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Are there Benefits to Switching to a CSP for Microsoft Licensing?

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    Not all Microsoft licences purchased have the same value.

    Cost-efficient, no-frills consumption is desirable in a modern business climate, where IT budgets tighten as resources start to feel precious.

    For enterprises and businesses, vendor management can tire out resources quickly, resulting in time wastages and incoherence across a network of hundreds of third-party services. Digital marketplaces, designed to simplify service consumption, can help to remedy some of the headache in the journey of acquiring new, switching between, or upgrading existing cloud services.

    Microsoft’s Azure Marketplace is one of the most active examples, where Azure has emerged as a leading cloud destination. Services found here range from business continuity to support for remote workforces and beyond.

    However, cloud services can become harder to navigate in time, especially where businesses desire a stronger, more strategic, control over the cost of their consumption.

    Did you know… CSI works with Microsoft as an CSP to unlock the most from the cloud for our customers. 

    Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider


    Today’s Business Environment, Explained 

    Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) and Microsoft licencing are entangled in an interesting debate that often makes buying decisions look tactically cheap – but are the other advantages of a CSP overlooked?

    Before a drilldown into the benefits of aligning with CSP for Microsoft licencing, tectonic shifts in today’s business climate offer an explanation as to why cloud service provision should be more carefully investigated, if not under a microscope.

    Whilst the global pandemic accelerated digital transformation, many businesses began to pledge budget and skill share to scaling up through cloud services. This meant, during the time when digital tools minimised disruption from COVID-19, that cloud consumption become more desirable. Traditional IT infrastructure, in some environments, has paled behind the operational advantages offered by cloud services, including agility and greater cost control.

    One forecast at the time by McKinsey, reporting in 2021, called cloud migration projects a rewarding opportunity, looking at outperformers to learn lessons on how a jump – or what can feel like a leap – toward the cloud can actually setup critical competitive differences in the market. Whilst the investigation revealed how more than 80% of IT hosting costs will “go toward the cloud”, perhaps the most important finding was the size of anticipated financial losses on poorly or misconfigured cloud migration tactics. It was predicted that up to $100 billion spend could be “wasted” on these kinds of cloud migrations.

    Projected losses are enough to curb enthusiasm for cloud migrations – but competitive relevance and financial reward have been effectives lures for businesses that crave the agility and flexibility of operating in the cloud. Risk can be contained; rewards can be enjoyed.

    What is a Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP)?

    The Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider, or CSP, is a popular program whereby businesses can create lifetime value with trusted vendors. This covers everything from licencing, billing, and escalation and resolution if anything goes wrong.

    A CSP is a bridge into Microsoft solutions where costs can be more greatly controlled and access isn’t tapered.

    According to Microsoft’s guidance on this program, a CSP is a enabler of cloud services:

    “CSP enables partners to: own the customer lifecycle and relationship end-to-end; set the price, terms and directly note customers; directly provision and manage subscriptions; attach value-added services; and be the first point of contact for customer support.” 

    If the CSP program is popular for accelerated and robust cloud service support, what benefits typically attract businesses like yours? Better yet, why does so much of the UK marketplace rely on CSP’s to design and execute cloud services (from Azure to Office 365) in the first place?

    Why Choose a CSP for Microsoft Licencing in the First Place?

    In an Enterprise Agreement, or EA, a business has only a single line of IT support before they must purchase further support directly from Microsoft in the event of an escalation. A CSP like CSI, however, acts as a first and second point of support for a given service. Importantly, escalation agreements are already firmed up with Microsoft so, in the event of issue escalation and resolution, additional support carries no extra charge.

    When a service desk is consolidated to a single point of contact, a business will notice a simplified, efficient, and more streamlined approach to support with Microsoft services. The reward – service quality and excellence – does not just end with an organisation but is enjoyed by its many users and customers.

    A CSP’s support role can be extended beyond licencing. A partner like CSI will also become your single point of contact for billing and subscriptions. Our cloud consultants are even on hand to make sure you unlock the most from your Microsoft services.

    Working with a Microsoft Azure Cloud Solution Provider

    One of the main draws into the CSP program is its flexibility over cloud consumption. This means organisations can subscribe to a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) arrangement, rapidly unlocking the benefits of Azure without working directly through Microsoft.

    The core benefits to liaising with a Cloud Service Provider include…

    The major benefit to working with a CSP, as previously disclosed, is how it can simplify service resolution, quality and experience by reducing vendors and points of contact. With a single, unified point of contact for everything – from technical to billing support – a CSP is saving an organisation not only on the additional costs associated with ad hoc support, but the time it takes to resolve and improve cloud services.

    With the added benefit of unlimited licencing guidance and the option to consult on service support, the CSP program is a platform designed to optimise financial return from cloud services.

    Where a business’s in-house expertise is misspent on administrative tasks, cloud subscription and billing management can slow down even the most strategic cloud migration and modernisation projects.

    An incumbent CSP will subsume administrative responsibilities, ensuring resources are maximised and optimised; meanwhile, your IT team can be refocused to unlock value from everyday business operations.

    A CSP is a gateway to more competitive pricing options, especially when additional support is factored into the agreement. Cost optimisation is another option when an organisation works closely with a CSP to handle Microsoft services like those in Azure. Cloud services are synonymous with a kind of enhanced cost visibility that creates opportunities within cloud infrastructure and how services can be scaled (or de-scaled) to align with changing consumption and demand.

    Over the next three years, it has been forecasted that enterprises will likely suffer from “wasted migration spend” and, consequently, have slower uptake in regards to cloud adoption. Albeit a major inhibitor, not all journeys to the cloud are tumultuous and costly. Some companies, what McKinsey calls the “outperformers”, have created a model for migrating to the cloud within budget and time. If every cloud migration is a journey, the road to a destination like Azure is paved in equal parts risk and reward. Even McKinsey’s analysis, aware of the shortage of cloud expertise, suggests that third-party support is the answer when companies face growing demand for a cloud platform.

    As a CSP and solution integrator, CSI can provide strategic advice for migrations and support the deployment process to help clients avoid a lot of inefficiencies in orchestrating cloud migrations. With third-party support, a business is expanding its cloud capability, using CSI’s technicians and engineers to consult and deliver exceptionally.

    Depending on the requirements of an organisation, billing is usually simplified and consists of a monthly or annual statement. Compared with the likes of an Enterprise Agreement (or EA) or Open Licence, the CSP program is usually more generous with shortened contract terms and no hidden or upfront licencing costs.

    Microsoft CSP Technical Benefits with CSI

    Working closely with our partners, we understand the value of direct, flexible, rapid  and proactive support – that means accelerating resolutions and maximising your investment from Azure.

    Find out our initial response times depending on case severity.

    Microsoft CSP repsonse times

    A Different Cloud Conversation with CSI

    From cost optimisations, down to rapid technical support and expertise, the CSP program is most often the simpler, effective way to unlock the rewarding benefits from Microsoft cloud services. It’s often believed that a CSP can create a different kind of compounding value for a business: now that costs are finally under control, administration is eliminated, cloud migrations and modernisation projects have this support backbone to be more effective.

    CSI’s cloud specialists are certified experts in Azure and licencing, helping businesses to roadmap and deploy strategies for cloud migration and modernisation. Our consultants with experience in hybrid cloud environments, are also skilled at navigating the difficulties of cloud services, from monitoring to advanced support and even rapid issue remediation.
    Over 75% of CSI’s workforce hold technical roles, working closely with businesses and helping them to align more effectively with their objectives. When it comes to Azure, CSI is a partner of choice.

    To find out more about our CSP services, or to explore our work in Azure, please get in touch for a no-obligation consultation with one of our cloud experts.


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