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What is CSP & how does it affect you as a Microsoft customer?

The article explains the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) model and how it works with Office 365 and Azure. It also ...

The article explains the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) model and how it works with Office 365 and Azure. It also includes a list of CSP customer benefits. 

My previous employer was Microsoft, and although it was not my role to answer license questions, it’s something you as a Microsoft employee can’t dodge. The complexity of different license models makes it hard for both Microsoft Partners and end customers to keep up to date. In fact, being a  Microsoft license expert is a business in itself! 

Luckily, the increased rivalry in the growing cloud business has made Microsoft rethink the complexity of their licensing. This resulted in the launch of the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) model a couple of years ago. Two years later,  Microsoft licensing for most companies is now a lot simpler and a lot less worrisome.

As a Microsoft Cloud partner, you can apply for a CSP agreement either directly from Microsoft or through a few selected distributors. Once the partner gets the CSP application approved they can start ordering Microsoft cloud licenses on behalf of their customers. The partner receives a margin from Microsoft on each customer’s consumption of Microsoft Cloud services through their CSP agreement. For that margin, the partner must offer technical support to their customers in addition to the actual billing.


How CSP works with Office 365:

If you have an existing O365 agreement, you can ask any CSP partner to migrate your subscription to CSP; it’s done easily and within minutes. The partner will then be able to provide licenses on your behalf. Just remember that if you have an existing subscription with Microsoft, for instance an EA or an OVS agreement, you will have to fulfil your commitment to that agreement.

If you are a new customer to O365, you can contact any CSP partner and they will help you set up the subscription and a company tenant and you should get access to O365 within minutes. Any change to your subscription will be handled by your CSP partner and they will bill you for your actual consumption, month after month. If you are already with a CSP partner and for some reason would like to replace them, this is also a very easy task to handle.  Just select a new CSP partner of your preferred choice and they can simply migrate your subscription within minutes and with no down time for you.

How CSP works with Azure:

Azure is a bit different since it’s invoiced based on consumption and not the number of licenses. The CSP partner can set up a subscription on behalf of their customers, and the customer can decide if the partner should have access to their Azure environment or not. If the customer is already using Azure on a different license model like EA or Pay-As-You-Go, migrating to CSP can be trickier. In this case, check with your CSP partner to see if they have experience of doing this kind of migration. 

At the end of the month the partner will receive an invoice from Microsoft, stating all their customer’s Azure consumption for the previous month. The partner will then invoice each customer for their monthly consumption.

Ironstone CSP customer benefits 

  • We are one of the most experienced Microsoft partner in Scandinavia when it comes to Azure on CSP and we have migrated numerous Azure customer to CSP.
  • You get a respond on any license change within 15 min during regular work hours and we will guarantee you the same or lower price than you would receive directly from Microsoft.
  • Get help with reports showing how you can optimize your license use and make cost improvements, both with the right number of licenses and the right license type.
  • We will offer you technical support in a Scandinavian language, both through phone, chat and mail and we have extensive knowledge of CSP and Microsoft licensing in general.
  • No lock down on our agreements and we will strive to always help you obtain the correct license number through custom made reports.
  • We will make sure that our customers are only charged for the optimal O365 licensing or Azure consumption each month.