LearningCenter Post34

How to Move From an EA to CSP

Preparing to Migrate to CSP

You’ve come to the conclusion that Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program is something that you’re on board with, and now it’s time to get your data packed and ready for the big move from the popular and traditional Enterprise Agreement (EA) to your CSP.Before you get excited about this transition, you’ll need to ensure this next step is a smooth one, or else you might find your software budget blown in unforeseen spending spikes.At MetrixData 360, we have helped many of our clients move effectively to new cloud platforms, and we’ve seen several elements all successful migrations have in common. Don’t forget to check out our CSP Switching course to if you’re looking to take a deeper dive into the nuances of moving your licensing into the CSP.


Preparation is always key, especially when it comes to something like moving to your new CSP platform. You wouldn’t start building a house without a blueprint and a plan, and the same premise applies here.

Make sure you have a business plan; something that outlines the resources you’ll need. If you are signing up for Direct CSP, consider the following:

  • How much are you planning to sell and the marketing strategy you’ll be using to sell?
  • Consider if you can meet the requirements to first obtain and maintain your status as a Direct CSP partner. You will need to sell a minimum of 5,000 Microsoft 365 seats per year and will have at least one Microsoft Gold Productivity Competency.
  • Will you be able to provide top quality customer support and maintenance?
  • What sort of automatic billing system will you sign up for? It may be tempting to go with manual billing but you can easily lose control of this billing method as your business grows.

Signs It’s Time

One key element of switching from EA to CSP is timing, and there are some telling signs that you can rely on to indicate when it is a good time to move:

  • Your Size:

    The best time to move is when your organization is still smaller than 500 users, since the EA requires a minimum 500 seats, so even if you have less than 500 employees, you’ll still be stuck paying for those extra seats. Moving to the CSP will ensure you only pay for what you’re going to use.

  • Your Support Calls to Microsoft Are Lacking:

    Support is an important element in ensuring the health of your environment but if Microsoft’s 1-800 tech support number is providing you with little assistance besides the occasional ‘your call is important to us, please hold’, then leaving might be best for your company. In the CSP program, if you decide to become an Indirect CSP Reseller, your CSP Distributor will directly deal with your needs so you won’t be struggling to get Microsoft’s attention.

  • Your Business Sees Fluctuations:

    Does your business have a trackable busy season? Do you hire seasonal workers and is the number of staff shifting up and down to meet the demand of the workload? Then it might be time to consider moving to CSP since the EA doesn’t provide nearly the same level of flexibility to accommodate these changes to your business. With the EA, you would simply be stuck paying for the maximum number of seats all year.

Indirect CSP or Direct CSP

There are two models of CSP that you can pick from: Direct and Indirect. It’s important you pick between the two models carefully, so that it can best serve your business’s needs.

  • Direct CSP:

    A Direct CSP Partner means that you’ll purchase from Microsoft and sell to your customers. Becoming a Direct CSP Partner means meeting certain requirements. The whole onboarding process will take about 4 months.

  • Indirect CSP:

    Overall a much faster way to purchase CSP, since you aren’t working directly with Microsoft. Instead, you’ll be purchasing your tools and platforms from your provider. This arrangement has many appealing benefits, including giving you access to the support of your Distributor and minimal expectations with major reward potential.

Picking Your Partner

If you’ve decided to work with a Direct CSP partner, your next step will be picking which Direct CSP provider is right for you. While each CSP partner will bring their own personal touch to their platform, here are some general topics of consideration when picking your CSP partner:

  • What is the size of the organization you’re considering?

    Larger companies will often provide you with more options when it comes to the types of products and can prove more stable. They will also be better at getting Microsoft’s attention. However, smaller companies may be able to respond to your requests faster and may be more eager to keep your business.

  • How Future Proof is Your Provider?

    Is the provider equipped to handle the latest and greatest technology or are they able to deal with older versions of certain products that your company and customers may still be running?

  • Is the Partner Willing to Hash Out Pre-sales Details like Design and Pricing?

    Knowing that you can work with your partner to provide the service you or your customers need is a key component to a successful CSP.

  • What Support does the Provider Offer?

    Good support is crucial to maintaining a positive relationship with your distributor and customers. Knowing that there is a working support system in place helps to provide confidence in your product and peace of mind during unforeseen issues and requests.

Your New Home on the Cloud Awaits!

It’s an exciting time, moving to the Cloud where you can shake off the restriction of the EA, but it’s important that you don’t make the move too hastily -- you don’t want to be stuck in a bad business arrangement that will only make you long for the days of your EA.

At MetrixData 360, we know how confusing this time can be. We have helped many of our clients transition to a Cloud Platform safely and at a low and reasonable cost.

Now that you’re prepared for the move, the next step is to find out if an Indirect or Direct CSP partnership with Microsoft is right for you, you can learn more by checking out our article: Direct vs. Indirect CSP: Which Plan is Right for You?

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