The New Azure Experience: why automating your processes as a CSP is more important than ever
03/03/2020 | Blog
What is Microsoft’s New Azure Experience?
Toward the end of 2019, Microsoft announced a new commerce experience for Azure in CSP – with more announcements due in the coming months. The new capabilities expand opportunities for partners to deliver managed services to customers, build influence with them, and help drive their digital transformations. Some of Microsoft’s key changes include:
- Harmonizing the Azure offering through a single catalog and US-Dollar-only pricing
- Creating dedicated tools to help customers transition to New Azure
- Enabling billed CSP partners to shift their focus from resell margins toward credits which are earned by providing automatically tracked, value-added technical services (like provisioning, configuring, patching, and backing up) to customers.
- Providing new cost management tools and advanced analytics that allow users to monitor and optimize cloud costs and usage patterns for Azure, Reserved Instances, and Azure Hybrid Benefit.
- Enabling Azure Lighthouse CSP partners with new automation and management capabilities that allow them to offer Azure at scale and cross manage customers.
New customer and partner agreements
The Microsoft Customer Agreement (MCA) replaces the old Microsoft Cloud Agreement. Distributors and Service Providers who implement the new agreement in the interworks.cloud platform will be able to check that customers have accepted the MCA before Microsoft products are ordered or modified through their Marketplace or BSS interfaces.
In addition, Microsoft introduced a new, modular Microsoft Partner Agreement (MPA), with modified terms and conditions, based on partner type and the offers partners are qualified to sell. It will be rolled out first in the CSP program. This primarily means all CSP Indirect Resellers will need to accept the MPA on the Partner Center. The interworks.cloud platform, will then check if the resellers have accepted the Partner Agreement on all new purchases and modifications of Microsoft services.
New Azure means changes to CSPs’ billing frameworks…
A key change is that Microsoft prices New Azure in US Dollars only and invoices its partners in their end customer’s local currencies, based on pre-published, monthly exchange rates. That means you’ll receive a separate, exchange-rate-based invoice in each of the currencies used by your international customers. In addition, in the new plan, partners will be able to provision multiple Azure Subscriptions (the containers for Azure Resources) under a single Azure Plan without having to submit separate purchase orders. Likewise, partners will no longer be billed per Azure subscription but per Azure Plan. Resource usage across the subscriptions is aggregated at Azure Plan level, helping the specific resources that support tier pricing.
…that will make billing even more complex
Billing challenges for Microsoft CSPs are nothing new. Some providers still invoice “manually” using Microsoft’s invoicing systems, third parties, or emails – something they usually find time consuming and inefficient. It’s almost impossible to keep track of things without a tool capable of analyzing Microsoft’s invoices and automatically generating the right downstream billing to your customers –based on your price lists and VAT rates. What’s more, if your customers don’t have the right tool to automate their billing either, it’s hard to reconcile what Microsoft charges you and what you should charge them. The transition to New Azure really underlines these challenges… now, to add to the complexity, there’s a need to convert in and out of US Dollars and manage legacy subscriptions that have migrated to New Azure Plans.
Why there’s never been a better time to get the benefits of the interworks.cloud platform
Helping you automate your billing has always been core to the interworks.cloud platform, especially when it comes to Azure. Our platform’s powerful combination of in-depth analysis of all subscriptions, resources, and cost management, as well as budget alert features will help your customers avoid using resources that might cause them to overspend.
But, in the New Azure world, it’s the platform’s billing and provisioning features that really come into their own. When new customers purchase a plan, they can use our embedded pricing calculator to accurately estimate usage charges as well as getting up and running quickly by using the platform’s automated provisioning and service delivery features. What’s more, transitioning to the new Azure Plan will be tracked automatically by our system. Then, when it comes to reconciliation, the platform’s powerful reporting engine, can be used to easily reconcile Microsoft’s charges to you. In short, there’s never been a better time to get the benefits of the interworks.cloud platform.
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