Expanding partner opportunities with Azure in the Cloud Solution Provider program

Microsoft Partner looking through Partner Center.

Update September 20, 2019:
To ensure we provide the best partner and customer experiences at launch, we are moving the launch date of the new commerce experience for Azure in CSP from October 2019 to 1 November, 2019.


Digital transformation is rapidly changing how organizations create value. Customers today are faced with complex technology decisions. Increasingly, people making those decisions are line-of-business buyers, and how they purchase technology continues to move toward self-service and specialization. Today’s buyers prefer to do their own research and are more amenable to accessing products in a marketplace, downloading apps, and trying out products first. When it’s time to work with a partner, they want someone who can provide more than just the transaction—they want a partner who offers specialized consultative assistance, value-added services, deep skills, and experience aligned to their industry and needs.

As a Microsoft partner, you play a critical role in all stages of the customer lifecycle, regardless of how a customer chooses to purchase Microsoft Azure—through a partner, on the Microsoft website, or through a Microsoft field seller. We rely on you to provide customers with upfront assistance and value-added services that result in the customer committing to Azure.

To prepare you for new opportunities today and in the future, we’re making investments in our partner business and the Microsoft Partner Network in the year ahead. These investments offer:

  • New ways to differentiate so customers understand your areas of expertise and specialization;
  • Increased access to marketing and enablement resources and services;
  • More ways for you to reach customers and sell your apps and services.

Microsoft is evolving its commerce platform to streamline the customer experience and enable partners to broaden their influence and further help customers to digitally transform—regardless of where the customer is in their journey or how they decide to transact with Microsoft.

The largest opportunity for partners is providing value-added services that meet the changing landscape, with the highest margins coming from managed services; specialized business application development and deployment; and projects that require planning, implementation, integration, security, and compliance.

New Azure capabilities to accelerate your business growth

In October 2019, we’re adding new capabilities in the Cloud Solution Provider program for partners to resell, manage, and provide services to customers on Microsoft Azure. These enhancements to Azure in CSP introduce product alignment and a common pricing engine across how customers buy Azure. You’ll be able to offer customers the latest innovations in Azure at the same time they’re available through the Microsoft website or through a Microsoft field seller. And, partners in the Cloud Solution Provider program can build differentiated services that use Microsoft (first-party) and partner (third-party) offers.

To help you increase your services-based profitability, we’re introducing the CSP services managed discount, which rewards partners who provide services on Azure to customers. This discount will replace the current transactional margin for Azure in the Cloud Solution Provider program. It will be given through a discount on the Azure CSP invoice to partners who are billed by Microsoft and are associated to the customer’s CSP Azure estate via admin access. Eligible partners also continue to be able to earn incentives in the new Azure experience in CSP.

Based on customer and partner feedback, the new Azure experience in CSP will use a single pricelist, in USD, providing customers and partners with consistent pricing at a global scale. This will allow for a more transparent and simplified pricing reference, regardless of how the customer buys Azure from Microsoft.

To streamline the transition for customers who are on the current version of Azure in CSP or other programs, we’ll provide you with tools that incorporate the appropriate governance, customer experience, and policies to move them to the new Azure experience in CSP. These tools and capabilities will be available in the second quarter of our 2020 fiscal year.

The current Azure CSP offer and platform will continue to be available alongside the new Azure experience for several months, giving you time to incorporate the new Azure features with your services and transition your customers to the new experience.

New, simplified agreements

As part of this enhanced commerce experience, we’re enabling a more agile way for partners and customers to engage and do business with Microsoft, driving greater transparency and better business outcomes. We’re introducing a new agreement framework—the Microsoft Partner Agreement and the Microsoft Customer Agreement—for the Cloud Solution Provider program.

  • Starting September 1, the Microsoft Partner Agreement will replace the Microsoft Cloud Reseller Agreement (MCRA) and Microsoft Cloud Distributor Agreement (MCDA).
  • Starting October 1, the Microsoft Customer Agreement will begin to replace the Microsoft Cloud Agreement for all customers served through the Cloud Solution Provider program.

Where to learn more and stay informed

If you’re in the Cloud Solution Provider program, you can learn more about the new capabilities coming later this year by signing in to the partner center.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Cloud Solution Provider program and capitalizing on the cloud opportunity, visit the Microsoft partner website.

Partner with Microsoft to build a profitable business and expand the services you offer by following our practice development guidance.

Join us at Microsoft Inspire

We’ll talk more about the opportunities for our partnership at Microsoft Inspire in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA from July 14–18. Visit the Partner Network booth in The Hub to learn about the investments we’re making in the Cloud Solution Provider program and marketplace to help you expand your managed services with Azure and increase your profitability.