Microsoft is simplifying its licensing program. Come January 2022, its decade-long Open Value program will be officially retired as an option for buying its on-premises licenses. Organisations can now purchase all licences to support their business via Microsoft’s modern CSP (Cloud Solution Provider) licensing program directly from a Microsoft CSP partner.

The sunsetting of the Open Value Program provides organisations with the opportunity to work with skilled licensing partners to better understand the myriad of choices and licensing suites to best suit their on-premises and cloud based licensing requirements for their business applications, productivity tools, infrastructure, and security. This is why companies need to ascertain that they have partnered with someone that can provide them with strategic advice and the best value for money. The CSP partner you choose to work with will dictate how well you can maximise your Microsoft investments and how rapidly you can adapt to the technologies included in your plan.

We understand that many of you are probably already working with a CSP partner. This blog will help you to examine if your provider helps your business achieve more with your software investment or adds value to your organisation beyond just providing your software requirements.

This blog explains three of the critical qualities you need to watch out for when choosing to work with a Microsoft CSP partner.

1 | Helps you to better understand the possibilities with your current Microsoft licensing plan.

A good Microsoft CSP partner explains the features, benefits, and differences of a subscription plan, billing cycles, and can even assist with your initial cloud migration. A better Microsoft CSP partner goes beyond that with direct access to Microsoft, allowing them to escalate your support concerns without the need for a go-between to relay the issue.

However, the best Microsoft CSP partners to work with have the qualities mentioned above AND provide you with a deeper understanding of how your subscriptions relate to your business’ technology needs. Microsoft CSP partners that can provide licenses, strategise business requirements, and implement solutions simultaneously are the best providers to work with. They not only understand what’s available in your subscription plan, but they also have demonstrated technical expertise to design, develop, implement, and support your Microsoft software investments. Professional Advantage is one such unique Microsoft CSP partner and a Tier 1 Partner with a direct relationship with Microsoft (no Distribution channel in between).

2 | Delivers value and drives real impact to your business.

When was the last time your CSP partner performed a business review of your current subscription and provided you with advice on how to optimise your consumption to save on costs?

Have you had discussions around the changes in your benefits with your current plan and how you can best use it to your advantage?

A good Microsoft CSP partner helps you to identify which subscriptions work best for your current business requirements. While that is valuable in itself, a better Microsoft CSP partner enables you to bring down your IT spend, and streamline your IT operations.

Such is the case of an IT company who we helped save $185,000 (AUD) per year on their Azure services, and a skin care and beauty product company that we helped save $20,000 (AUD) by restructuring the CSP licensing that they were purchasing elsewhere previously. These cost savings would not have been realised early on had we not recommended optimisations to their current subscriptions.

Examine what your current CSP partner has done for you lately in the areas of cost savings, ensuring you fully maximise your Microsoft software investments’ potential.

3 | Helps you to improve your security and compliance posture.

A good Microsoft CSP partner will be able to discuss with you the security features and capabilities included in your Microsoft 365 license plan and how you can use it to your advantage.

A better Microsoft CSP partner can review your security posture and recommend data, identity, device, and app protection uplifts that you can leverage based on proven security methodologies and frameworks. This kind of CSP partner can help you leverage the broad set of Microsoft 365 suites and capabilities better by increasing your security, ensuring your business compliance, and optimising your CSP spend across all 3 microsoft clouds (Dynamics 365, Microsoft 365 and Azure) for business applications, productivity workloads, and Infrastructure platfrom.

A recent encounter with a not-for-profit client immediately identified six malicious users logging into their systems from Nigeria after our security recommendations exposed a credential theft, most likely from undetected phishing attacks. Another outcome for a leading industry organisation identified malicious threats from China targeting key business systems that they would not have known if not for our suggestions.

Take a second look at how a CSP partner can help you to better secure your IT environment. It might be the best decision you make!

In conclusion

We hope this blog has provided you with enough thought-provoking guidance in choosing wisely when working with a CSP partner. If you are not satisfied with the conversations with your current partner around cost savings, subscription optimisation, improving your security posture, or streamlining your IT operations, then it is worth considering exploring other options. Reach out to us to learn how you can get more out of your Microsoft CSP investments.

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