IT technology distributor Tech Data Canada has joined the list of distributors participating in the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program, allowing its reseller network to directly provision cloud services.
Among key benefits are the new ability to provide monthly as opposed to yearly subscriptions to services like Office 365, and consolidated billing, and is now being made available in Canada, according to Manal Guirguis, director of product management at Tech Data’s Canada division. This follows an October announcement from the company’s American division and falls in line with a similar move this month by IT distributor Synnex.
“CSP program with Microsoft gives us the ability to provide cloud services through the channel,” she said. “Resellers are able to provide support and able to manage the cloud environment for the end-user account and provide a much deeper end-user experience.”
Under previous agreements, end users had to go to Microsoft’s own portal to obtain monthly subscriptions to cloud services. Tech Data and resellers have also not been able to provision software to clients or offer direct support or training. According to Guirguis, Microsoft is now engaging the channel to monetize its cloud offerings, which makes sense, especially for smaller businesses who will no longer need to under or over-commit.
“It’s in demand,” she said. “Once you get into Software-as a Service (SaaS), you want to offer flexibility to the end client through monthly billing, being able to scale up or down based on requirement, being able to add users as required.”
While Tech Data will start with Office 365, it has plans to include more services including Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Azure. It also has partnerships with other cloud providers that resellers will be able to offer and bring under its consolidated invoicing function.
For now, the company is concentrating on bringing on board partners that already offer their own technical support and plans to help others develop this capacity in the next few months.
“We live in a paradigm shift today, where every installation and every solution needs to be done quickly and correctly, said Guirguis. “It’s another ability to offer cloud into the marketplace.”