and ensuring environments are optimised, cloud spend is under control, and governance is properly in order.
Using a CSP allows your organisation to retain full visibility into resource consumption and licensing usage across your entire business. They also provide a detailed level of consumption reporting that keeps your decision-makers and IT team aware of the exact services that have been consumed, which licenses are being used by which users, and potential wastage to fix.
Microsoft Azure offers a range of incredibly useful monitoring and optimisation tools such as Azure Cost Management, Azure Monitor, Log Analytics and Application Insights, but it’s understandable that not every organisation has the expertise to be able to use such tooling off-the-mark.
Ultimately, CSPs ensure you leverage such monitoring tools following best practices and backed by proven cloud expertise during your Azure transformation journey.
Partnering with a CSP for Azure Cloud consumption: Next Steps
Want to know if a CSP is the best fit for your organisation’s Microsoft Azure and digital transformation objectives?
Reach out and have a chat with the Xello team to assess how the many benefits of a local Azure CSP partner can align with unique cloud needs and outcomes.