Thinking of changing Microsoft Providers? Here is what you should know
In the old days, service providers used to get away with supplying licences and nothing more. The industry is starting to move away from that model to one where service providers are adding value to the licences. Customers themselves have become more discerning about the level of service they get with licences, which has become a primary reason for switching providers. The service provider needs to provide value and not just collect licence money. If your service provider is not adding value to the licences you are consuming, and are not matching your expectations, it might be time to switch.
Why would you change Microsoft service providers or move your licence?
Up to now, all organisations had an enterprise agreement with Microsoft, which is a fixed one-year contract. Microsoft now wants to encourage more customers to change from an enterprise agreement (EA) to a CSP (cloud solutions provider). An enterprise agreement comes with fixed terms most notably that you have to buy a licence for a maximum for all users per year. Considering that organisations are in constant flux this can be either expensive with companies paying for what they don’t use, or restrictive because companies don’t have the capacity to expand. Over the years, Microsoft has realised that many licences were not being fully utilised by the holders due to these fixed term agreements.
A much more flexible way to do business is with a CSP which is ,a pay-as-you-use contract. Moving to CSP allows organisations to run on a flexible plan so they can adapt to any changes. From a finance perspective, it’s a move from a capex to an opex model, i.e you only spend the money you need to spend, when you need to spend it. The reason for the change is to become focused on usage, so clients don’t pay for what they don’t need or use.
Who helps you switch Microsoft service providers?
The tenant (where the organisation’s licence is housed) always belongs to the customer, and the CSP is there to help you manage your licence. Your tenant belongs to you the customer so it’s very easy to move to a better service provider that add value to your organization. Keep in mind that the agreement is between you and Microsoft, not you and the service provider.
The customer owns the tenant which is managed by the CSP. The CSP is accredited by the Microsoft distributor. South Africa currently has three distributors. The CSP would be to whom you would change in this scenario i.e from Enterprise to CSP. Nashua Communications is a CSP supplier. We provide the licence and add value by helping you consume and adopt the licence strategically.
Customers can also choose to manage their CSP through a portal. Nashua Communications is able to train customers on how to use the portal. It can be managed by the customer and they can see the usage data and other reports online. If you buy from a CSP like, Nashua Communications we will give you the intellectual property on how to use the self-provision and self-licencing portal.
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What are the steps involved when moving from one Microsoft service provider to the next?
Microsoft has made this a very simple process. Since you own the tenant, you complete a form giving the new CSP the rights to manage your tenant and then Microsoft changes the supplier on your behalf. Changing your Microsoft cloud service provider is this easy;
- Client gives Nashua Communications permission to engage on a transfer.
- Nashua Communications sets up an application with Microsoft.
- Microsoft informs existing CSP supplier that the tenant is moving.
- And that’s it!
Nashua Communications is on your side. Even if you are not sure what you need, the dedicated team can help you determine which solution would suit you best.
How long does switching service providers take?
It takes 24 hours at most. Microsoft has seen that people aren’t using what they’re buying, so they are urging suppliers to add value and not just provide and run away. It is about giving the customer more power, so that the licences can be managed to their benefit.
When it comes to switching Microsoft service providers, what is unique about the Nashua Communications experience?
Nashua Communications focuses on serving the organisation, not just supplying licences. Our goal is to add value. The licence is a means to an end and our objective is to help the client to consume the licences in the right manner. When we take a customer on, we do our due diligence to understand the customer’s business, goals and requirements.
We have a whole procedure that gives us access to the customer’s information to gain an understanding of their situation. By understanding the customer’s environment we can make informed decisions and understand what value we can bring. Nashua Communications maps the product to the organisation, not the other way around. We don’t try to change the organisation to make it work with Microsoft. In the right hands, Microsoft is flexible enough to work with any organisation.
What accreditation does Nashua Communications have?
Being a CSP can’t be achieved by just anyone. You must have accreditations with Microsoft. It takes training, expertise, capital and finally an onboarding process with the distributor. Nashua Communications is gold certified with Microsoft and has completed the CSP training and can manage and maintain your licence.
Microsoft's stringent rules are to prevent the ‘fly - by - nights’ that merely sell licences. Because Microsoft wants to ensure that CSPs are capable and able to follow set procedures, their accreditation is consistently reviewed. CSPs must follow stipulated processes or risk losing their accreditation. For example, one of the duties of a CSP is to pass licence payments to Microsoft. The software and applications are all on the cloud so access is fully automated. A CSP that does not pass payment to Microsoft endangers the whole system, especially the customer who will find themselves locked out.
Does Nashua Communications provide the entire range of Microsoft services?
Yes, we do, check our website.
Does Nashua Communications offer a service level agreement (SLA)?
Support is something that you only value when you actually need it. Don’t make that mistake. Be intentional when looking for excellent technical support. One of the key questions you should ask is whether the provider has support in-house or is it outsourced. Use that as a yardstick to determine the level of technical expertise you will have access to, along with whether or not there is 24/7 support.
When it comes to support, it is important to understand that there is a big difference between a CSP and a service level agreement (SLA). CSP is a licence agreement that gives the customer the right to software and upgrades as stated in the CSP agreement, but it doesn’t give the customer on the ground South African support.
With Nashua Communications’ SLA, customers can get feet on the ground, along with a 24/7 contact centre for support. This Is just one of the value add-ons for our clients. In general, Nashua Communications has four types of SLAs, but can customise the agreement for customers based on their unique needs.
What are the redundancy or disaster assurances?
Downtime can not only cost your business a lot of money, but as the tech head, everybody will be screaming down your ear until the issue is fixed. So, it’s important to get assurances about uptime, but also know what the contingency plans are during down times.
Since Nashua Communications manages the customer’s licence, we get called as soon as something goes wrong. It’s a machine in real time, so when there is an emergency Nashua Communications will be aware of it in real time.
The big takeaway from this article is that the customer is prioritised with this change by Microsoft, which Nashua Communications believes is a positive shift.
CSPs are relatively new, and you will find many new players in the field. As with most things, you should partner with a tried and tested service provider. Nashua Communications has been around the block and back and has faced many forms of Telecommunications hardware and software over the years. They are the people you want to talk to no matter how advanced or vintage your system is.
Looking for a trusted service provider? Let us help you use your Microsoft licence to its full potential.