As a Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) partner, transact across Microsoft cloud services (i.e., Azure, O365, Enterprise Mobility Suite and Dynamics CRM Online) through a single platform. CSP enables partners to: own the customer lifecycle and relationship end-to-end; set the price, terms and directly bill customers; directly provision and manage subscriptions; attach value-added services; and be the first point of contact for customer support.
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The new Azure offer (Azure plan) in CSP
If you are a new customer or partner to Microsoft CSP, then you should be aware that all new customers and partners are invited to transact the new Azure offer (Azure plan) for in CSP. Only existing customers and partners who have an established reseller relationship and together have an active previous Azure offer subscription can continue to transact the previous Azure offerings.
You can learn more about new Azure offer (Azure plan) here: Introduction: Azure plan.
Review commonly asked questions about the upcoming changes to the previous Azure offer availability in CSP here: Changes to previous Azure offer in CSP availability.
Important dates for the previous Azure offer in CSP
There will be three phases of change to the previous Azure offer. As announced in January, the start date for phase 1 is July 21, 2021. The start date for phase 2 will be February 1, 2022. The start date for phase 3 has not yet been set.
The first phase starts on July 21, 2021, when existing active subscriptions in the previous Azure offer in CSP will continue, but all net new Azure Cloud Solution Provider program business will need to be on the new Azure offer (Azure plan).
The second phase starts on February 1, 2022, when any previous Azure offer subscriptions will no longer be provided partner incentives, and pricing will be at estimated retail price (ERP). Only new Azure offer (Azure plan) subscriptions will be eligible for PEC and incentives.
Detailed rules about these changes.
Phase 1: beginning July 21, 2021, all net new Azure Cloud Solution Provider program business will be on the new Azure offer (Azure plan).
- For all existing reseller relationships between partners and customers in the Cloud Solution Provider program, if the customer has already purchased the previous Azure offer (MS-AZR-0145p), the partner may continue to transact, and the customer may continue to purchase the previous Azure offer from that partner.
- The previous Azure offer will no longer be available to net-new partners transacting in the Cloud Solution Provider program.
- The previous Azure offer will no longer be available to net-new customers purchasing via a partner in the Cloud Solution Provider program.
- For all new reseller relationships or new customer acquisitions, partners can only transact the new Azure offer (Azure plan).
- Phase 1 policies are applicable for change of channel partner requests too.
- As of 21 July 2021 there is a new self-service tool for partners to take over the billing ownership of previous Azure offer subscriptions from another partner while simultaneously converting them into the new Azure offer (Azure plan).
- For all existing reseller relationships between partners and customers, if the customer has never purchased Azure before, the partner may only transact, and customer may only purchase the new Azure offer from that partner.
- Government Community Cloud (GCC) customers can continue to transact the previous Azure offer (MS-AZR-0145p); enabling Azure plan and billing transition tooling for GCC customers is being planned, and updates will be sent to all partners once additional information becomes available.
- Direct partners who are transitioning to become Indirect Reseller and transferring their customers to Indirect Provider are exempt from the phase 1 changes.
- For Azure Partner Shared Services (APSS MS-AZR-0159p), following phase 1, there will be no changes.
Phase 2: beginning February 1, 2022, incentives will be removed from the previous Azure offer, and pricing will be set to the estimated retail price (ERP).
For the previous Azure offer in CSP:
- Partner incentives associated with the previous Azure offer in CSP will be removed.
- The price of the previous Azure offer in CSP will equal the estimated retail price (ERP) price for Azure.
For the new Azure offer in CSP (Azure plan):
- Partners will continue to be eligible to earn Partner Earned Credit on the new Azure offer (Azure plan) in CSP.
- Partners enrolled in Microsoft Commerce Incentives (MCI) will continue to be eligible for incentives related to the new Azure offer (Azure plan) in CSP.
- Partners with silver cloud platform competencies will be eligible for additional incentives related to the new Azure offer (Azure plan) in CSP (effective October 2021).
CSP enables partners to have end-to-end ownership of the customer lifecycle and relationship for Microsoft Azure. That means partners are empowered to manage sales, own the billing relationship, provide technical and billing support and be the customers' single point of contact. In addition, CSP provides a full set of tools including a self-service portal and accompanying APIs to easily provision, manage and provide billing for their customers and subscriptions.
Complete end-to-end customer management
CSP partners are the first point of contact for their customers’ needs and the center of the customer relationship. Partners are able to build stronger relationships with their customers by managing the end-to-end experience.
- Sales – Bundle services with unique solutions or resell Azure while controlling the pricing, terms and billing.
- Value-added services – Partners have the power to leverage CSP to add managed services and/or 3rd-party applications in addition to Azure services.
- Provisioning – Directly provision customers and subscriptions and manage services through new portals and accompanying APIs.
- Management – Through multi-tenant capabilities, partners are able to manage all of their customers’ subscriptions across services.
- Billing – Microsoft will bill the partner directly for all customer usage. The partner, therefore, owns all downstream billing to their customers.
- Support – Become the front line support for their customers to ensure business continuity.
Partner Center and APIs
The Partner Center is the portal experience that CSP transacting partners use to provision new customers, order subscriptions, manage subscription, and perform admin tasks on behalf of their customers. Key benefits to the new portal include the following:
- Easy to use – The new portal and APIs make provisioning and managing customers and subscriptions seamless.
- Provision customers & subscriptions – Provision customers and subscriptions in a single, easy-to-use portal.
- Admin-on-behalf-of customers – Manage customer subscriptions via single sign-on capabilities.
- Full suite of CSP cloud service offerings – Transact across CSP products in addition to Azure as detailed in the Partner Center.
- Multi-channel & Multi-CSP partner – Multi-channel capabilities enable partners with the ability to provision CSP subscriptions for a customer with an existing tenant while multi-partner capabilities enable a customer to work with multiple CSP partners to find solutions that best fit their needs.
- View invoices – View invoices and billing history.
- CSP API access and onboarding – Onboard to the CSP APIs in order to manage customers and subscriptions to drive scale and efficiency.
Partner controls access
When a new Microsoft Azure subscription is created in a customer tenant, the partner is granted owner rights on this subscription, however, the customer is not by default. Therefore, the customer cannot log into the Microsoft Azure Management Portal and create/start/stop new Azure services for that specific subscription – the partner has to do this on behalf of the customer. The partner can choose to grant the customer owner or contributor rights to the subscription in the Microsoft Azure Management Portal subscription settings. A customer with owner or contributor rights to a subscription can now log into the portal to create/start/stop new Azure services under that subscription. The key is that once a customer has owner or contributor permissions on a subscription, they can make changes to services under that subscription that will potentially change consumption usage. The partner needs to be aware of this and ensure they can contract, manage, support, and bill the customer appropriately if the partner chooses to grant customers administrative credentials to the subscriptions. Please note, permissions can be applied at a service level as well.
Azure in CSP is built on the Azure deployment model, Azure Resource Manager (ARM). Most services are available via ARM and consequently via Azure in CSP. As services continue to move to support ARM, these services will become available through CSP. Review the list of available Azure services in Azure CSP documentation.
It should be noted that applications published by third party ISVs are not yet available for purchase through Azure CSP subscriptions. However, third party Bring Your Own License (BYOL) and Free images are available for CSP subscriptions.
The CSP program is available to companies with offices in the countries/regions listed here which are grouped by market. Partners in the CSP program can sell to other countries within the same market even if they don't have an office in those locations.
Pay-as-you-go billing model
Azure in CSP is a pay-as-you-go service. That means partners only pay for the usage on services used inside a customer’s subscription. There are no minimum purchases or commitments and subscriptions can be canceled at any time. Payment is required for any outstanding fees incurred.
Partner provides support
CSP partners provide technical and billing support for their resellers and customers. In the event the CSP partner require support from Microsoft, they can create a case through the Partner Center. Please note that resellers and customers will not be able to get support directly from Microsoft – only the CSP partner has this ability.
There are two models of the CSP program available for resellers who work directly with commercial customers:
- 1-tier Cloud Solution Provider: For partners with MSP or solutions business that are able to bill and support their customers at scale.
- 2-tier reseller: For partners looking to resell Microsoft cloud services by leveraging a 2-tier Cloud Distribution Partner’s billing, support, and value-added services.
Microsoft also recognizes 2-tier Cloud Distribution Partners who recruit, enable, and grow a cloud reseller channel at scale. This option is available only to partners with a proven track record with Microsoft and a reputation for excellence. Selection is by nomination.
For more information about the partner agreement and other program requirements, see CSP documents and learning resources.
Partners are invoiced monthly for all usage under all customer subscriptions. Customers are billed by their partner.
Azure in CSP is available in the countries/regions listed here. For partners, currency is determined by the agreement with Microsoft. For customers, currency is determined by the agreement with their partner.
1-Tier CSP Partners:
1-Tier CSP Partners:
Microsoft will bill the CSP partner monthly for all usage incurred on reseller and customer subscriptions under the partner’s ownership. Partners will receive an invoice for all charges and an accompanying reconciliation file that provides additional details. More information on billing can be found here.
Partners can reference the Azure in CSP Release Notes document posted on the Partner Center Pricing and Offers page which details service availability. These can be shared with resellers and customers.
By default, only the CSP partner has access to the subscription, however, customers (groups or users) can be added to a subscription. More information on how to manage access can be found here. In general, it is recommended that customers are not added to the role of Owner as this role enables members the right to add and remove other users.
Subscriptions can be managed in a number of ways including the Microsoft Azure Management Portal, PowerShell, X-Plat CLIs and Resource Management REST API.
2-Tier Resellers buying through CSP Distributors:
CSP distributors manage billing for resellers. Resellers should work with their distributor to understand billing.
CSP distributors manage pricing for resellers. Resellers should work with their distributor to understand pricing.
Microsoft publishes an Azure in CSP Release Notes document which details service availability. Resellers should reach out to their distributor to understand service availability.
Obtaining access to a customer’s subscription is a two-step process. First, a CSP reseller must establish a reseller relationship with the customer. Once this relationship is established, the distributor can then add the reseller’s group to the appropriate role in the customer’s subscription.