Microsoft Australia has announced the latest wave of partners to join its one-tier Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program, which allows them to own the billing for products such as Office 365.
The new list, which was revealed at Ignite on the Gold Coast, includes Rackspace, Saasplaza, Datacom, Dimension Data and Buttonwood Cloud Exchange, along with Data#3, which was revealed as a one-tier CSP in earlier this month.
They join a small group of CSPs from the pilot program and first wave, including Insight Australia, Ensyst, iiNet, Melbourne IT, Empired subsidiary OBS,CloudFirst, OzHosting and Nimbal, which is a joint venture of award-winning partners Kloud and XCentral. Most Microsoft partners will go via a two-tier CSP model, a method of reselling cloud services via distributors Ingram Micro and Rhipe.
Phil Goldie, Microsoft Australia's director of partner business and development, said the new one-tier partners would "find that the benefits of CSP are numerous".
"Partners own and control the customer billing, they are able to differentiate by selling integrated offers and services in a single customer package and can directly provision, manage and support their customers to drive higher customer satisfaction and services revenue.
"CSP partners have the ability to offer the entire portfolio of Microsoft solutions and services and create custom offerings for their end user customers, giving them a significant advantage over the rest of the ecosystem," added Goldie.
Among the heavyweight IT providers is a small startup, Buttonwood, founded by Allan King, former chief of Canberra IT provider Infront Systems. Buttonwood connects customers to cloud services from the likes of AWS and Azure, with plans to offer services from Telstra and Dimension Data by Christmas.
NextDC and Megaport also shared connectivity news at Microsoft Ignite, with both revealed as offering Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365.
"ExpressRoute for Office 365 enables customers to establish a private, managed connection to Office 365, delivering many customer benefits including more predictable network performance, the ability to better manage network availability, the reliability that comes with dedicated connectivity and additional data privacy," said Goldie.
The inaugural Microsoft Ignite is taking place 17-20 November on the Gold Coast. It replaced longstanding Microsoft conference TechEd.