Why purchase your Microsoft 365 licensing, or Azure plans, via a Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) when you can buy direct from Microsoft?
There are many benefits of using a CSP, here are our top 5:
1: Licensing flexibility
One of the USPs of cloud services like M365 is their flexibility and scalability. Many organisations are sold on the concept that you only pay for what you use, but this isn’t always quite true. For example, if you’ve purchased an Enterprise Agreement (EA) and want to reduce your user environment, you can only do so on the anniversary date of the agreement. Also, reductions can only be made as low as the plan minimum, which may result in you paying for unused licences.
Purchasing your M365 licensing via a CSP gives you the flexibility you want to adjust that number of licences up and down, on a monthly basis, and only pay for what you use. For example, if you have 700 M365 licenses and wanted to step that up by 50 licenses for a project or peak in business and drop it again two months later, you can. You will be billed in a completely logical way that follows your licence usage e.g. 700 then 750 for two months and then back to 700. In the case of Azure, you simply pay for what you used the previous month, like a phone bill.
2: Flexible billing
No credit cards needed! A CSP will bill you for your cloud consumption – 365 licences and Azure consumption – on a monthly or annual basis, depending on your requirements. CSP agreements are also more flexible than a Microsoft EA or Open Licence, with shorter contract terms, lower (or no) penalties for adjustments, and no upfront licensing costs.
3: Cost savings
Going the CSP route unlocks opportunities to gain discounts on the RRP. A big win against pay-as-you-go. Potential discounts from RRP are dependent on your licensing requirements and may be greater if you are also procuring wraparound services from the CSP.
A Microsoft 365 Licensing Health Check can also uncover further cost savings. You might find that you’re not using all the services covered by your plan and could potential switch to a different plan or initiate a user adoption programme so you do get the benefits of your cloud services. We often see organisations with an EA who can get all the services they need and use from a Microsoft 365 Business plan, at a much lower cost to the business.
4: Licensing expertise
With one partner looking after all your Microsoft 365 licences, you can draw on our expertise and skills to maximise the benefits of your technology investment. Tell us what your IT strategy is, and we will ensure your licensing is aligned to your goals.
5. IT support
If you have an EA, your organisation has to provide 1st line IT support and then purchase support directly from Microsoft for escalation. With a CSP we become your 1st and 2nd line point of contact for the service, and already have a built-in escalation agreement to Microsoft for additional support, at no cost to your organisation. With a marketing-leading IT service desk, the support your users receive is best in class.
Your CSP partner is also the point of contact for billing and subscription support and may also offer other services like Service Integration & Management, which will help you get the most from all the services you’re paying for.
Common questions about Microsoft Cloud Solutions Providers
Will I still maintain Admin Control?
Yes. You can still have full admin control over your Office 365 tenancy and Azure subscriptions.
Can I migrate existing Azure Services to CSP Azure?
Yes. We will first need to undertake a review of your environment to understand if there are areas that will not easily move e.g. Backup Vaults and Express Route. We then schedule some engineering time to move you to the new subscription. We aim to achieve this without loss of service. We would obviously discuss options for items that are not so easily moved between Azure subscriptions.
Who will invoice me?
Yes. We will invoice you monthly (unless you require annual billing). We get invoiced indirectly from Microsoft on a monthly basis for all the CSP spend attributable to our customers. We just take this data and generate an invoice for your specific spend.
Do I need to sign any agreements?
Yes. You will need to agree to the Microsoft Cloud Agreement.
Can I license my on premises licenses via CSP?
Yes. SQL Server, Windows Enterprise and User CALs are available through CSP. This gives the customer the ability to utilise Hybrid Use Benefit to run services on premises or in the cloud
Can I change CSP provider?
Yes. You are free to transfer to any other provider of your choice, but we hope our people-centric approach and focus on your user experience, alongside other services we deliver, are good reasons to stay.
Can I leave CSP?
Yes. As it’s a monthly subscription you can enter in any month of the calendar year and stop at any time. Remember, a CSP gives you the flexibility to alter your subscription, in numbers and services, per month.
Will access to my tenancy or subscription be terminated if I do not pay my bill?
Ultimately yes. But clearly we all want to avoid this situation. We follow normal processes to retrieve the money for services provided, but we are within our rights to terminate if your invoices are not being paid in a timely manner.
As a Microsoft Gold Partner we can provide licensing and management for Microsoft 365 and Azure services. We also have specialist expertise in planning, migrating, monitoring, and managing on-premises, private, and multiple cloud provider environments. Speak to our team if you would like to learn more, or book a Microsoft 365 Licensing Health Check to find out whether we can save you money on your current licensing.