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Crayon transforms the licensing journey of a key solution provider

The challenge of untapped potential

To capture the full opportunity of the new commerce experience (NCE), Cegid—an independent software vendor (ISV)—needed to rethink how they allocated time and resources.

A unique, purpose-built plan

Microsoft partner Crayon, an accomplished IT services company, created a path for fellow Microsoft partner Cegid to transition from a direct bill CSP partner to an indirect reseller model.

Refreshed priorities and a stronger bottom line

Crayon’s expertise and robust platform made for a smooth transition, which allowed Cegid to focus on their core business.

Crayon, a global, cloud-first IT services provider based in Norway, approaches challenges with creativity and a deep understanding of their customers. Known for a customer-first approach in helping businesses migrate, modernize and optimize in the cloud, Crayon has a long-standing, successful relationship with Microsoft: they’ve won multiple Partner of the Year awards and attained all six Solutions Partner designations, which earned them the rare seventh designation of Microsoft Cloud Solutions Partner.

But Crayon’s capabilities go beyond technological achievements. As a direct and indirect Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) partner, they are considered a trusted advisor to their customers. They deliver transformative value-added services built on Cloud IQ, their CSP platform created to help customers manage their cloud environments. Crayon recently demonstrated their creativity and flexibility as a Cloud Solution Provider when working with Microsoft partner Cegid, a successful, France-based independent software vendor (ISV) that provides business management solutions.

The two companies began their relationship seven years ago when Cegid hired Crayon to optimize their software spend. Last year, Cegid came to Crayon with an exciting new challenge brought on by the launch of the Microsoft new commerce experience (NCE). The NCE offers customers a consistent, simplified way to transact, with greater flexibility in how and where they buy. It’s designed to enable faster time to value with solutions from Microsoft and partners, optimize costs, and increase price predictability. To support it, partners are required to integrate their CSP platform with Partner Center. In order to fully harness the opportunity within the NCE, Cegid would need to rethink how they managed their customers and allocated resources.

“Our obsession from day one was not about distribution or transacting. It was about how we can help Cegid concentrate on their business and allocate their resources in the most optimized way.”

- Guillame Poitier, General Manager at Crayon France

A creative approach to NCE changes

Drawing on years of partnership, Crayon examined Cegid’s business model. Cegid was a Microsoft direct bill CSP partner, meaning they purchased and resold products directly from Microsoft. An indirect reseller, by contrast, would purchase and resell products through a CSP indirect provider, such as Crayon.

On one hand, Cegid could keep their direct bill CSP partner status by allocating the time and finances needed to unlock the full potential of the NCE. But Crayon put forth a different idea: Cegid could alter their status altogether, moving from a direct bill partner to an indirect reseller.

By becoming an indirect reseller and working through Crayon to purchase and resell Microsoft products, as well as allowing Crayon to support their transition to the NCE, Cegid would save time and money by leveraging Crayon’s CSP platform. They would also be able to focus more closely on their top priority: providing best-in-class business solutions for their customers.

Initially, the idea gave Cegid pause. Why would they, a large ISV and key Microsoft partner, not want to be a direct bill CSP partner?

Nicholas Waxman, Vice President of Microsoft Alliances and Programs at Crayon, said, “When you have a new change, people are, by nature, afraid. They sometimes have the initial thought that they’re losing some of the control because they no longer have the direct connection to Microsoft, because now they’re no longer a direct partner. And of course, that’s not true at all.”

Cegid would continue to deliver their applications on Azure as an ISV partner and maintain their key Microsoft relationships and access to programs; they would simply shift the management of their CSP business to Crayon.

“Cegid’s core business is not to be a Microsoft reseller,” said Poitier, referencing the company’s excellent HR and retail solutions. By contrast, Crayon had invested in building their proprietary CSP platform, complete with the tools and processes needed to seamlessly manage Cegid’s transition to the NCE.

“The smoothest experience for end customers”

Both Crayon and Cegid are managed partners, and their Microsoft Partner Direct Managers (PDMs) played a central role in managing the shift. Crayon contacted their PDM and explained the idea, detailing their reasoning and the business benefits of the Cegid shift. Then, the Crayon PDM coordinated with the Cegid PDM to align on the plan.

“Once again, we have really great people in front of us at Microsoft that really understood the challenges and helped us convince Cegid that it was the right move for them,” said Poitier.

Once the plan was set, Crayon worked with Cegid to prepare communications that alerted customers to Crayon’s role in transitioning them to the NCE. Then, Crayon built a script that enabled bulk migration. They removed legacy licenses and created new ones within the NCE. Though the process could technically be completed in a few short weeks, Crayon worked at Cegid’s desired pace, moving over 15,000 tenants in a matter of months based on customers’ renewal times.

“It was really building the right automation and, beyond the automation, putting in place the right governance to check on a daily and weekly basis that it was the smoothest and absolutely transparent experience for their end customers,” said Poitier.

Improved profits, new opportunities

The transition was seamless. Cegid’s customers were successfully moved to the NCE without operational disruptions, the shift increased Cegid’s profitability, and the company could fully dedicate themselves to providing their business solutions.

“The transition to Microsoft’s new commerce experience was a complex task, and we knew that we needed a partner with a very strong expertise,” said Pierre Dianteill, Director of Partnerships at Cegid. “That’s why we turned to Crayon. We were impressed by how well Crayon’s teams executed the operation within the designated timeframe, despite the large volume of licenses to be processed. We are extremely satisfied with the results.”

“At the end of the day, from the Cegid point of view, from a financial point of view, this is a very good deal,” said Poitier. “They spend much less, they have a seamless experience, they dedicate less resources to what is not their core business.”

There is a growing market for indirect CSP partners who can help other CSP partners shift their business to better capture opportunity within the NCE. Because Cegid moved the management of their CSP business to Crayon, Cegid also benefits from additional incentives from the NCE, as well as Crayon’s ongoing support.

Reflecting on the success of the transition, Poitier expressed pride in Crayon’s range of capabilities, saying, “We have the best mix of technical, licensing, and Microsoft experts to support our partners focusing on growing their business.”

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