Channel Watch

Microsoft's CSP Program Isn't Just for Office 365 Anymore

With services like Azure, Dynamics 365 and Windows 10 also propelling growth, partners can expect Microsoft to keep expanding the program's scope to even more products.

Almost as soon as Microsoft fully launched the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) model, which allows partners to directly manage their entire Microsoft Cloud customer lifecycle, it began adding products other than Office 365 to the mix. The primary driver of CSP-related revenues, however, has been Office 365 sales.

"Office 365 is obviously a majority piece of the business. It's in excess of 80 percent. That's come down from 100 percent in the last year or so," said William Lewallen, senior manager of national (U.S.) cloud partner sales at Microsoft.

Lewallen made the comments in a recent episode of "The Ultimate Guide to Partnering," a new podcast by former longtime Microsoft channel executive Vince Menzione. If you haven't listened yet, check it out at Menzione is attracting managers of key Microsoft programs to his podcast, and they're providing important metrics and program roadmap information.

The percentage growth of everything else that Lewallen described is coming as the pie grows rapidly bigger within CSP, which is becoming Microsoft's favored method for selling cloud services. "Over the last 18 months, the [CSP] business has grown over 30 percent each month. We're talking about a business that's many orders of magnitude larger today than it was 18 months ago," Lewallen said.

He didn't spell out which of the other services are growing fastest among the non-Office 365 contingent. Candidates include Azure, Enterprise Mobility + Security, Dynamics 365 and Windows 10 Enterprise Edition. Describing the variety in that whole basket of services, Lewallen quipped, "You can license virtually the desktop to the datacenter under CSP."

The 6,000 U.S. CSPs should expect an even broader range of Microsoft services to be offered through CSP next year, Lewallen said when Menzione asked him about CSP plans for Microsoft's Fiscal Year 2018, which starts July 1, and beyond.

First up is government: "We're on the edge of rolling out those government cloud services through CSP," Lewallen said. Look for Azure to come first, with Office 365 and Dynamics 365 arriving a little later.

Further out, it won't just be the CSP's indirect providers, like Ingram Micro, Tech Data, SherWeb and about nine others in the United States, who offer non-Microsoft services for their partners to resell alongside the Microsoft services. "In time, people who go through our direct program will be able to go into our Partner Center," Lewallen explained, "and eventually you'll be able to actually order third-party applications through that experience, as well."

How broadly are you using the CSP model, and what would you like to see added to it? Let me know at [email protected].

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About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.