In our last installment, we outlined several reasons why Office 365 resellers must focus on differentiation. One of the approaches that Microsoft recommends is “Packaged IP” – creating intellectual property and bundling it with Office 365. For those of you who have the resources to build your own IP, this is an excellent idea. But what if application development and content creation aren’t core strengths of your business?
Microsoft has an answer. They suggest bundling in complementary services from Azure, like single sign-on and mobile device management. This is also an excellent idea…if you have competencies on those technologies, have the skillset to build business processes around them, and can deliver them to customers as a managed service. But if you’re one of the many partners who doesn’t have those capabilities yet, or if you’re a VAR trying to transform your business and offer managed services for the first time, you’ll need to start with a different approach.
Here are two more ideas that can work for every partner:
- Manage Office 365 for your customers using a management tool that includes advanced security, compliance, and alerting features. You’ll stay relevant to your client after they’re onboarded, make their Office 365 more secure, and differentiate yourself in the process. You can choose tools that don’t require PowerShell and are easy to operate – even by a non-technical person.
- Bundle in 24/7 end-user technical support with your Office 365 offer. Imagine how different your version of Office 365 would look if your customers’ employees could call you for help directly, instead of calling Microsoft. If you’re establishing a Tier-1 CSP relationship with Microsoft, you need to offer help desk anyway. Even if you aren’t a Direct CSP, help desk is a great way to maintain a strong relationship with your customer and find new opportunities to upsell and cross-sell your services. If you don’t want to spend the money and time to set up your own in-house help desk, don’t worry. There are providers out there who specialize in help desk outsourcing for Microsoft partners.
If you think creating your own “packaged IP” might not be realistic for your business today, check out our webinar on Wednesday, March 30th entitled “The Modern MSP: How to Build Managed Service Offers.” Jenn Sieger, Partner Profitability Lead at Microsoft, and BitTitan CIO, Vince Fournier, will be sharing step-by-step, how-to guidance for creating, bundling, and pricing managed service offers.
No matter how you do it, remember: to succeed you have to differentiate your version of Office 365. Choose an approach that fits the strengths and capabilities of your company.