Techy to Techy: An MSP’s Guide to Partnering with Microsoft Azure

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Why Did 1Path Decide to Become a Microsoft Azure Shop?

1Path represents hundreds of small and medium businesses across the US. This makes us in-step with common service demands.  Utilizing the Public Cloud is now a logical and fundamental extension of the everyday business activities of Azure-powered solutions in SaaS platforms.  To support their efforts means to understand and excel in Azure. 

The associated licensing benefits that result from wholesale migrations to Office 365 naturally pulled our clients into the Azure ecosystem.  Also, our Everything as a Service consumption model allows 1Path to expand in many directions at once (communications, hosting, device management, identity management) for a client while maintaining compatibility between those various platforms.

1Path’s Journey Toward Our Azure Partnership

1Path has always been affiliated with cloud solutions, from homegrown to public and private to shared.  

Likewise, we have solutions delivered in each spectrum of cloud offerings.  Recreating our products out of Azure DNA demands continual education of our engineering body, perpetual analysis of which solutions work the best, and the propensity to dive into deeper waters with innovation. 

Our engineers are provided career path training within the Microsoft and Azure platforms, at 1Path’s expense, to learn the products through hands-on materials, Azure hosted labs, and on-the-job training.  1Path maintains a Microsoft Premier Partnership, and works with Azure directly through their Partner Development Teams program, to create effective solutions and expertly driven campaigns.

How 1Path Utilizes Azure

1Path’s footprint in Azure is always growing.  For example, we leverage Azure Virtual Machines for a custom-built Veeam failover environment that is powering our latest 1Path Backup managed backup product. Azure also acts as the secondary, geographically redundant, infrastructure of our independently hosted 1Path Private Cloud.  

As another example, we manage all our Azure expenses and reconciliation from a custom-built Power BI dashboard and data warehouse within Azure.

What Considerations Should an MSP Make While Planning an Expansion into Azure and Investing Time and Resources?

Ensure that the vision to invest in Azure is supported at all levels of the business: every entity must be on-board with the push.  Start with small opportunities and grow. Once clients enjoy the excellent benefits of one service, it may be time to discuss the addition of more services. 

Also, ensure that your sales department and your product design group keep pace with the demand of your Azure solutions.  Avoid outpacing yourself in the effort to merely secure more revenue without having the backend to support the endeavors.  Ensure that each solution you rollout covers concepts of profitability, support, security, and functionality.  Designate a team and a leader to promote the charge!

Are There Tools Available to Help in This Effort?

The Partner Center is a great place to start. The centralized dashboards provide an overview of usage as well as quick access into tenant management.  There are many playbooks available as well; read and skim through these to help foster your content and round-out the overall picture of implementing and managing a particular solution. 

Likewise, weekly meetings with your Microsoft Account Managers will aid your efforts to locate specific tools and resources.


What Kind of Support Can MSPs Get from Microsoft?

Microsoft is a large company, and as such does a massive amount of business with MSPs.  If your company wants to be successful, it will need to commit time, resources, and opportunities to the effort. Microsoft will respond with some of the industry’s best customer support and service. 

Their Partner Development representatives can quickly pull in any level of technical resource to educate, design, or simply discuss a particular Microsoft solution.  Expect superb communication at a technical level. 

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