Microsoft 365 Business opens the door for Partners to expand their services revenue. Several of these services a Partner will already offer, often supported by other 3rd party tools. Some will be net new. The guidance below relates to those commonly “attached” when selling Microsoft 365 Business.
The first work a Partner typically engages in is setup of the Microsoft 365 Business environment, and the customer migration to it. This is foundational, and indeed every Partner will do this today.
Leading Partners, however, do not
stop there. They leverage the
customer desire for security to
deepen their relationship, and promote their broader offering.
Often, this takes the form of an Partner project services deepen and extend customer engagements and are the first step in expanding the Partner footprint.
Microsoft 365 Business Services
IT Security Audit, which identifies potential areas of risk in a customer’s IT infrastructure. This is a deep dive into a customer’s potential IT fail-points and vulnerability, and a chargeable event.
To broaden the scope of their customer engagements even further, some Partners use a Cloud Roadmap approach that engages customers in their entire digital transformation by developing a multi-stage plan to address the shortfalls identified in the IT Security Audit. This roadmap is then implemented, effectively locking in longer customer engagement cycles and consequently higher customer lifetime value.
While project services are an important part of the Partner offering, the real key to fully monetizing the Microsoft 365 Business opportunity inevitably lies in delivering ongoing managed services.
This is because managed services typically deliver higher margins, and are therefore a critical driver of long term profitability, but also because they are recurring in nature, while project services are not.
This makes for greater revenue predictability, and produces higher company
valuations, something every owner cares deeply about.
Partner managed services expand a Partner’s financial opportunity by delivering higher margins and increased company valuations.
To provide an upsell path and
fully exploit your financial opportunity, successful Partners also tend to offer different “tiers” or levels of managed services. Most often, there will be 3 such tiers:
A “basic” or mandatory managed service package, which contains the following elements, is recommended as a first step for all
• Help desk and end user support – basic “call us if you need us” support for laptops, PC’s, tablets, and phones. Delivered via chat, phone, or Skype and available 24/7. Very
often based on unlimited cases per month.
A “basic” managed service package is recommended for all Partners.
• Remote device monitoring and management – often including alarms on end users’ devices that cause the Partner to correct whatever problem has occurred.
• Identity & access (AD) monitoring, management and remediation – adding and removing users, resetting passwords, and in some cases license management.
• E-learning – typically FAQ’s, online tutorials, and self paced learning modules an end user can access in replacement of on-premise training.
An “advanced” managed service package helps build revenue further, as well as differentiate the Partner. It is recommended as an upsell, particularly to customers with more complex security requirements, and could contain any combination of following elements, depending on a Partner’s specific market conditions:
• Cyber-attack threat monitoring & prevention – often leveraging other 3rd party tools to provide complete protection against viruses, malware, ransomware, phishing, and spam.
• Endpoint security monitoring and remediation – ensuring all laptops, PC’s, tablets, and mobile phones are protected with encryptions and advanced threat protection.
• Security protocol monitoring,
An “advanced” managed service package helps build revenue further, as well as differentiate the Partner.
remediation – utilizing compliance managers to ensure any regulatory requirements are not breached.
• Security administration based on a customer’s remote portal score, and remote portal support for the customer.
• Automated archiving, compliance monitoring and remediation, leveraging Azure.
• Full backup and disaster recovery as a service, again leveraging Azure.
Microsoft 365 Business Services 5 | p a g e
• Corrupt device quarantining, and application download prevention on jailbroken devices.
• Bring Your Own Device user control – ensuring that any outside devices to not corrupt the customer’s IT environment.
Finally, the “premium” managed service package truly cements the customer relationship, and maximizes the Partner financial opportunity. It is most suitable for customers who wish to totally outsource all elements of their IT infrastructure and can involve these elements, depending on a Partner’s capability to deliver them:
• Key business process automation – delivering reduced risk, better cost-efficiency, and greater management control using SharePoint Flow & Power Apps.
• Desktop as a Service – typically involving hosted desktops, virtual workspaces, and application hosting and
• Automated dashboards –
A “premium” managed service package truly cements the customer relationship, and maximizes the Partner opportunity.
leveraging BI and
delivering reporting to the customer in terms of incidents logged and threats prevented. Can also include simplified control panels that are more readily managed by the customer.
• Device as a Service – the provision of laptops, PC’s and tablets for a monthly fee, and most often including support.
Partner intellectual property results from a Partner “codifying” some business process and making it available as a “productized” offering.
Examples would be recruiting or procurement workflows that are embedded in Microsoft software.
Partner IP is monetizable if it can reduce risk, increase control, drive down
costs, or increase efficiency for the customer.
Some of the elements mentioned in the
Partner own IP can further build customer lifetime value, by reducing risk, increasing control, or driving down costs for the customer.
Microsoft 365 Business Services “premium” package just described (using SharePoint Flow & Power Apps) constitute IP, and can even further raise a Partner’s margin profile, because their delivery is not labor-based. In other words, once sold, there are very low ongoing costs for the Partner. And as the volume of IP sold increases, margins increase even more.
Perhaps more importantly, own IP can be premium-priced, because of the business value it delivers
Finally, some Partners extend their offerings to include “as a service” elements for desktops and devices. For example, devices-as-a-service are effectively fully-supported lease programs offered by the Partner. This not only further expands their revenue footprint inside the customer over time, but it also more fully exploits the traditional role as “outsourced IT departments” that many Partners have built their businesses on.