The year 2020 was a driving force behind the adoption and scale up of cloud services. Purchasing cloud software like Dynamics 365 or Microsoft 365 (Office) is an entirely different paradigm in the cloud, and success almost always depends upon the partner you are working with. Many of these partners, like us at Axtegrity, are Cloud Solution Providers or CSPs. This blog provides some practical advice for how to engage with a CSP to ease your transition to the cloud.
With the CSP program, a customer has a consumption arrangement via the partner, rather than directly with Microsoft, changing what was formerly an IT capital expenditure to an on-demand operating expense.
Once you’ve found the best partner to work with, you can buy your solution directly from the partner. CSP partners can create your accounts and manage your subscriptions on your behalf. But it is much more than a licensing program. If you purchase through a CSP your partner can add value to your cloud experience via support, billing flexibility and guidance. Then, you can also add any other Microsoft business product you choose, like Power BI, Power Apps or Power Automate. The key is to find a partner you can trust who will help you through the process.
What to Look for in a CSP
It’s a basic but important consideration. Your CSP should have a track record of stability and success as a cloud solution provider. A designated Microsoft CSP must follow a rigorous list of requirements to attain the designation to ensure success (pre- and post-sale) as they deploy, run, and manage their clients’ supported applications.
Your CSP should be point of contact in case of a problem--technical, billing or subscription support. The CSP designation allows certified partners to establish a deeper relationship with Microsoft for support. When something goes wrong, CSPs don’t need to jump through the same hoops as a Microsoft customer, and requests are often more quickly escalated to the proper Microsoft support tier for resolution.
Your CSP should have extensive technical capabilities deploying, managing, and upgrading software and the ability to scale and grow with you as your business grows. This reduces the time needed for your internal IT department to overcome the learning curve for designing, planning, and deploying Dynamics or Office 365.
Microsoft licensing is complex so you will want to work with a partner who understands it well and who will take you in a direction that provides the best deal by bundling services. This way, your organization gets precisely what it needs, managed by a single, trustworthy resource. This also allows you to keep your bottom line trim since you’re only paying for what is actually being used.
Your CSP should have demonstrated its proactive approach to security regarding infrastructure, security policies, data backup and identity management to help identify and stop threats before they affect your business. A CSP partner should be able to advise end users regarding common security threats and practices related to cloud security. Microsoft requires CSPs to adopt security measures when servicing their clients, including enabling multi-factor authentication in partner tenants and adopting Microsoft’s secure application model framework. Be sure to talk to with any potential CSP about their approach and policies.
At Axtegrity, integrity is at the core of our mission. Rather than pushing a sale, we commit to understanding your specific situation and environment, and ensure that you have the technology and service needed to support your operations now and maintain those operations in the long term.
Contact us to talk with a specialist today.