Dan Truax General Manager, Global Partner Solutions

Evolving the Azure offer in the Cloud Solution Provider program

Woman at work

Update April 29, 2022: Today, we’re announcing that the start date for phase 3 is postponed, and we’ll provide partners with advance notice of the new timing when it’s been confirmed. This information has been updated in the text below. Partners should continue transitioning customers to Azure plan in new commerce to earn PEC or incentives.

Update February 1, 2022: As announced last July, the start date for phase 2 is today, February 1, 2022. Today, we are also announcing that the start date of phase 3 will be July 31, 2022. This date is updated below, and more information is available here.

Update July 21, 2021: As announced in January, the start date for phase 1 is today, July 21, 2021. Today, we are also announcing that the start date of phase 2 will be February 1, 2022. This date is updated below, and more information is available here.

The new Microsoft commerce experience will create a consistent and simplified purchase experience for customers and enables them to digitally transform, with greater flexibility in how and where they buy. Partners play a critical role in the customer’s cloud journey, regardless of the channel(s) customers decide to transact on with Microsoft. Once fully launched, the updated commerce platform and model will enable partners to participate through sales motions for larger enterprise customers as well as small and medium companies, and it will give partners opportunities to expand their participation to drive customer success.  

The new commerce experience for Azure in the Cloud Solution Provider program expands partner opportunities to build and deliver managed services, further extend their customer base, and help customers on their digital transformation. It delivers the following benefits:  

  • Simplifies the Azure purchasing process with Azure Plan. 
  • Creates better pricing alignment across channels (based on customer and partner feedback, the new Azure experience in the Cloud Solution Provider program will use a single pricelist, in USD, providing customers and partners with consistent pricing at a global scale). 
  • Reduces customer acquisition obstacles by providing partners with tools that incorporate the appropriate governance, customer experience, and policies to move them to the new Azure experience in the Cloud Solution Provider program. 
  • Enables partners to manage their customers more efficiently by leveraging capabilities such as Azure Lighthouse and Azure Cost Management.  
  • Expands access to Azure Marketplace. 

Expanding on the new commerce experience for Azure, we have enabled transition tools to enhance the flexibility to manage Azure in ways that adapt to customers’ evolving business needs and to help facilitate you getting them to the new Azure offer in the Cloud Solution Provider program. View the summary of the tools that exist to support the transition of customer Azure subscriptions in the Cloud Solution Provider program. 

New Azure in Cloud Solution Provider program offer (Azure plan) 

With the new commerce experience, partners gain access to Azure services at pay-as-you-go rate for customers under the Microsoft Customer Agreement, through an Azure plan. This plan simplifies the purchase experience by enabling the creation of multiple Azure subscriptions within an Azure plan. There is no longer a need to submit a separate order per Azure subscription in Partner Center. 

Changes to the previous Azure offer availability in the Cloud Solution Provider program 

When we announced the new Azure offer in the Cloud Solution Provider program (Azure plan) we informed partners that the previous Azure offer and platform would continue to be available, alongside the new Azure experience, for some time, and that we would inform partners six months in advance before any changes would be made to the previous Azure offer. 

While the new Azure offer in the Cloud Solution Provider program (Azure plan) provides partners with an improved experience, we want to give partners time to incorporate the new Azure features with their services and transition their customers to the new experience.  

There will be three phases of change to the previous Azure offer. Today, we are sharing more information on these three phases.  

Three phases 

Phase 1 – Beginning July 21, 2021 

In phase 1, all new Azure Cloud Solution Provider program business will be on the new Azure plan offer. Meaning: 

  • 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, 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). 
  • 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. 

Phase 2 – Beginning February 1, 2022

In phase 2, incentives and partner margin opportunity will be removed from the previous Azure offer.

Previous Azure offer in CSP:

  • The partner margin opportunity and 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 for Azure.
  • Azure partner shared services (APSS) in the previous Azure offer will continue to be available until those services are transferred to other sales motions.

New Azure offer in CSP (Azure plan):

  • Partners will continue to be eligible to earn partner earned credit (PEC) on subscriptions 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).
  • Effective October 2021, partners with a silver Cloud Platform competency are eligible for additional incentives related to the new Azure offer (Azure plan).

Phase 3 – Beginning TBC

In phase 3, any remaining customers on the previous Azure offer will be migrated to the new Azure offer in the Cloud Solution Provider program (Azure plan). Any existing Azure partner shared services (APSS) on the previous Azure offer will continue to be made available until they are transferred to a different sales motion or until APSS is removed. APSS will eventually be removed from the previous Azure offer and will not be available as part of the new Azure offer (Azure plan). 

Azure migration from the previous Azure offer to the new Azure offer:

  • Ahead of Phase 3, Microsoft will migrate customers that are on the previous Azure offer to the new Azure offer (Azure plan)
  • Microsoft will begin this migration in July and will expect to complete the activity by the end of July. We will communicate the migration timelines to partners in advance.

APSS transfer from previous Azure offer in CSP to a different sales motion:

  • Microsoft has made the decision to remove the availability of APSS from the CSP program as we remove the previous Azure offer.
  • Any existing APSS subscriptions and reserved instances will need to be transferred to the Customer led motion, with options to move to Enterprise Sales motion if the partner is already transacting there.
  • Microsoft will begin these transfers in May.
  • Azure Stack Hub customers will see no disruption in service, but certain changes will be necessary to replace the APSS registration.

Partner Earned Credit (PEC) 

With the new commerce experience partners get recognized for differentiated value-added services on an ongoing basis through the partner earned credit model. Partner earned credit rewards partners who focus on driving customer success via value-added services that generate sustainable profitability.  

We are confident the new Azure offer in the Cloud Solution Program will facilitate a more streamlined and straightforward experience for partners and ultimately help you deliver more for your customers. At Microsoft, we’re always working on new resources to help partners in their journey, and I’m confident that the offering—as well as the phased roll-out—will allow you to drive success for customers on their digital transformation.  

Resources 

Partner Earned Credit (PEC) 

Partners are highly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the partner earned credit model, leveraging the following resources: 

The new commerce experience