CSP Direct – Why it Matters to Partners

Microsoft has opened the door for partners to profit from cloud service usage.

For many years I recommended vendor companies and was a “value added reseller” (VAR) for Microsoft and others.  In this business model I bought software “components” from the vendors, to build a fully custom application system.  This often meant that I supplied the hardware, network, software, licenses, everything.  That was the late 20th century model.  It began to die with the advent of the Internet and online services.

Cloud computing is very large scale online services.  There is no room for the VAR in the cloud computing delivery.  You aren’t selling hardware and network so you don’t get any revenue from installation fees, you often are not developing the software anymore because it is now delivered as a cloud application.  The squeeze is on and you already feel it.

Making it in the cloud computing world as a “Systems Integrator” (SI) or VAR.  You must replace your dwindling revenue streams with new ones.

Intact is gathering partners into our network of CSP Indirect Resellers.  The first thing you need to know as an Indirect Reseller is you are paid a commission for selling Microsoft products and services by Microsoft.  How much the commission is, is determined by who the Indirect Reseller partners with in a deal.

It is no secret, if you are an approved Microsoft CSP, you can get services from any Direct or the “Indirect Providers” (formerly channel partners.)  Intact wants to be your Direct Reseller.  We are creating new partnerships, new products, and new services that you can use to strengthen your proposals to your customers.  As your Direct, we can help with pricing and services to get you more business and keep that critical client you have invested in for years.


CSP Direct – Why it Matters to Customers

Business has no choice today, some part of your business depends on technology.

Federal, state, and local governments now require you to deal with them online.  Your bank services are provided online. You pay your bills online.  Most likely you use technology applications to track your customers, your accounts receivables, and more.  There is no escape, IT services is part of your business.

This has had a secondary effect on your business, you must manage multiple service providers and it takes a lot of your time and money.  Many businesses are looking for single-source suppliers to manage their technology, allowing them to do the business of the business.

Microsoft has recognized that it is ineffective at the “last-mile” delivery of its services, so has created a distributor franchise of Direct Resellers.  A Direct Reseller, as the name implies is a wholesale bulk purchaser who then resells the product to the customer – you.  Your Direct manages the entire service agreement with you.  You get to choose what you want and to negotiate your best price/support model for your business.  More, a Direct can bundle other services not provided by Microsoft as part of a service package.  For example, Intact is a partner/provider for Heartland Payment Systems.  So Intact can bundle under the same management/supply contract IT and banking services.  With a Direct Reseller your business gets the technology it must have at a favorable price with tailored service/support.

Finally, many times we find that businesses are specialized, needing finely tuned support.  These customers have well established provider relationships in place and would like to keep those, but get possibly better pricing or better application services/solutions.  For this we have formed our partner network of Indirect Resellers.  Our Indirect Resellers are commissioned by Microsoft so you aren’t paying more while getting pin-point service.

I discuss our Indirect Reseller program in another article.

Building a Microsoft CSP Direct Business

Starts with a team attitude…

A few weeks ago I talked about Intact’s appointment as a Microsoft Direct Reseller and in a separate article about the changes businesses/government must adapt to in the years ahead.

I know, without doubt that Intact must find, recruit, equip, train, and assist partners to achieve their goals.  Being Direct means we are the go-to for the things partners have long said Microsoft should have done.  Well, in my opinion Microsoft is doing exactly what it should do (or maybe should have done sooner), moving the relationship management to where it really is – between the servicing company and the end-user customer.  As a nod to Microsoft, once upon a time we (consumers) did do business with Microsoft by buying our software from a store.  Those days are long gone. I haven’t gotten boxed CD/DVD software in 10 years or more.

Today there are service companies that deliver your computing to you or your business, who in turn get theirs from Microsoft or AWS for example.  The CSP Direct Reseller is simply the distributor to service companies (partners) who then work with you.

Intact is building a partner network.  We are going to help our partners with their business goals.  In the coming years I believe that through the Direct partner relationships we will seen new specializations arise out of the partner network.  In-fact we are already witnessing it in our recruiting now.

I believe that starting with the notion of partners working as teams, pooling their individual strengths means more revenue.  It takes a new way of thinking and a higher order of partner.  Intact will develop this over time.

For those who don’t know all the IT and Microsoft terminology.  A CSP is a “cloud solution provider” and a Direct Reseller is a distributor.  Not complicated.  I will have more on this in another post.

Cloud – Clash and Train Wrecks

How many people you ask is how many opinions you get – No kidding, Captain Obvious.

Speaking of cloud computing and the above statement, there is no shortage of opinions, so today I’m giving my opinion (and this is my blog).  More precisely I am going to, hopefully, state the obvious in a ocean of conflicting opinions.

Cloud computing has changed the way applications should be written and how companies will have to (future perfect tense) deal with this reality.  My point is this, the major companies are converting resources to cloud and thus future deliveries will be cloud-based to the point that it is economically imperative to use a cloud service rather than an “owned” service.  There are always exceptions and I am not discussing your favorite exception.  We are talking mainstream, the majority, most of, or any other phraseology implying quantities greater than the median, of business applications where something will at some point fail due to its clashing with cloud technologies.

Here is an example: Windows Server 2008 SP2 Switching to Monthly Updates simple reality.  This is going to cause failures in lots of apps.  My point is, companies, and yes the “open-source” community too, are taking to cloud.  If you just keep riding the same old train, my advice is get off (retire) at the next stop; for surely there is a train wreck ahead and you might find yourself the first to arrive.

Intact Partners is Microsoft CSP Direct, board our new CloudLiner PartnerShip for the smoothest ride in CyberSpace!

That was hokey, but you get it!

Intact Appointed Microsoft CSP Direct

Intact Partners Inc. was appointed by Microsoft as one of its CSP Direct Reseller partners.  This is a huge achievement for Intact.  A Direct reseller is an end to end sales, service, and support distributor of Microsoft’s cloud products.  More Intact is able to bundle our company intellectual properties, CodeSolve and PowerLine automation tools and services.  Even more! Intact is creating an ecosystem of partners and Microsoft Indirect Resellers where our partners can bundle their services with our.  We even drive more revenue by Indirect Reseller commissions paid by Microsoft.

If you are interested in hearing more about then next wave in cloud solutions opportunity please contact me, sales@itintact.com and put Ecosystem in the subject line.

You can find out more online at our LinkedIn site, search: Intact Partners Inc

Always Read the Code Dependencies – Azure Cosmos DB

TL;DR – go to the last line…

Thinking about the Azure Cosmos DB? Chances are you are already on .NET Core (2.0 hopefully at least). The Microsoft Cosmos DB official documentation starts here. From there you can navigate down into all the documentation.  In fact Microsoft documentation offers this blanket statement:

Developers already familiar with Azure Table storage may have used the WindowsAzure.Storage package in the past. It is recommended that all new table applications use the Azure Storage Common Library and the Azure Cosmos DB Table Library, however the WindowsAzure.Storage package is still supported. If you use the WindowsAzure.Storage library, include Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Storage.Table in your using statements.

So what do you need to know about Cosmos DB? Well like everything else in programming, “What do you want to do?” and the follow on, “How much are you willing to pay?” Aside for SQL Server, the reason you might want Cosmos DB is scale, management, and reliability.  But you can read about that stuff yourself (shameless plug – hire us).

So to the point of this article.  Your code is on .NET Core and you think you want to use Cosmos DB, and you want all of its goodness. You’ve read the docs and decided that the DocumentDB is out because it cost more due to its provisioning and the Table storage meets your needs. You also want to follow the “Microsoft official recommendations”. Sorry! The libs they recommend only work with the old .NET Framework – not with .NET Code as of this writing 5/9/2018. Stick with the WindowsAzure.Storage libraries.

I Don’t Sell Clouds!

UPDATE! Now I DO Sell Cloud – Microsoft Azure to be exact.  Intact is now Microsoft CSP Direct Reseller – If you are a developer you can get our tools free. You even get paid.
Find us on LinkedIn searching: Intact Partners Inc

I give you the computer program that you want or need – customized just for you.

The programs and services are very real that I deliver.  I charge you a fair price for the program, you get it fast.  Today, it is likely delivered as a cloud hosted application because its more cost effective in most cases.  I don’t sell you clouds.  The cost of programs I build are the same as they were before the clouds appeared.  The labor has not changed, only the delivery.

I sell my expertise, my experience, and my skill and those of my team. It is my intellectual property developed over years in the industry.  I use these libraries and tools that I have built to deliver programs that work.  And I deliver them faster than other developers.  This means you get a quality product, you get it fast, and you get it at a lower cost.  You remember the old Work truism: Better, Faster, Cheaper; pick any two.

I give you all THREE – quality, fast, and low cost.

I don’t sell clouds!

Why is this important?  People are confused (that’s nothing new) by the “techno-babble”, advertising hype, and misinformed technologist.  I ran head-long into this during the week where the true value proposition was misplaced.  They were focused on cloud cost and totally neglecting the actual application needed.  So we are going to look at this.  If you already know everything, you should stop reading now while I talk to people who are really trying to make an informed decision about computer programs.

If you are a person who is a developer or a person who is contemplating cloud solutions as a part of you business needs, then you might be interested.

I do sell custom solutions that run on cloud platforms.  I do this because it lets me beat the Work truism.  It works for my system but it does NOT work for other developers.  I’m happy to back that up – you can call me about it.  It would be TL;DNR here.

First lets simplify the “Cloud” hype.  The NIST has defined what a cloud is in Pub 800-145 where you can read in section 2, “Service Models” that there are three cloud models: SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS.  We are focused on the PaaS model, “Platform as a Service”.

Let me quickly give you the layman’s definition of the other two.
1- SaaS, software as a service: is a canned (pre-built) application program. It does what it does. You don’t get to change it.  Many let you “customize” it. But you can’t delete or add to its features.  This is the same stuff you use to buy in a box or download from a seller and you installed it on your machine.  With SaaS the only difference is it is installed on a cloud machine – not yours.
2- IaaS, infrastructure as a service: is “rent-a-computer”.  You go to the “rent a box” cloud provider, pick a bunch of options and a few minutes later you have a computer (VM) ready.  YOU, are still responsible for the programs, licenses, deployments.  In-short, everything you had to do yesterday, you have to do today with IaaS.  Except look at the box; you can’t see the box, its in the cloud.

Remember, I don’t sell clouds!  I sell custom application programs, not canned software or empty boxes.  A custom application program is a “made to order, to your specifications”.  You get to decide on the features like how fast it runs, how much storage it has, what the screens, reports, and everything else about your application program do.

PaaS, platform as a service: is a collection of services implemented in a cloud platform.  When you are deciding on the features of your custom application your are creating a requirement for cloud services so your app can do what you want – makes sense right.  The truth is custom applications do this right now without the cloud.  In fact ALL applications work this way.  How you ask?  Your computer (tablet, phone, etc.) has an “operating system (OS)” that you use to “run” your apps.  Your computer provides your app with “OS services” to run.  You can see them easily on Windows computers (open: Control Panel/System and Security/Administrative Tools/Services) there is a big long list.  Without these services your computer will just sit there and do nothing.  NOTE: not all cloud providers offer all three service models.  The big three (Amazon, Google, Microsoft) offer all three cloud models in very different implementations.  This is the point where you generally will need an expert to help you.

My company Intact has simplified all of this for you.  Intact have PowerLine PaaS.  You don’t need to concern yourself about all this cloud stuff.  And do you really need to care about it?  You didn’t care before the cloud.  You purchased applications for your business because you needed it.  All the OS services necessary, you just assumed they were there or more likely, you didn’t even know about them.  So why do you suddenly care – oh! Its the hype.

I don’t sell clouds! I use cloud to provide you the custom application that you need/want, that works the way you want.  That is what is really important.  I earn a living providing you services delivered with Quality, Speed, and Value.  Work truism – BUSTED!