Transition from Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) direct bill partner to CSP indirect reseller

Applies to:

  • CSP partners

Note

This article is intended for direct bill partners who have decided to transition to indirect resellers. However, even if you have not made an explicit decision yet to enroll as an indirect reseller, direct bill partners who do not meet the new requirements for the CSP direct bill partner program will be informed by Microsoft when their direct bill capabilities will be restricted.

You will be able to enroll in the indirect reseller program using your existing direct bill tenant.

Get started

  1. Make sure your partner profile in Partner Center and MPN ID are current.

  2. Sign in to Partner Center as the global admin for the direct bill tenant you are transitioning to indirect reseller.

    Overview

  3. Review your partner details on the enrollment form.

    Enroll now

  4. Select Enroll now. Your indirect reseller business will use the same AAD tenant you use for your direct business.

    Note

    Initially, this new transition capability will be available for partners with September to December anniversary dates. If you don"t have an anniversary date between September and December, you won't see the capability at this time. Partners with anniversary dates after December 2018 will be notified later once the feature is enabled for the partners.

  5. When your enrollment is approved, sign in to Partner Center again.

    Note

    While approval is usually immediate, it can take up to five business days. Once approved, you will receive a notification to the email address you have specified under primary contact in the enrollment form. You can also check your enrollment status under Settings > Partner Settings > Partner Profile > Program info.

  6. On your Overview page, you will see the indirect reseller agreement. Select Accept and continue. This action enables the indirect reseller capabilities.

When you have accepted the indirect reseller agreement, notice that your Partner profile identifies you as both a direct bill and indirect reseller.

Indirect reseller agreement

Important

Once you enroll as an indirect reseller using the new capability, there is no option to roll back to a direct bill- only tenant. Please make sure that you fully evaluate your business needs before enrolling as an indirect reseller.

While you transition from direct to indirect reseller

During this phase, you will continue to manage your direct customers' subscription needs including the billing process. You can also begin accepting customers from your Indirect provider and operating as an indirect reseller.

You are both a direct bill and indirect reseller

Find an indirect provider

After enrolling, a link to Indirect providers will appear in your left nav. As an indirect reseller you will establish a relationship with an indirect provider who then can handle your billing, purchase products for your customers, and support infrastructure.

Different indirect providers offer different support and services, so you should evaluate the providers in your area to determine which ones best meet your needs. Generally, most providers will:

  • Provide you with technical training and assistance
  • Help you market your products and services
  • Manage your financing and credit terms

Search the list of official Microsoft indirect providers.

Learn more, read Partner with indirect providers

Accept a partnership invitation from your indirect provider

When you find an indirect provider to partner with, establish a partnership with the indirect provider in Partner Center.

The indirect provider you select will send you in email a partnership invitation link that will take you to their invitation in Partner Center. Be sure your global admin signs in to Partner Center and follows the invitation link. When you accept the invitation, the provider's name will appear in your indirect provider list.

Acquire new customers as indirect reseller

Both you and your indirect provider need to have reseller relationships with customers. These reseller relationships enable you to manage a customer's subscriptions and services on their behalf. To acquire a new customer who has an existing Azure AD tenant, you can invite the customer to establish a reseller relationship with both you and your provider at the same time.

To create an indirect reseller invitation:

  1. Select Indirect providers from your Partner Center left nav.

  2. Select Invite new customers to invite a customer to establish a reseller relationship with both you and the indirect provider at the same time. The provider needs to have a reseller relationship with your customer, so they can submit orders on your customer's behalf when the customer wants to buy new subscriptions or add new licenses to existing subscriptions.

  3. On the next page, review the draft email message. You can open the draft message in email, or you can copy the message to your clipboard and paste it into an email.

  4. Edit the text in the email to say what you need but be sure to include the link as it is personalized to connect the customer directly to both your account and your provider's account. Then select Done.

  5. After the customer authorizes you and your provider to be their resellers of record, you'll have administrator permissions to manage their subscriptions, licenses, and users on their behalf, and your indirect provider will be able to submit orders on their behalf.

  6. To manage the customer's account, services, users, and licenses, expand the customer's record by selecting the down arrow near their name.

Unlike direct bill partners, indirect resellers can't create Azure AD tenants for their new customers in Partner Center. Your provider will create the tenant and will specify you as the indirect reseller for this customer. This ensures that the customer will appear in your customer list in Partner Center.

Note

You will not be able to use your direct bill capability to create purchases for customers you acquire as an indirect reseller.

Managing your direct bill customers and your indirect reseller customers

You manage your direct bill customers and your indirect reseller customers differently.

Direct bill customers (things you won't do as an indirect reseller)

  • Create orders for products
  • Manage Azure reservations
  • Manage their order history
  • Purchase software
  • Bill customers directly

Indirect reseller customers

  • Your indirect provider orders products for your customers
  • Manage customers' licenses and users
  • Handle subscription renewals

To identify customers that you acquired as a direct bill partner

  1. Select Customers

  2. Select a customer to view their details

  3. If this customer is one you acquired as a direct bill partner, you will see options to add or view products and you will see their subscriptions.

  4. If the customer has an indirect reseller relationship with you, those options will not be available.

Move your direct bill customers to your indirect provider

Your indirect provider cannot submit orders or existing subscription transfers for your existing direct bill customers until they have a reseller relationship with them. To establish the reseller relationship between your indirect provider and your existing direct bill customer, you can use one of the following methods:

You can find a detailed overview of the step-by-step process in the Direct to indirect transition document

Reseller relationship extension

You can use the reseller relationship extension feature to establish reseller relationship between your existing direct bill customers and your indirect provider using Partner Center Dashboard. Before using the feature, note the following:

  • This feature is only available to direct bill partners who are transitioning to become an indirect reseller have completed the indirect reseller enrollment.

  • You can only apply this feature to existing direct bill customers. It is not applicable to indirect reseller customers.

  • You can only select an indirect provider for which you have accepted a partner invitation from your indirect provider.

  • A copy of the bill-to info you have for this customer will be made available to the indirect provider. You can access the bill-to info by accessing the Account page for this customer in Partner Center Dashboard.

    Note

    By using the reseller relationship extension feature, you consent to sharing the bill-to info you have for this customer with the indirect provider.

  • Your indirect provider will not be provided with delegated administration privileges to the customer tenant. If your indirect provider requires delegated administration privileges, you must send an indirect reseller invitation to the customer instead.

  • Once the reseller relationship is established, the indirect provider will appear as a CSP partner to the customer under the Partner Relationships page in M365 Admin Center and Microsoft Store for Business.

    Important

    To avoid confusion and misunderstanding, you are contractually obliged by your partner agreement to inform and obtain consent from the direct bill customer before you use the relationship extension feature to establish reseller relationship between an existing direct bill customer and an indirect provider.

To use this feature on an existing customer tenant:

  1. Log in to Partner Center as an Admin Agent.

  2. In the Customers page, select an existing customer and click on its Quick links icon to expand the summary view of the customer.

  3. Under Indirect provider(s), click Transfer customer on an indirect provider.

    Transfer customer to an indirect provider

  4. In the pop-up dialog, select the Indirect Provider you would like to have reseller relationship with the customer.

  5. Click Save and continue.

  6. Verify the selected indirect provider shows up under Indirect provider(s).

    Indirect Provider listed

Send an indirect reseller invitation to the customer

Your indirect provider cannot submit orders for your existing direct bill customers until they have a reseller relationship with them. To establish the reseller relationship between your existing customers and your indirect provider, invite the customer using an indirect reseller invitation.

  1. Select Indirect providers from your Partner Center left nav.

  2. Select Invite new customers to invite a customer to establish a reseller relationship with both you and the indirect provider at the same time. The provider needs to have a reseller relationship with your customer, so they can submit orders on your customer's behalf when the customer wants to buy new subscriptions or add new licenses to existing subscriptions.

    Invite new customers

  3. On the next page, review the draft email message. You can open the draft message in email, or you can copy the message to your clipboard and paste it into an email.

  4. Edit the text in the email to say what you need but be sure to include the link as it is personalized to connect the customer directly to both your account and your provider's account. Then select Done.

  5. After the customer authorizes you and your provider to be their resellers of record, you'll have administrator permissions to manage their subscriptions, licenses, and users on their behalf, and your indirect provider will be able to submit orders on their behalf.

  6. To manage the customer's account, services, users, and licenses, expand the customer's record by selecting the down arrow near their name.

Microsoft Customer Agreement acceptance

Microsoft Cloud Agreement is valid until January 31, 2020. After that date, all customers, existing and new, must sign the new Microsoft Customer Agreement. For transitioning customers, if:

  • Customer has not accepted Microsoft Customer Agreement yet

    Please work with Indirect Provider to have customer accept the Microsoft Customer Agreement.

  • Customer has accepted Microsoft Customer Agreement with you through the Microsoft 365 Admin Center

    The acceptance will be retained once the reseller relationship is established with the Indirect Provider. There is nothing you need to do.

  • Customer has accepted Microsoft Customer Agreement with you through partner attestation

    The acceptance will not be retained. Please work with Indirect Provider to update the customer's acceptance in Partner Center.

Transfer existing direct bill subscriptions to indirect provider

Under CSP indirect model, indirect resellers do not have billing relationships with Microsoft. Instead, indirect resellers obtain subscriptions for their customers through their indirect providers. While transitioning from direct bill partner to indirect reseller, you need to transfer the existing subscriptions you have as the direct bill partner to your indirect provider. You can use the self-served subscription transfer feature in Partner Center Dashboard to do so.

Pre-requisites

  • This feature is only available to transitioning partners who have completed the indirect reseller enrollment using their existing direct bill partner tenants

  • Before transferring subscriptions associated with a given customer, the transitioning partner must move the customer to an indirect provider.

  • Customer must have accepted Microsoft Customer Agreement through the Indirect Provider.

How to transition to indirect reseller status

The feature is a 4-step process, where:

  • The transitioning partner creates a subscription transfer request. The request contains one or more existing subscriptions associated with the same customer and is addressed to an indirect provider.

  • The indirect provider reviews and accepts (or reject) the transfer request.

  • The indirect provider verifies that the transfer request is complete.

  • The transitioning partner verifies that the transfer request is complete.

Transitioning partner

Transitioning partner - create transfer request

To create a transfer request as the transitioning partner:

  1. Log in to Partner Center as an Admin Agent.

  2. In the Customers page, select the intended customer and click on the Quick links icon to expand the summary view of the customer.

  3. Under Indirect provider(s), confirm that the intended indirect provider is listed.

  4. Click View Subscriptions.

  5. In the Subscriptions page, look for Subscription Transfer.

  6. Under Subscription Transfer, click Request subscription transfer.

    Request subscription transfer

  7. In the transfer request dialog, select one or more subscriptions to be transferred.

    Create Transfer Request

  8. Click Create.

  9. An active subscription transfer request will appear under Subscription Transfer.

    Transfer request list

  10. Inform your indirect provider that you have created a subscription transfer request to them.

Indirect provider - accept transfer request

To review and accept a transfer request as the indirect provider:

  1. Log in to Partner Center as an Admin Agent or Sales Agent.

  2. In the Customers page, select the intended customer and click on its Quick links icon to expand the summary view of the customer.

  3. Under Indirect reseller(s), confirm the transitioning partner is listed.

  4. Click View Subscriptions.

  5. In the Subscriptions page, look for Subscription Transfer.

    View transfer request

  6. Under Subscription Transfer, click on the transfer request to review.

  7. Click Accept (or Reject) as appropriate.

    Accept transfer request

  8. Wait for the transfer request to complete.

Indirect provider - verify transfer request is complete

  1. After the transfer request is completed successfully, verify that you can see the subscriptions appear under Subscriptions.

  2. Inform the transitioning partner.

Transitioning partner - verify transfer request is complete

The transitioning partner should do the following:

  1. Sign into Partner Center as an Admin Agent or Sales Agent.

  2. In the Customers page, select the intended customer and click on the Quick links icon to expand the summary view of the customer.

  3. Click View Subscriptions.

  4. In the Subscriptions page, look for Subscription Transfer.

  5. Verify that the transfer request is marked as Complete.

  6. Verify that the subscription(s) no longer appear as active in the Subscriptions page:

    1. If this is an Azure subscription (MS-AZR-0145P), it will no longer be listed.

    2. If this is a seat-based subscription (Office 365, Dynamics, Intune), it will be listed with state as Suspended.

    Subscription suspended

Considerations

  • Subscription ID will be different after transfer. If it is an Azure subscription (MS-AZR-0145P), additionally, it will have an Azure Subscription ID, which is retained from the previous owner, and will appear in the Azure management portal.

  • The same subscription cannot be referenced by multiple transfer requests. After you have created a transfer request, which includes an existing subscription, you cannot create additional transfer requests including the same subscription, until the first transfer request is canceled.

  • Add-ons for seat-based subscriptions must be transferred along with their base subscription. When creating a transfer request, if you pick an existing subscription with one or more add-ons, the add-ons will automatically be included in the transfer request.

  • Seat count changes to a subscription will not be reflected in existing transfer request. After you have created a transfer request which includes an existing subscription, you should avoid updating the seat quantity of the subscription (or associated addons). If you do so, the new quantity will not be reflected in the transfer request. After the indirect provider accepts the transfer request, the resultant subscription will have the old quantity. If you wish for the new quantity to be transferred to the indirect provider, you must cancel the existing transfer request and recreate a new one.

  • Not all purchases can be transferred using self-served subscription transfer. Currently, you can only transfer O365 subscriptions and Azure PAYG subscriptions (MS-AZR-0145P) using this feature. Other purchases including Azure Plans, Azure Reserved Instances, Term-based Subscriptions and SaaS subscriptions for Azure Marketplace are not supported. You will see a reason why a subscription cannot be transferred in the submit transfer request page. To transfer these subscriptions, you will need to cancel the existing subscription and purchase new offer for customer through Indirect Provider.

  • Cannot be tested using sandbox environment.

Enroll for indirect reseller incentives

After you have successfully enrolled as an indirect reseller on your existing direct bill partner tenant, you will receive an invitation to enroll for indirect reseller incentive within 30 days. The invitation is based on the partner MPN account that is currently associated with your CSP partner tenant. The invitation will be sent to the email address associated with the partner MPN account.

You are also eligible to enroll for direct bill incentive programs with that same partner tenant. You must manage the programs separately.

Next steps