2-page Partner Case Study
Posted: 4/11/2014
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Softcat Reseller Expands Revenues and Lowers Cost of Sale with New Volume Licensing Agreement

IT reseller Softcat wanted to grow revenue from new and existing customers particularly for cloud services. With the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA), which integrates traditional on-premises software and online services purchases under a single agreement, the sales process is simpler and revenue opportunities have expanded due to greater customer insight while new, automated tools have reduced the cost of sales.

Business Needs
One of the fastest growing IT resellers in the United Kingdom, Softcat is committed to providing its customers with the right combination of technology, services, and support to help them succeed. This has fueled continued growth for the company—revenues rose by 30 percent in its last financial year.

Through its team of 80 dedicated experts, Softcat has built a trusted relationship with Microsoft. A member of the Microsoft Partner Network, Softcat has multiple Gold competencies and has been a Licensing Solution Provider for 10 years. More than 25 percent of Softcat’s revenue comes from selling Microsoft-based solutions. “Softcat has focused on Microsoft products since we began, but over the last three or four years, our relationship with Microsoft has really deepened as we’ve invested heavily in training and increased our specialist licensing and service teams,” says Colin Brown, Managing Director at Softcat. “Microsoft really is at the heart of what we do, and almost all of our customer relationships begin with Microsoft products.”

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* The direction that Microsoft is taking with the introduction of the next generation of Volume Licensing is perfect…. since it’s been launched, we’ve seen significant revenue from the MPSA. *

Colin Brown
Managing Director, Softcat

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As part of its focus on growth, Softcat is continually innovating and looking at ways to better serve customers while increasing efficiency, simplifying the sales process, and expanding revenue opportunities. Historically, the company has focused on the small and midsize business sector but is expanding its operations to target larger organizations and to sell a wider range of solutions, particularly as its customers adopt cloud computing models.

“Moving toward cloud solutions and cloud licensing has been a journey for every reseller,” says Brown. “We were looking for easier ways of managing licensing for our customers, while simplifying the sales process, whether they were buying on-premises or cloud services, while we expand our range of target opportunities.”

Solution
Softcat was one of the first resellers to adopt the new Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA) under the next generation of Microsoft Volume Licensing (NGVL) initiative.

The MPSA represents a significant step toward simplifying and lowering the costs of selling Microsoft solutions, while presenting new sales opportunities through an improved agreement structure that integrates software and online services, into a single volume licensing agreement, all underpinned by a new set of systems and tools.

With a single, non-expiring agreement that provides purchasing for an entire organization (or group of organizations) to achieve the best volume discount, the MPSA delivers greater value from licensed assets, more flexible purchasing, and simplified asset management. It also expands revenue opportunities for resellers as it provides greater customer insight through a single view of all a customer’s licensed assets, which helps resellers to identify cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.

New systems and tools, such as the Microsoft Volume Licensing Partner Center (MVLPC), reduce complexity and time by automating manual tasks, lowering the cost of sales. “Previously, we had to use multiple tools to fully manage or administer an agreement. We’ve now got one tool, which allows us to not only set up the agreements but to place orders, view product downloads, access price lists, and invoice details,” says Anita Whitburn, Microsoft Operations Manager at Softcat.

Softcat sees the MPSA as a good fit for evolving reseller needs. “From a seller’s point of view, it simplifies the sales process by automating much of the sales cycle and providing a single agreement that we can use,” says Jon Foulkes, Microsoft Licensing Specialist at Softcat. ”This allows us to build a closer working relationship with our customers, to understand their needs quickly and easily, and also to actually sell the services and products that they need through the MPSA model.”

Benefits
With the MPSA, Softcat is seeing benefits in four key areas:
  • Faster, simpler sales process. Time from initial conversation to deployment is dramatically reduced for Softcat MPSA customers. “Our first MPSA customer decided they wanted to deploy Microsoft Office 365. We presented them with the MPSA, which they signed, and they self-provisioned the service within 24 hours,” says Whitburn.

  • Increased revenues. By providing greater customer insight, the MPSA opens up new sales opportunities. “The MPSA makes it straightforward for us to turn a simple opportunity into a larger sale,” says Brown. “We’re able to lead customers from the old way of licensing to the new cloud-based model, providing us with new infrastructure and professional services opportunities.”

  • Lower cost of sale. Efficiency is increased because multiple sales systems are replaced by the MVLPC, which is built on a common data model and provides a single interface for both Softcat and its customers. “MPSA and the new tools make our life from an operations perspective far, far simpler. It allows us to do the same administration functions in a much shorter space of time,” says Whitburn.

  • Closer customer relationships. The MPSA is being well-received by customers, who appreciate the simpler, flexible, and faster buying process, and the ability to improve software asset management by viewing all licenses through the portal. “With the MPSA, customers are happy and we’re happy too. We can quickly get an agreement set up, and customers get their licenses and services provisioned quickly. The MPSA gives us this ability,” says Foulkes.

“I think the direction that Microsoft is taking with the introduction of the next generation of Volume Licensing is perfect. Our partnership with Microsoft and the new MPSA works for us and our customers. Already, even in the short time since it’s been launched, we've seen significant revenue from the MPSA,” says Brown.

For more information about other Microsoft customer successes, please visit:
www.microsoft.com/casestudies

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