The three ways to purchase Azure and Microsoft 365: Credit Card, MyCSP, or EA.

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Assessing the benefits of the cloud and planning your organisation’s migration is only the beginning of your journey. Once you’re in the cloud, you have a few options of how you purchase the cloud resources your organisation needs.

Microsoft saw the need to bridge the gap between a simple credit card subscription and an Enterprise Agreement designed for the largest enterprises. The bridge was the creation of the Microsoft CSP (Cloud Solution Provider) programme to offer organisations a new way to acquire the services they need. For most organizations, CSP brings the most value and flexibility to the table. Depending on your organisation’s size and where you are on your cloud journey, one of the three purchasing models is likely better suited than the others.

The three ways to purchase Azure and Microsoft 365: Credit Card, CSP, or EA.

For small organizations or companies just dipping their toes into all the cloud has to offer, a credit card subscription directly from Microsoft is the easiest way to get started. Your designated cardholder will be billed for the resources your organisation consumes, and your subscription will come with baseline limited Microsoft support.

A credit card subscription gives organisations the flexibility, allowing you to flip the switch on provisioned resources and maintain full control of their Azure and Microsoft 365 subscriptions. Because you’re in charge of your environment, you will be fully responsible for making sure your cloud environment is optimised, and that operating costs are kept under control (unless the person who originally swiped left the company and no one is monitoring your cloud spend).

Despite having the greatest flexibility of the three purchasing methods, the credit card approach leaves value on the table over the long run.

With MyCSP, you only pay for the resources your organisation consumes, without an up-front commitment to hit consumption or licensing thresholds. The Microsoft-licensed partner you choose to be your Cloud Service Provider will manage your Azure and Microsoft 365 subscriptions, provide premium support for your organisation, and give insight into what your cloud spend looks like as well as make suggestions to help optimise your budget and the resources you consume.

With MyCSP, you’re getting the same cloud resources you would from a credit card subscription bundled with the premium offerings of the partner you trust — all at a similar or reduced rate compared to Credit Card subscription pricing. With your MyCSP partner support, you can provision and deactivate resources, and add or drop subscriptions at any time. For most organizations, MyCSP provides the most value over the long run and near-instantaneous flexibility rivalling that of the credit card purchasing model.


With an EA (enterprise agreement) organisations will need to commit to consume a certain amount of Azure or fill enough Microsoft 365 “seats” for the duration of your contract. Enterprises are eligible for discounts if they plan on spending millions of dollars in Azure or filling more than 500 seats with Microsoft 365 subscriptions. While these plans can often time provide valuable cost discounts for enterprises, the high-volume requirements and huge upfront cost places them out of reach for most organisations.

All Microsoft EAs are made on a “use it or lose it” basis. If your organization spends less than your Azure commitment or drops below 500 users for  Microsoft 365, you will still be billed for the full amount your organization committed to. EAs are commitments made for multiple years. EAs lack flexibility in spending and command that the organization hits its pre-committed consumption threshold or seat count to prevent losing the value made possible through the agreement.


Why should CSP matter to me and my organisation?

The CSP licensing model gives the best value and flexibility to most customers and ISV’s (independent software vendors) who are getting serious about the cloud and all it has to offer. If your organisation has assessed a move to the cloud, CSP provides greater value than a credit card swipe subscription and greater flexibility than an enterprise agreement.

For organisations just moving into the cloud, CSP provides premium support on par with what you would expect from an EA without the large upfront cost and commitment that comes with it. Beyond the extended suite of value through CSP and managed services with a trusted partner, this model allows you to bundle your licensing and project services costs and consolidate them into one simple invoice.

Microsoft launched CSP to allow customers the ability to consume cloud software and services through Microsoft’s accredited partner network. Simply allowing customers the opportunity to transition their licensing and Azure procurement relationship to the same IT partner they trusted with their IT services. Consolidating these vendor relationships into one single relationship provides a significant advantage for organisations, ensuring confidence that their IT services provider is managing their licensing spend in the best interest of their business. Umbrellar and our deep expertise in Microsoft cloud technology, coupled with our Direct CSP status, ensures organisations that select Umbrellar as their CSP have a skilled technology partner by their side that understands their business and is advising them on the best options from implementation to support within Microsoft Azure and Microsoft O365. As a CSP, we optimise licensing spend to give you greater agility and flexibility to invest in modernising your business.


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