Channel partner programs, CSPs

Microsoft Advisors: Office 365 Cloud Revenue Deadline Approaches

Microsoft Channel Chief Gavriella Schuster
Gavriella Schuster

A Microsoft Advisor deadline is fast approaching, and some resellers better move fast if they want to continue earning sales commissions for Office 365 and other Microsoft cloud services.

Indeed, the Microsoft Advisor program will no longer pay sales commissions to resellers, effective October 1, 2016. Microsoft politely warned resellers about this during Worldwide Partner Conference 2016 (WPC) in July. Under terms of the Advisor program, resellers would referred their customers direct to Microsoft for cloud solutions. Microsoft, in turn, would manage the invoicing, and pay the partner a commission.

But that Microsoft Advisor commission structure is set to end. The Microsoft Cloud Solutions Provider program could be a natural path forward for Microsoft Advisor resellers. Microsoft Channel Chief Gavriella Schuster described the CSP partner program benefits and momentum in a June 2016 podcast with ChannelE2E and CompTIA.

Cloud Partner Advice From Ingram Micro

Jason Bystrak

Ingram Micro, meanwhile, also has been preparing partners for the transition. "We have been all over it, giving partners two choices to convert from the Microsoft Advisor program," says Jason Bystrak, executive director, The Americas, Ingram Micro Cloud.

  • The first is to leverage the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program where they take over invoicing, and can bundle additional cloud and managed services, he says.
  • The second is to utilize the Cloud Referral Program where Ingram Micro provides the end client support and invoicing, and pays the partner commission. The commission is actually larger than what Microsoft had been paying, and Ingram doubled it for partners that act by September 30.

Ingram built technology into the company's Cloud Marketplace to convert resellers to either program with a few mouse clicks.

Office 365 Advisors Shouldn't Be Surprised

Microsoft, Ingram and other members of the Office 365 cloud ecosystem have been telling resellers to move from the Advisor program to the alternative cloud partner options for roughly a year.

SherWeb, for one, shared six reasons why partners should shift from Advisor to the CSP program back in 2015. Plenty of partners embraced that type of advise. But sources say there's a considerable book of business in the market across a large Microsoft Advisor partner base, and Advisor was sizable over the years it was in place.

How many partners still need to make move? We're eager to hear the number if anybody would like to leak it to us.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.