Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider program may be appealing to organizations looking to have more flexibility in today’s fast-paced business world

For many years, when it came to the management of your Microsoft licenses, your organization had very few options. The Enterprise Agreement (EA) had been the most popular way that organizations managed how their Microsoft software licenses were purchased and maintained. With the proliferation of cloud-based tools, including Office 365, Microsoft recently adapted how they offer their software and, in turn, how their partners provide support to their end customers. This shift in thinking brought about the designation of a Cloud Solution Provider.

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What is a Cloud Solution Provider?

A Cloud Solution Provider is designated by Microsoft as an organization that is able to resell Microsoft software, including Office 365, as well as provide software support and in turn become more involved in a customer’s business.

Side-by-Side Comparison – EA vs. CSP

We created a handy comparison chart, so you can see the key differences between both Microsoft programs.

ea vs csp comparison chart

Why choose a CSP over an EA?

There are several reasons why a CSP may be beneficial for your organization, especially if you’re in a rapid growth phase and aren’t sure how many users you’ll need a month from now, let alone a year from now.

Flexibility around number of users

With the Cloud Solution Provider program you can add and remove users as you wish and see your monthly fee go up and down automatically.

Flexible payment requirements

With a CSP you’ll pay by the month, whereas with an EA you’ll likely either pay upfront, or on a yearly basis, which can make budgeting difficult. If you have to add or remove users throughout the year, you’ll also see annual true-up adjustments to your billing.

No contract

With a CSP you won’t be bound by any long-term contract, so you can choose to look at other solutions at any time. Enterprise Agreements typically require a 3-year commitment, which can be unattractive for businesses who may be either startups or simply unclear about what the future holds in terms of their business.


With a CSP, your monthly fee pays for ongoing support, whereas with an Enterprise Agreement, support is typically extra.

Pay only for what you use

The Cloud Solution Provider program allows you to pay for exactly what you and your team is using at any given time. This is unlike an Enterprise Agreement, where you essentially have to guess what tools you’ll be using, and if you need to add services or users you’ll be faced with true-up billing charges each year to cover any additional expenses.

One-of-a-kind tools and services

Exclusively through MessageOps, there are many tools and services as part of the CSP program, including the Inscape licensing management platform, reporting, employee productivity insights, customized billing, Office 365 Success Manager/concierge, and much more.

Interested in learning more about working with a Cloud Solution Provider?

At MessageOps, we’re the Cloud Solution Provider with over 60,000 members and decades of experience helping organizations identify and implement the right tools and services for their businesses. Contact our experts today to determine what the best plan for your organization is.

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