Office 365 Open: 10 Cloud Billing Questions for Microsoft
The new Office 365 Open initiative allows Microsoft partners to manage end-customer billing for Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online and other cloud services. But the Office 365 Open effort raises as many questions as it answers. In fact, here are 10 questions Microsoft partners should ask about Office 365 Open program.
First, some background. At the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2012 (WPC12), Microsoft said:
“Office 365 Open is a new way for partners to sell Office 365. It establishes a traditional reseller model, enabling partners to realize more revenue, deliver packaged services with a single invoice, and own the customer relationship.”
Office 365 Advisors Program updates let the most active partners earn more up front with Office 365. Starting today, partners who sell more than 150 seats are eligible to earn more revenue.”
10 Questions About Office 365 Open
Translation: Office 365 partners can now control customer billing while also earning as much as 23 percent margin on first-year engagements, Channel Chief Jon Roskill said. Partners applauded the news, and Microsoft deserves kudos for the effort.
But what was left unsaid? Here are 10 questions worth asking.
1. When does Office 365 Open actually launch?
2. Can partners move easily between cloud billing management on their own, and switching back to Microsoft-managed cloud billing if they so choose?
3. Is the partner responsible for unpaid cloud bills if the end-customer does not pay partner invoices for Office 365?
4. Does the cloud billing option work easily for partners that deal with multiple countries and currencies?
5. Can partners control the end-customer price of Office 365 — or just the billing distribution and management?
6. Can partners white label Office 365 and rebrand it on their own?
7. Who will partners buy Office 365 Open from? Distributors or directly from Microsoft?
8. What is the actual price of Office 365 Open?
9. Will there be Office 365 Open discounts off MSRP for partner margin?
10. Who’s idea was this? Steve Ballmer, Jon Roskill or somebody else? Sources say Office 365 Open was a well-kept secret that very few Microsoft insiders knew about before today’s announcement…
That’s all for now. Pursuing answers and back later.