CRN, Channel Reseller News, has just reported that MS are set to revamp the structure for Office 365, by giving sales and support responsibilities to distributors.
This will mean rather than customers purchasing directly from Microsoft and them giving resellers a rebate, resellers will purchase from distribution partners as they currently do for other items such as Office & Windows via the Open license models. They go on to say that distributors will also provide end user support but MS will retain ownership of the billing functionality; which raises two points for me:
1) End User Support: MS have invested quite heavily in their support teams and, in my experience, they are really good. Quick, knowledgeable, keen to help etc…it strikes me as odd that Redmond would look to move away from that and put it on the channel. Perhaps distributors will have the option to offer end-user support but I would imagine that MS will keep that support element.
2) Billing: Selling it through the channel but Microsoft keeping the billing seems overly complicated. A sales cycle would be:
- Distributor buys from MS
- Reseller buys from Distributor
- Customer buys from Reseller
and payment would follow that back through the channel so I’m not sure where MS would fit in?
Feel free to offer your thoughts on all the above too!
I think it will, overall, be a good move to include the channel more in this but hey, I’ll see what new info we get at WPC and let you know