Category: Industry trends & insights Published: 14 February 2020 Author: Mike Jennett

There are many benefits to successfully achieving top-level status as a world-class Managed Services Provider (MSP), including heightened exposure and visibility among your target market, enhanced credibility and a deep sense of trust with prospective and existing customers, and increased brand recognition and preference among your customers. When it comes to Microsoft, the one recognition that has become the accepted standard to identify the top echelon of MSPs is the Microsoft Azure Expert Managed Service Provider certification.

Therefore, one way to cement your status as one of Microsoft’s best MSPs is to pursue and earn the Microsoft Azure Expert MSP certification. It’s a simple formula, but a challenging task to accomplish. Truly, only the best MSPs selling Microsoft Azure will earn this premier distinction. Microsoft has placed stringent requirements on attaining expert status and plans to grant this prestigious designation to only a limited number of companies worldwide.

However, the rewards of certification far outweigh any obstacles you may encounter. Along with the benefits already noted, Microsoft awards Azure Expert MSPs with exclusive incentives and perks. If you have aspirations for your company to become certified for the first time, or to get re-certified, we’re here to help. Our CloudBlue solution fulfills the technology component for this prestigious designation right out of the box. But first, let’s step back for a moment and take a big picture view of how your company can achieve this premier recognition. Here are the three major steps:

 

Step 1: Demonstrate Industry-Leading Expertise 

Becoming a world-class MSP starts with the team of people you have in place. You need a group of experts to guide customers through their transition from on-premise technology to the cloud, including system architects, cloud analysts, database engineers and Azure certified professionals. It’s essential that a number of team members—at least 15 people—hold certifications in Microsoft Azure and other various cloud technologies. These individuals will help customers assess their current environments, rearchitect their systems and provide other types of assistance to help them move to the cloud as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible, as well as support them once they are there.

As a top-tier MSP, you’ll have outstanding leaders guiding your company that have the understanding that there’s more to the cloud than just moving there. Your company has to have the ability to lead the entire process from on-premise to the cloud from the beginning to the end, with the ability to assess customer readiness and needs. You’ll need to look for right sizing and cost optimization—spending the least amount possible on maintenance while ensuring security. If not all of this talent is in place at the outset, looking to a cloud partner to supplement your expertise is a smart move to fill any gaps.

Step 2: Develop World-Class Processes

To be among the best and brightest MSPs, as you help your customers move to the cloud, you need to create and follow well-defined, step-by-step processes. As a top MSP, you’ll have created extensive documentation that defines your processes in detail and allows anyone to come into their roles in the company and perform at the highest levels. 

Along with this, your corporate structure and operations must be solid, earning you a reputation as a stalwart in the industry. And, you’ll be able to prove your company’s strength by sharing company financials—a requirement of certification. 

In addition, your company’s operational excellence should result in a wide variety of customer successes in a variety of different areas, including design, migration, consulting, customer satisfaction, security and support. As a top-tier MSP, you will have an easy time demonstrating a number of customer wins.   

In addition to processes, it’s also important to have the right tools in place, including those that give you insights into Azure accounts, landscapes and architecture and those that assist in assessment, migration and support.

 

Step 3: Build or adopt a powerful cloud management platform

Along with developing industry-leading expertise and implementing well-defined processes, it’s essential to bring on a cloud management platform—a required element of the Azure Expert MSP program. Your company may choose to create one on your own or adopt an existing platform from a partner. Developing a cutting-edge yet home-grown cloud management platform will require extensive staff time, in-depth knowledge and skills, and significant investment. 

However, there’s a better option. According to a recent Forrester research study, using the CloudBlue platform greatly reduces resource and operational costs, providing multi-million-dollar savings in go-to-market expenses over three years. The platform meets the technology requirements for the Azure Expert MSP certification out of the box. Using CloudBlue, Ingram Micro Cloud became the first distributor in the world—again, the first—to earn the Microsoft Azure Expert Managed Services Provider certification, thanks to the power of the platform.  

We’re proud to share this premier certification with other leading companies, including Accenture, Tata Data Systems and HP. And, we’re here to help you do the same. For more information and to get started, contact us at together@cloudblue.com
 

Mike Jennett
Mike Jennett Director, Cloud Consulting Practice

Mike guides the strategy and programs for Ingram Micro Cloud’s IaaS business in existing and emerging markets.