Update November 10, 2020:
Microsoft announced that based on partner feedback they are extending the exception on the CSP Direct revenue requirements (you know, the $ 300,000 CSP revenue) for Service Providers in the QMTH program. There are two criteria you must meet:
- You as a Microsoft partner are a Service Provider License Agreement partner and you enrolled in the Qualified Multitenant Hosting Addendum program on or before November 2, 2020 (previously was August 31, 2018), AND;
- Your CSP revenue in the past 12 months before your Advanced Support renewal data is less than $ 300,000.
When we read this information correctly, this means that every Microsoft partner who was entitled to the QMTH program on or before November 2, 2020 will remain entitled, even when they loose their Microsoft Direct CSP status. Partners who feel that they are entitled should reach out to their Microsoft representative.
All ‘new to come’ CSP partners must meet all the new criteria, which means start indirect and when you grow your business and reach the $ 300,000 a year mark, you may and can apply for the CSP direct program (which is still needed to get the QMTH status as a Service Provider).
Important information for Microsoft CSP partners. The Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider program helps both customers and partners built a new commerce experience whilst transferring their businesses to the cloud. To be able to become a CSP partner, one must meet certain requirements. Now Microsoft has tightened reins.
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2 different tiers
There are two different tiers within the CSP program. Smaller Microsoft partners, mostly serving SMBs with cloud business as a secondary focus can enter the CSP program as an indirect reseller. This means that they will team with a CSP reseller, mostly a IT distributor. The CSP reseller will invoice the CSP indirect reseller and can help them with billing, support and other services.
The bigger IT partners with a strong cloud focus and more or larger customers can sign up as a CSP direct reseller. This means they have 24/7 customer support and monthly billing organized. Secondly, they receive a monthly bill direct from Microsoft for cloud services their customers consume.
With the introduction of the CSP program a couple of years ago, Microsoft wanted as much partners in the direct model (tier-1) as they could get. Microsoft thought that every partner would turn into a cloud-only partner, because that was were the world was heading.
A large portion of the current direct bill CSP partners actually don’t transact that much and are not capable of offering 24/7 support to their customers – as an example. Customers are complaining and Microsoft makes changes. In other words, Microsoft tighten reins.
Starting immediately, Microsoft partners who want to sing up as a direct CSP reseller (i.e. direct bill partner) must meet at least USD 300,000 in Cloud Solution Provide program revenue during the twelve months prior to their request. This means that partner now ‘have’ to start as an indirect partner and grow towards direct partnership as their business grows.
Current direct CSP partners will have to meet the new threshold at their required support contract renewal date, starting January 1. 2021.
To meet strict support requirements, direct partners will have to buy a (at least) USD 15,000 support contract at Microsoft. But with that, they are assured of direct support for their customers from the people who build the customer’s cloud.
Managed Service Providers must be extra aware. Because when you are offering shared activated software (like Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise / Office 365 ProPlus) to your customers, on shared activated hardware, you must be a Qualified Multitenant Hosting partner (QMTH). To become one, you will have to sign the QMTH addendum to your SPLA Agreement, but you also must be a CSP direct partner. If you are such a CSP partner, but you will not meet the new requirements, you can no longer be a direct CSP partner, you no longer qualify for QMTH and with that you no longer can offer Office 365 or Windows 10 to your customers from your datacenter.
Help is here
Might you need more information or when you want help with your Microsoft partnership, please consult one of our Microsoft partner specialists.