Tuesday 3 February 2015

Office365 Cloud Solution Provider Program Part 2: Portal Review

So what does the Partner portal look like for a Cloud Solution Provider Reseller? Well the answer is not a lot different. I've flagged two test tenants, one setup under the old method and marked as 'Advisor' and a new tenant under the CSP:

You can see the partner portal clearly defines which program you have your tenant under. The three differences between them that are visible in the portal, other than the relationship confirmation are:

For Advisor the subscription data is unavailable:

For Cloud Solution Provider, we can directly edit the customer, perform actions to manage their services and the subscription data works correctly:

Once you move over to the CSP program by default new customers are created under the Cloud Solution Provider relationship. Setting up a new client manually is the same experience:

Select the initial plan and seats

Then review and complete

As the CSP is meant for provisioning large numbers of seats fast, and easily, I can't foresee providers manually setting up customers. From Microsofts very own Office Blog here we can see the following statement, "Partners in this program will be able to directly provision customer subscriptions and provide one monthly bill for both Partner and Microsoft services".

So what does this mean? Taking it on face value it suggests that there will be a direct way to provisioning both customer subscriptions and allow the Cloud Reseller to provide one bill to their customer. To me, this means that automation will be necessary, most likely through an API.

This is an interesting story, there are already APIs that we can take advantage of to manage services in Office 365. We can see there is already a REST API which is documented for developers on MSDN here, and an Azure specific REST API, Azure AD Graph.

It will be interesting to see what Microsoft will do, if anything, to provide the tools and capabilities to allow Cloud Resellers to achieve their vision of 'direct provisioning' and 'unified billing'.

Once more information is made available I will share, and attempt to show such 'direct provisioning' and 'unified billing' capabilities.

Until next time, take care.

Oliver Moazzezi - MVP Exchange Server