Our guest contributor today is David Smith, VP, Channel Sales, Global Partner Solutions.

As cloud and AI technologies continue to open new opportunities for partners, they are also reshaping the customer relationship. Partners who are authorized to sell as Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) partners in the Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program can unlock growth by positioning themselves as trusted advisors to their customers. 

The licensing discussion is merely your foot in the door to provide the services and solutions that will solve customers’ critical problems. As a CSP partner, you own this entire relationship – from pre-sales through post-sales deployment, management, and support. Customers, especially in the small and medium-sized range (SMBs), are eager to start building relationships with partners who can be their trusted advisors. Creating a broader understanding of the value you offer will make new inroads for collaboration and foster new prospects for business growth. 

In this blog, we will look at three examples of CSP partners who have turned years of experience into trustworthy advice, realizing greater value and opportunity for their customers and businesses: 

Crayon: providing reliable guidance through a business model shift  

Crayon is a global direct and indirect CSP partner based in Norway. It has built trust with its customers by delivering transformative value-added services built on Cloud IQ, its CSP platform created to help customers manage their cloud environments. Crayon’s customer relationships go beyond the initial licensing phase to capture the full opportunity of the Microsoft Cloud. 

Last year, Crayon worked with fellow Microsoft partner Cegid to power Cegid’s transition from a direct bill CSP partner to an indirect reseller. Drawing on their expertise, the Crayon team proposed a personalized solution for Cegid that would allow it to continue to deliver applications on Azure as an ISV partner and maintain its key Microsoft relationships and access to offerings. By simply shifting the management of their CSP business to Crayon, the Cegid team could focus on their top priority: providing best-in-class business solutions for their customers. Check out the full story to learn how Crayon arrived at this strategy, and how it leveraged trust to successfully deliver it. 

Bytes: co-creating a new Azure environment 

Bytes is a UK-based CSP partner that has helped hundreds of companies adapt and thrive in the changing technology landscape. Not only does it have a robust licensing practice, but it has also expanded to a full-service approach that packages their own services alongside Microsoft Cloud services and manages the entire customer engagement cycle. 

Ocean Technologies Group (OTG), an international leader in maritime technology, turned to Bytes to streamline multiple IT systems into a more unified solution. Following discovery workshops to learn about OTG’s unique situation, Bytes ultimately recommended building a brand-new environment from the ground up. As the project proceeded, Bytes worked with OTG to make sure its staff developed the necessary knowledge and skills to operate and manage their new IT environment — establishing enough internal capacity for OTG to complete the last parts of the migration on its own. Find out more about this iterative, flexible collaboration with the full case study.  

IFI Techsolutions: unifying data in support of business functions 

Based in India, IFI Techsolutions is a CSP partner with a deep understanding of cloud technology and the Microsoft ecosystem. Focusing solely on purpose-built Microsoft solutions, it works to help customers understand how modern cloud solutions can enact change and bring more efficiency. 

For a food and beverage customer with approximately 1500 employees and 100 stores, IFI Techsolutions led the development of a solution that would unite siloed data and bring together software from across locations. It worked closely with the customer to architect a digital transformation that wouldn’t disrupt day-to-day operations and identified two fellow Microsoft partners to provide supplemental expertise. This collaborative effort resulted in a large-scale Microsoft 365 solution that was implemented at a pace that supported the customer’s everyday business. Discover how the resulting solution ultimately boosted productivity, security, and customer satisfaction.  

Being authorized to transact as a CSP partner means more than just completing the transaction. It’s about owning the end-to-end relationship with the customer and ensuring that their team makes good use of the SKUs that you sell. CSP partners who are ready to take their customer relationships to the next level can refer to the CSP guidebook available on the Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program website to access resources and support for developing your marketing plans. From pre-sales support and consulting to licensing to post-sales enablement, services, solutions, and support, this is your opportunity to build customers for life as a trusted advisor. 


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