In order to offer better service and customer experience Microsoft frequently introduces new policies and updates that impact the CSP program and its offerings. A successful CSP business should keep abreast with the changes and updates being introduced by Microsoft. Having the knowledge of the changes, its impacts and what next steps to take is crucial to provide exemplary customer service and maximize profits. As an automation platform striving to create meaningful impact for our CSP partners, we are always on top of the latest Microsoft updates, which is reflected in our platform offerings.
What’s next in Microsoft CSP?
There are many changes that are being introduced by Microsoft in the coming few weeks that are likely to impact the CSPs and their customers. Here is a quick glimpse of some of those top announcements:
Introducing the new Azure experience through the Microsoft Customer Agreement (MCA)
Starting January, 2022, customers currently under the Azure-only SCE enrollment will be given the opportunity to experience better services under the new Azure experience. The improved experience would include better cost management tools, and a single portal to manage billing, invoicing and other administrative tasks.
This can translate into a sales opportunity for CSPs where they can provide additional services and provide subscription management assistance to the customers.
In case a customer opts to continue purchasing Azure at pay-as-you-go prices after the expiration of the Azure-only SCE enrollment they would not have access to any special pricing or terms that was earlier there as a part of their Enterprise Agreement (EA) enrollment. Customers who are enrolled in the extended term for a period of over 12 months will be automatically moved to the new Azure experience. These customers can be migrated to the new Azure by using automated tools so that there is no stoppage or services for them.
Extension of migration period and promotional pricing in new commerce experience
The new commerce experience being rolled out by Microsoft will lead to reduction in the licensing costs and complexities as well as offer better sales capabilities and improved revenue predictability.
Earlier the deadline to move all the subscriptions to the new commerce experience was March 10, 2022 which has been extended to June 30, 2022 giving the CSPs more time for customer transitions. The partners can easily migrate the existing subscriptions to new commerce experience using the tools available at Partner Centre as well as via API. Though ongoing subscriptions can be renewed on the existing platform upto June 30, 2022, any new order will have to be placed in the new commerce experience after March 10, 2022.
Microsoft is offering promotional discounts to motivate customers and partners to migrate to the new commerce experience. The promotions are being offered for both annual as well as monthly terms and will begin from January 2022:
- For the annual term a discount of 5% on the CSP price list will be offered through March 2022. More seats can be added any time to the subscription at the promotional price during the annual subscription term even after March 2022.
- For the monthly term the pricing will be equal to the regular annual term pricing. Monthly term pricing is usually 20% higher than annual term. This will be offered through June 2022.
All the subscriptions renewed after the promo period will be done at the price in effect at the time of renewal. The promo prices will be available for all new commerce offers except Microsoft 365.
Teams Phone with a Calling Plan being launched
Teams Phone with a Calling Plan will be available for purchase from January 01, 2022, and will replace Business Voice. The Teams Phone SMB (Microsoft 365 Business Voice) and the Enterprise (Teams Calling Essentials) bundle are being integrated into this new launch. The existing Business Voice customers can use Business Voice till the expiry of their subscription post which they can purchase the Teams Phone with a Calling Plan. The business voice subscriptions can be renewed till June 30, 2022.
This will allow users to make, receive and transfer calls from mobile phones and landlines in Microsoft teams. This calling plan will be available in 33 markets including the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. The domestic calling plan will include 3000 minutes of calling for the United States and Canada and 1200 for the other markets. An international calling plan and add on minutes can be purchased separately through a prepaid wallet.
The Audio-Conferencing facility will no longer be an add on feature. It will be offered as a part of all Teams-inclusive Microsoft 365 and Office 365 SKUs post March 1, 2022.
Granular Delegated Admin Privileges (GDAP)- reduced security risk for customers
The current Delegated Access Permission (DAP) model exposes your customers to security risks as the access allowed is too far-reaching. Customers have high security requirements, and these all-encompassing permissions might make new customers think twice before moving to CSP licensing.
To reduce the security risk for customers, Microsoft is soon introducing a fine-grained delegated access model. This not only exposes your customers to lesser risks but also allows you to control the access level you give to your employees who manage your customer services inline with their job roles.
All Microsoft 365 services which support DAP will support GDAP and for new Microsoft 365 workloads only GDAP will be supported. The Granular Delegated Admin Privileges (GDAP) Pilot is available. To join, click here. Following is a quick guide to navigate your way through the same:
- Create a GDAP invite and send the URL to your customers for approval. Choose from the GDAP supported Azure AD roles and select the GDAP relationship period, between 1-730 days, post which the partner access will automatically expire.
- Keep a track of the expiration dates of the GDAP relationships with different customers using GDAP reporting analytics available in the Partner Center. Subscribe to e-mail notifications to ensure that the GDAP relationship is renewed in time for continued access to the customer’s tenant.
- You will get access only after the approval from the global admin of the customer. Track the invitations which are pending for approval by the customers with the GDAP reporting analytics/
- Restrict employee access by creating security groups based on the job role of the employee and the requirements of the business and provide access upon customer approval.
- Both partner and the customer have the authority to terminate the access and track the user activity in the customer’s tenant.
Stay on top of Microsoft Updates with C3
As a CSP, staying on top of Microsoft updates is critical for business outcomes and customer experience. Keep track of the notifications published routinely on Microsoft Partner Center to stay up to date. Alternatively, check out the latest resources by C3 to be on top of everything you need to know. Furthermore, partner with C3 to learn the best practices and paths to leverage the latest Microsoft updates and embark on a journey of exponential growth.