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Becoming a Microsoft cloud partner: Part 2

RDGuest Author: Ryszard Dałkowski, Exertum
Independent IT2B consultant, trainer, the “Old Sweat” of IT industry. Delivers workshops and trainings on product and soft skills, as well as business remodeling workshops with cloud impact. Still deeply engaged in Microsoft open source projects in Central and Eastern Europe. Cloud computing enthusiast (for business and private use). Vice President of Open Source, Aegis Foundation.
For Part 2 of “Becoming a Microsoft Cloud Partner,” it’s time to talk about money. More precisely – making additional revenue with your solutions and services built with Microsoft Azure. There are several options – let’s take a look at some of the possibilities…

Direct pay-as-you-go

The easiest and safest way to sell your solution on Azure. Customer opens subscription for his usage and pays directly for that with his credit card (or money transfer) in pay-as-you-go method. There is no default margin or benefits for you. You are only able to sell your solution built on Azure and your services for that. The only way to be visible (and included) in the deal is to become Digital Partner of Record (described below). But it can be useful for you during the learning phase (if you won’t get something special from Microsoft) so you should be aware of this.

Indirect pay-as-you-go

This is completely unofficial, unsupported by Microsoft and invented by myself selling model. Partner acts as a Value added reseller – customer buys services from partner, partner opens subscription for himself to run customer’s solution. Microsoft charges partner and partner invoicing customer with services margin added. This way secures services margin for partner but can have potential risk with exchange rate.

Microsoft Azure in Open – convenient, safe and beneficial (my favorite)

Open is the most convenient way of selling cloud technologies. If you go for Open your selling margin can be up to 15%* on Azure tokens. The process is simple – you as a partner open the agreement between your customer and Microsoft, issue an invoice to customer and gather your margin of the deal value. Become somehow familiar with Microsoft terminology and licensing and use that presentation to understand how to sell Azure in this program. Whole process is pretty well explained and I’m sure that in the next few days you will activate first subscription for your customer at the portal without any problem if you carefully watch one more training.
* – my default margin at the moment is 15%. It depends on your deal with your distributor and can be changed in the future.

Cloud solution provider

If your business is based on mixed services and you want to charge customer with one invoice for your services and technology you should think of CSP program. CSP is best if you bundle:

  • Value added services – whether you provide project services, managed services or your own intellectual property built on the Microsoft cloud, customers want more from their partners.
  • Customer support – when first level questions come up, customers need help from their cloud solution provider.
  • Customer management at scale – providing managed services efficiently requires both technical expertise, and tools which we provide for your use.

With CSP you will issue one invoice for all of that – customers get a single, simple to understand bill for all the cloud services they consume. More information about the Cloud Solution Provider program you can find at Cloud Reseller pages.

Digital Partner of Record

This is my second most commonly used way of doing business with Microsoft (and customer). Sometimes I’m too small to deal with big customers but I’m influential enough (with my workshops or trainings) to close the deal for others. That incentive program helps me to earn more & rewards my work with customers, even when the customer has a direct Azure purchase contract with Microsoft. It is worth to learn more about Digital Partner of record program

Partner benefits

Free registration as Microsoft partner comes with a bunch of benefits as free trainings, marketing materials, special software package and more. Despite all other benefits available for regular Microsoft partners, new open source technology focused company get some unique benefits from the CEE Open Source Strategy team. This is the team I work – a flock of fantastic and very helpful people.

Benefits dedicated for Open Source Partner program:

  • Technical workshops and trainings – if you don’t have enough knowledge about Microsoft Azure or you don’t know how to connect your solution with Azure platform, the team is ready to organize technical workshops, trainings and hands-on lab for your company.
  • Technical support with migration – if you need help with migrating yours or your customer’s solution (based on open source technology) to Microsoft Azure platform you will get help and support from Microsoft team or they will sponsor the engagement of the other, more experienced partner, which will act as your team and together with your team. During the migration the chosen staff will be trained working hand-by-hand together with experienced partner.
  • Microsoft Azure Trial vouchers – in some specific situation you can be interested in getting free (sponsored by Microsoft) period of using Microsoft Azure platform. This can be needed in some pilot or proof of concept projects, stress test preparation and so on. Please contact the CEE Open Source team to have it ready – three typical vouchers are (as for Q1 2016):
    • 100$ for 30 days – with no CC (credit card) registration, convenient for training delivery, 100 USD or 30 days voucher (what comes first).
    • 250$/month for 12 months – no CC registration required, long term trial voucher with monthly spend limit 250 USD lasts for 12 months. For long term smaller scale Proof of Concepts.
    • 500$/month for 6 months – mid term trial voucher with monthly spend limit 500 USD lasts for 6 months. For scalable PoC and migrations.
  • Marketing support and promotion – Visibility on the market is one of the most important activities for any companies. Partner program can help promote your solution/business among customers through case studies, event sponsorships, business meetings with customers and more.
  • Networking and visibility – be there where your customers are. Microsoft acts as a Sponsor/Partner on selected open source and business oriented events in CEE. If you offer your solution in the market space covered by such an event – please contact the Partner Team to ask for cooperation on that event. For example – if you offer e-commerce solution and doing the job with Azure, ask the team to include you in e-commerce event boot stand (like MeetMagento or other).