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Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider program gains business model options

Microsoft fleshes out details of its Cloud Solution Provider program, adding two tiers that partners can choose from, one that requires they provide 24-7 support and one that is supported by distributors.

Announced at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in July, the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider program, designed to position partners as the one go-to company for their customers' cloud business, on Wednesday was updated to include two business model options for partner participation.

The 1-Tier model allows partners to sell Microsoft cloud services directly to their customers. The 2-Tier model is for partners who sell Microsoft cloud services through distribution partners, according to the vendor.

In a blog post, Gavriella Schuster, general manager with the Worldwide Partner Group at Microsoft, noted that 1-Tier partners tend to have broad market reach, a 24-7 technical relationship with their customers and ownership of the billing relationship. In the 1-Tier model, partners work directly with Microsoft and can package and resell cloud services, and retain full control of billing. The 2-Tier partners, meanwhile, typically work through distribution partners to sell Microsoft cloud services and receive support from the distributor. However, 2-Tier partners can also package and resell cloud services, and have full control of the billing.

Microsoft expects the bulk of its Cloud Solution Provider program partners to align with the 2-Tier model.

On-boarding for the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider program is underway. The program is in the process of being rolled out to select partners in 48 countries over the next year.

Initial cloud offerings within the Cloud Solution Provider program include Office 365 and Windows Intune with additional cloud services, including Microsoft Azure, Dynamics CRM Online and others, to be available over time.

According to Schuster, partner portal pages that address the 1-Tier model will be upgraded in mid-October, at which time partners will find additional information. However, partners that are interested in the 1-Tier model are advised to contact their local partner engagement manager to learn more about how to participate. Partners interested in the 2-Tier model will have to wait until later in the year for more information on the program update.

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