3 Things Microsoft Partners Need to Know to Boost Office 365 Consumption

If you are a Microsoft partner or reseller, until recently your goal was simply to get your customer to sign an Enterprise Agreement. But now, more is required. 

Success isn’t based on getting an agreement signed; success now means consumption. For you to benefit from and protect your Enterprise Agreement, your customer now needs to activate and use their Microsoft product subscriptions of Office 365, Windows 10 or Office 2016. 

It’s simple: If your partners aren’t using their Microsoft subscriptions, you aren’t getting paid.

Focusing on consumption likely represents a significant shift in how you do business. Once an agreement is signed, you need to continue working with your customers to educate their users on the advantages of the product subscriptions. But before you can educate your partners, you need to first educate yourself

Here are three things you can do to maximize your Office 365 knowledge.

1. Know who you’re selling to

Whether it’s ProPlus, E1, E3 or E5, your customer’s Office 365 licensing plan needs to revolve around the end user. Even if you’re selling to IT professionals and administrators, remember that their own users are driving their decision-making. That means you need to know the needs of the end user and how they work within Office 365.

Before Office 365, enterprise productivity came through Microsoft SharePoint. Selling the Office 365 platform on a regular basis, it’s likely you already have a deep knowledge of the platform. But developing a comprehensive understanding of SharePoint is important for customers who are looking to move from SharePoint to Office 365. Understanding how end users will transition from SharePoint Server to SharePoint Online in Office 365 is your first step to selecting the right Office 365 licensing plan for your customers. 

2. Know the platform

Office 365 licensing options exist to offer businesses of all shapes and sizes the ability to improve productivity. For Microsoft cloud solution providers, this requires you to have an extensive knowledge of the platform’s set of applications, from the Enterprise E1 offering to the comprehensive Enterprise E5. Other applications include:

• The Office Suite 
• Outlook 
• Exchange 
• OneDrive 
• SharePoint 
• Skype for Business 
• Teams 
• Yammer 
• Power BI

And the list goes on! Some customers won’t need these specific applications but you will still need an advanced knowledge of all Office 365 applications to determine which tools can help and which licensing option will offer the most. 

3. Know the environment

The success of Microsoft cloud partners does not come solely from the sales aspect. The ability to evaluate, plan, deploy and operate Office 365 services for your customers is critical to ensuring they settle in (and stay settled in) to their new environment. This requires a full understanding of how to set up an Office 365 tenant, including the setup of existing user identities and the skills required to plan, configure and manage an Office 365 environment. This will include:

• Planning and piloting Office 365 deployment 
• Managing Office 365 users, groups and licenses 
• Configuring client connectivity to Office 365 
• Planning and configuring directory synchronization between Azure AD and on-premises AD DS 
• Configuring Exchange Online services, recipients and permissions 
• Implementing Skype for Business Online deployment

Developing a deep understanding of the Office 365 environment in its entirety can also help you obtain the MCSA: Office 365 certification and provide an expert level of knowledge to your customers. By ensuring your consultants and IT experts are trained in the latest Microsoft tools and technologies, you can offer the full range of services to help your customers get the most out of Office 365. 

While getting your customer to use the product they subscribed to requires additional work, it will create deeper relationships, resulting in more business opportunities. In our next blog post, posting in May, we’ll explain how training your customers can boost consumption and strengthen your relationships! 

Related Training

Enabling and Managing Office 365 (M20347)
Office 365 End User Training 

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