Dan Truax General Manager, Global Partner Solutions

Transitioning from Open License to the Cloud Solution Provider program

Colleagues having a meeting

Technology is transforming the way we do business worldwide. Our industry has predominantly moved to a cloud subscription business model that provides the flexibility, capabilities, and scalability organizations need to support a hybrid workforce. While this evolution has opened exciting new opportunities for the Microsoft ecosystem, it also means we’re moving away from Open License transactions toward cloud and hybrid licensing. 

As I’ve shared previously, Microsoft is investing in the Cloud Solution Provider program as the primary partner sales motion for small and medium businesses (SMBs) and smaller corporate customer accounts. Featuring an updated approach to licensing and sales, this move is an extension of our commitment to equip partners with the tools they need to meet the evolving needs of customers. Partners enrolled in the Cloud Solution Provider program can offer fully managed services and highly tailored solutions to customers. 

To maximize your partnership, it’s important to fully migrate your organization and your customers to the Cloud Solution Provider program before the end of 2021 when you’ll no longer be able to transact in the Open License program. Let’s take a look at the reasoning for this change, as well as the resources and guidance we’ve provided to help facilitate a smooth transition—starting with an overview of the Microsoft new commerce experience. 

Joining in the new commerce experience 

Our investment in the Cloud Solution Provider program engages the most powerful products from the Microsoft cloud. For example, the new Microsoft Azure plan offers exclusive advantages for partners, including simplified purchasing, better pricing alignment, and innovative customer management tools. We also launched perpetual software offers in the Cloud Solution Provider program at the beginning of the year, reinforcing the transition from the Open License program.  

With the introduction of perpetual licensing into the Cloud Solution Provider program, we’ve increased simplicity and manageability for partners, expanding your capacity to offer customers hybrid cloud environments. Both partners and their customers will find this change advantageous for their cloud adoption journeys, and it will save partners the time and resources associated with managing multiple licensing programs.  

Under the new commerce experience, large corporate customers will generally continue transacting through the enterprise motion with help from their Microsoft account team. While these customers often require a high level of direct Microsoft involvement, partners remain an important collaborator in pre- and post-sales activities. 

Wherever you are in the process of transitioning to the new cloud environment, we have options and resources to help:  

  • Partners who are already set up in the Cloud Solution Provider program but still transacting via Open License should start actively shifting over to perpetual software in the cloud. You can learn more about relevant offers and incentives here.  
  • If you are a partner who is not yet in the Cloud Solution Provider program, your next step is to contact your distributor of choice for information on how to get started, or connect with an indirect provider here. 

Streamlining your business transition 

Leveraging the power of our industry-leading cloud technologies, the Cloud Solution Provider program is the realization of our vision for supporting partners in serving SMBs and small corporate customers. In order to facilitate the adoption of new cloud-based sales motions, it will be important for you to remain informed about upcoming deadlines and available resources. By moving your business to the Cloud Solution Provider program, you will position your organization to provide maximum value to customers.  

The last day to transact any Open License program offers will be December 31, 2021, and partners must use the Cloud Solution Provider program to transact perpetual software offers beginning on January 1, 2022. No new software license purchases or renewals of Software Assurance or online services can be made through the Open License program in 2022, and new license-only purchases will be made through the Cloud Solution Provider program. This transition has been in motion since January 2021, when we made commercial perpetual software offers available in the Cloud Solution Provider program to offer a more flexible and simplified purchasing experience. Microsoft is no longer publishing new offerings in the Open License program in preparation for a full shift to the Cloud Solution Program.  

We have a suite of customizable materials available to help indirect providers accelerate reseller onboarding and adoption of perpetual software, as well as licensing guidance for all transition scenarios. We’re also hosting upcoming webinars in September that will provide additional information and support: 

The pace of digital transformation will only increase over time, and we will continue to evolve the way we engage with the Microsoft partner ecosystem in response. By transitioning to the Cloud Solution Provider program, you can position your organization to provide what customers need, both now and in the future—and we’ll be with you every step of the way. As we move through the next few months, I encourage you to explore the resources we’ve provided, and to keep your eye on this blog for new updates. As always, thank you for your continued partnership.