December 18, 2019
For a business, having a lawyer isn’t optional: there are contracts to be signed, client relationships to be negotiated and legislation to abide by. But what happens when you’re a Microsoft partner and your business needs a Microsoft lawyer? A generalist lawyer won’t be able to provide the kind of services that partners need – in this blog we’ll explain what a Microsoft specialist lawyer can provide for your business.
Navigating the Microsoft Partner Network
Generalist lawyers don’t always understand the nuances of being a Microsoft partner. There are many considerations to be made when your business provides software and/or technology as a service – here are three of the most important aspects of being a partner that requires a Microsoft specialist lawyer to negotiate:
1. Access rights
Take Global Admin Access Rights as an example of Microsoft-specific concerns. As a cloud solution provider (CSP), you’ll use Azure AD tenant management roles like global admin, user management admin and billing admin. But what happens when you need to delegate access rights to third parties? Managed service providers must have access rights granted to them by their customers. The legal consequences of sharing confidential information need to be established, as well as the type of access suitable for different third parties.
Without the right kind of access rights, it’s impossible for managed service providers to do their jobs. A generalist lawyer is highly unlikely to have the right kind of experience that takes these nuances into account. For managed service providers, finding a Microsoft specialist lawyer who can draw up contracts delegating access rights and their terms properly is essential – otherwise, they leave themselves and their customers unprotected.
2. License reselling
Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Providers program is highly flexible. Owing to growing demand for all kinds of cloud-based solutions and services, there are many ways that partners can choose to resell Microsoft licenses. Smaller partners can benefit from reselling Microsoft licenses whether or not they have their own IP. To accommodate different partners, there are two types of reseller: indirect or direct.
If a partner is a Direct CSP partner, they are contracted with Microsoft and resell to their customers. This type of partnership takes around four months and requires an IP built around the Microsoft cloud, as well as the maintenance of an Advanced Support Network.
As an Indirect CSP partner, a partner will work as a reseller. This program helps partners get to market quicker and scale at a pace of their choosing. Whether a partner chooses to be indirect or direct, it’s always essential to have a CSP customer agreement laid out.
This agreement isn’t the only legal step in becoming a CSP reseller. Whether a partner is indirect or direct, they’ll need to agree terms with both their own resellers and their customers. There are several steps to this process, including meeting Microsoft’s minimum requirements, completing the Cloud Solution Provider questionnaire and completing an extensive enrolment process. No matter how a partner chooses to enrol in the CSP program, they need a Microsoft specialist lawyer who can guide them through the process. A generalist lawyer might not be able to get the information a business needs quickly enough, delaying the application and potentially affecting the business’s relationship with Microsoft.
3. Becoming a Partner of Record
As a member of the Microsoft Partner Network, you’ll be given access to many core benefits that’ll help you build your customer base and strengthen your IP. As you begin to actively manage customer subscriptions for Office 365, CRM Online, Azure and more Microsoft software, you’ll begin to build a network of happy customers. When customers purchase Microsoft services, such as Office 365, from you they can nominate you as a Digital Partner of Record (DPOR). This is a way of recognising the subscriptions you’re managing, helping you earn Cloud incentive and qualify for cloud competencies. DPOR can help your customers reduce the total cost of ownership and make a move to the cloud easier.
While attaching a DPOR is not necessarily difficult, filling out the forms and navigating the partner portal can be time-consuming. Your client contracts must also stipulate that your business is suitable to be referred as a DPOR. Hiring a Microsoft specialist lawyer who understands the Microsoft world will remove potential delays from this process.
Find your ideal Microsoft specialist lawyer at Law 365
Whether you’re a CSP, an ISV or an MSP, the intricacies of your business are essential to get right. Law 365 have been navigating the Microsoft Partner Network for years.
Specialising in Microsoft and technology-based law, there’s no better law firm for a partner to choose. After working closely with Microsoft partners offering a wide range of products and services, Law 365 have the specialist knowledge to help any partner grow. Offering tailored contracts and templates, Law 365 can help your business move faster, make better decisions and grow sustainably.
To find out how a Microsoft specialist lawyer can win your business more clients than a generalist lawyer, get in touch with Law 365 today.