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June 30 marked the end of the 2018 fiscal year for Microsoft, and as with any fiscal year end, we were expecting a lot of activity in the Microsoft ecosystem. But nobody was expecting this much action. Without a doubt, the biggest event was the CSP program changes announcement. In case you’re out of the loop, here’s a quick recap of what happened.

Last July (2019), Microsoft announced a series of upcoming CSP program changes:

  • Removal of the Internal Use Rights for partners.
  • Removal of on-premises support.
  • Changes to core benefits.
  • Changes to competency requirements.

The partner channel was very quick to react to this announcement—let’s just say partners weren’t too pleased. They felt let down, as though Microsoft no longer cares about them. Some partners even started a petition protesting these changes.

The timing could not have been worse since this happened only a few days before Microsoft Inspire. Some partners joked that they would bring pitchforks to Microsoft’s annual conference.

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A Quick Remediation

We have to give credit to Microsoft here: They were extremely quick and responsive to the deluge of feedback from their partners. On Friday, July 12th, only a few days after the announcement, Microsoft retracted the proposed CSP program changes:

“Given your feedback, we have made the decision to roll back all planned changes related to internal use rights and competency timelines that were announced earlier this month. We listened to you, and we have acted.”

In her Inspire Corenote, Gavriella Schuster, CVP of One Commercial Partner, didn’t shy away from the topic as she candidly addressed the audience on this matter:

“Our culture is based on listening, learning and a growth mindset and those are not just words on a page…  We clearly underestimated the value of those benefits and the impact it would have on you… We value the relationship and the trust we built with you …And when I heard your response…  In my mind, there was really no choice for us to walk back on that change”


A Satisfied Channel

The channel was for the most part satisfied with Microsoft’s response. Sure, there were still cynical partners who claimed that these changes have simply been delayed another year and that Microsoft would jump on the next opportunity to take advantage of the partner base. However, it’s worth noting that these people are a minority, as most partners were relieved following the rollback.

“I’m glad there was a sensible outcome.”

What’s even more interesting is the strong sense of pride that’s tangible in the partner community following the announcement.

“Partner Power”

“We did it Reddit!”

Indeed, many partners rejoiced in the fact that they could unite forces and compel Microsoft to change its stance on this issue.

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What’s Next?

During Inspire, Microsoft shared its vision for the partner channel’s future. The key takeaway is that partners should evolve past the stage of simple license resellers in order to maximize their growth and profits. According to Microsoft, partners should use the Microsoft stack as a toolbox that will allow them to build a comprehensive set of solutions and services.

Here are some examples of what partners could do:

  • Build third-party apps that integrate with Microsoft products.
  • Build a service offering around security and collaboration.
  • Offer strategic consulting to clients.

All of this boils down to one key idea: Partners should help their clients achieve true digital transformation.

This aligns perfectly well with Sherweb’s vision. Our goal is to assist you with your growth no matter what it takes. We understand that this process involves much more than just our products—it’s about partners building complete managed services offerings and successfully bringing those to market.

Whenever the going gets tough, we’re here to help you get tougher and easily navigate the complex Microsoft ecosystem. Our team will always be there to help you improve your offering and advise you on the different options or next step available to you.

Contact us today to learn more about what Sherweb has to offer.

Written by The Sherweb Team Collaborators @ Sherweb

As a value-added cloud solutions provider, Sherweb is dedicated to providing more for its partners, direct customers and extended network. The Sherweb Blog is just one example of how we make this happen, and our team members frequently collaborate on content to ensure it's as beneficial as possible for our readers. If you like what you see here, we strongly encourage you to subscribe!