MSP Today Expert Feature
August 13, 2014

Office365 Can Be a Lucrative Revenue Source for MSPs and VARs


There’s no question that Microsoft’s (News - Alert) Office365 suite of enterprise business apps is beneficial to MSPs, VARs and cloud service providers. Many enterprises are looking to migrate to the cloud, and are simultaneously looking for a trusted partner to manage that migration and ensure it runs smoothly. Just how much trusted partners will benefit from Office365 is another issue, and it largely comes down to how flexible and innovative they can be.

MSPs like Network Alliance are quickly becoming Microsoft Office365 Dealers, meaning they are sanctioned and possess all the tools to offer a unique cloud migration experience to their customers. Microsoft is also offering incentives, with the company beginning free email migration services to Office365 customers on September 1. In tandem, Microsoft is offering funding to partners that offer discounted Office365 services, which will be hugely beneficial to the MSP and VAR communities.

"[Office 365] is the single greatest opportunity for MSPs and VARs to enter into the cloud. Of course it has its limitations, but it's a no-brainer for 99% of customers," said Terry Hedden, CEO of Florida-based advisory services firm Cloud Guru.

Lync, Microsoft’s unified communications and collaboration platform, is a huge component of Office365 and MSPs and VARs are increasingly realizing how valuable it is. Lync also provides a perfect opportunity for partners to show their value, as it requires a deployment strategy to enable all of its features to work properly. Specifically, Lync needs to be setup correctly in order for its voice features to work, an important component of the solution. This can typically be achieved through an on-premises hardware solution, through a virtual environment or through a bundled and managed offering. The last configuration has MSPs providing and maintaining the hardware, data center and network infrastructure for the solution, a golden opportunity to give their customers additional value.

And once Lync and Office365 are deployed, MSPs have a fantastic channel in place to bring in regular revenue. According to Christopher Herz, CEO of MSP New Signature, his company focuses its services around helping customers plan for moving some or all data to Office365, and being flexible enough to make that an ongoing transition.

"It's an enormous area of our business from the sense that once you deploy Office 365, the way you achieve the highest ROI is essentially by driving user adoption and change management," said Herz. "That's not a onetime scenario. It's ongoing and requires expertise in terms of delivering education, and that's something we've built up on and plays well in the public cloud marketplace."




Edited by Adam Brandt




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