There’s an unavoidable acronym that can be heard up and down the Westcoast office every day. CSP is making huge noise in the channel right now, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be dying down.
I’ve heard ‘CSP’ said so much, that the actual meaning of the letters has been lost in the buzz of what’s usually associated with the phrase: monthly billing; wrap-around services; 24/7 support. So let’s take a step back. As a relative newcomer to the channel, I decided to investigate the perceived wonder that is CSP.
Cloud Solutions Provider: that’s what the acronym stands for. But what does it actually mean? The simple way of putting it is by saying that the Cloud Solutions Provider program is a new Microsoft billing model – an alternative to OPEN or Advisor. Someone who is a Cloud Solutions Provider can provide this service for their customer: so, as a Tier 2 Cloud Solutions Provider, Westcoast provide monthly billing on Microsoft Products and Services for Resellers, which Resellers can pass onto their end customers. Phew… Keeping up?
If only it was that simple. Though I’ve just covered the basic idea of CSP, the reality is that there’s so much more to it than that. The ability to add on services to the program makes it a huge draw, on top of the monthly billing, but apparently it doesn’t stop there.
From talking to other people in the office, it’s still apparent that there’s no way I could explain all the ins and outs of it on my own. It was slightly to my shame that I scurried to Westcoast’s Cloud Team to help me on my way to understanding all of the ins and outs of CSP: it’s such a vast subject that I thought it was better to learn about it properly rather than quickly.
First things first, it has to be said that the guys know their stuff. Mark Knight handles the ‘behind the scenes’ side of things as the Cloud Services and Support Manager, and Georgina Block is the Cloud Sales Manager – so if you’ve talked to Westcoast about CSP, then you’ve definitely spoken to Georgie. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to get hold of Georgie recently (you might have seen her at one of Microsoft’s Cloud Roadshows), but Mark was more than happy to help me through his part of the CSP machine.
One major thing that I learnt from Mark was that we already have a thriving CSP ‘Knowledge Base’ for resellers. I was told that the ultimate aim was that it’s going to hold every article you could ever want on the CSP process. I’m looking forward to taking a close look at the Knowledge Base at some point in the future.
Another thing that was clear was that CSP isn’t going away: it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. It’s for that reason that we’re recruiting to expand our Cloud Team for the second time this year, and we seem to be always getting more vendors to offer their services. Even from my internal perspective it’s tough to keep up.
From my first proper dip into the subject, I can already tell that Westcoast are planning big things around CSP. I’ll be keeping a close eye on the service to see how big an impact it has on the way that Microsoft products and services are billed in the future. I’m looking forward to sharing more of my discoveries.
What do you think of CSP as a model? Are there any questions you want asking? Can Mark or someone else from the Cloud Team help you? Get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.