Pax8 and Microsoft August update: Inspire 2023 highlights, Copilot, and more

Pax8 and Microsoft logos

To stay current with the latest updates happening with Microsoft, one of the leading vendors for our managed service provider (MSP) partners, make sure to register for our monthly Microsoft partner update webcast. Below are the top takeaways from our August update.

Inspire 2023 highlights

Microsoft Inspire 2023 recently took place, and we’ve collected some of the highlights and topics of discussion for MSPs from the show. You can also read both the Day 1 and Day 2 blogs written by the Pax8 experts who were there.

The opportunity to work with nonprofits

Microsoft is empowering MSPs to work with nonprofits as part of its mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.​

Together with Microsoft, MSPs can help nonprofits achieve better funding, increase cybersecurity, and enable hybrid work. Already, Microsoft worked with 14,000 partners last year to serve more than 300,000 nonprofit organizations, and even then, it was just barely touching on the total addressable market of 10 million nonprofits.

At Pax8, we believe it is critical to support local businesses by skilling up and enabling our MSP community to best guide and implement solutions that drive profit, reduce risk, and streamline process for nonprofit customers. That’s why we provide necessary training and solutions to empower nonprofits, including:

Modern Work

    • Bing Chat Enterprise: AI-powered chat for work
    • Microsoft 365 Copilot: AI-powered work assistant

Dynamics 365

    • Microsoft Sales Copilot: role-based Copilot for sellers to increase productivity and personalize every interaction
    • Power Automate Process Mining: process intelligence tool for transforming business operations

The Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program

New designations within the Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program were announced to help differentiate your technical expertise. These new designations are support services​, training services​, and ISV. In addition, new additions to specializations were announced, including business apps, data and AI and infrastructure.

Microsoft also presented many ways for MSPs to grow their businesses with AI services, such as to build on the Azure AI platform and Copilot stack, differentiate your services with AI certification and enablement, leverage investments and incentives, and scale your AI go-to-market plan.

Program updates

Granular delegated admin privileges (GDAP)​

Microsoft has begun transitioning delegated admin privileges (DAP) to GDAP for customer tenants and has partnered with Pax8 to transition all Pax8 end customer relationships to GDAP. For new end customers, Pax8 will prompt partners in the checkout flow to establish GDAP between Pax8 and the end customer. A partner can bypass this but should then establish GDAP.

Consistent global pricing for the Microsoft cloud​

Starting Sept 1, 2023, pricing for Microsoft cloud and software services will be adjusted in the following currencies:​

  • AUD: +9% cloud and on-prem
  • NZD: +7% cloud
  • CHF: -9% cloud
  • CAD: +6% cloud and on-prem

Deprecation of legacy offerings

Cloud service provider (CSP) partners currently providing legacy, license-based pricing and offers across all markets, take note: Multiple legacy offers are being deprecated.​ In addition, some commercial license-based legacy offers available in New Commerce will no longer be available for purchase as legacy subscriptions.​

​To facilitate this transition, CSP Partner Center has made more than 400 legacy license-based offers migratable to New Commerce. Partners who wish to acquire new subscriptions for migratable offers will need to obtain the corresponding New Commerce product SKU.​

Teams rooms devices and licenses

Teams Room Standard and Premium will be retired and replaced with Teams Room Basic and Teams Room Pro. Active subscriptions will retain functionality until the renewal date, upon which subscriptions must be transitioned to a new SKU.​ By September 30, 2023, all Teams Room devices must be licensed with Teams Room Basic or Pro or they will be blocked by Microsoft.

Azure Resource Manager (ARM) security alerts​

Microsoft has introduced fresh security alerts within ARM including workload deployment, billing meter spikes, identity risk signals, crypto mining, and quota increase requests.​ Pax8 advises that partners promptly activate these new security alerts through Partner Center and/or API to mitigate any financial impact to their business.​

Azure spending management

All global partners with customers that have active Azure plan subscriptions should now have access to the Azure Spending UI page. ​This new feature enables partners to easily monitor and manage monthly Azure budgets for customers in a streamlined experience featuring access usage data and insights, and spending alerts.

Tips on the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program

Find the latest tips on the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program below:

  • Skilling requirements: Certifications identified for retirement continue to count toward your partner capability score for one year after retirement or until your individual certification expires, whichever is sooner.
  • Modern Work: Microsoft Viva is now an eligible workload for Modern Work under net customer adds, deployments, and usage growth, and you may now begin earning points for the Viva workloads you manage.
  • Security: Microsoft has adjusted Solutions Partner for Security designation requirements, including new prerequisites. Visit Partner Center to see how this impacts your score. ​

Security and AI

Large language models like ChatGPT have taken the world by storm, and ​​Microsoft is helping MSPs lead the charge with ethical, practical, generative AI. activation that starts with Microsoft Cloud.

Use cases include assisted coding, personalized recommendation, speech transcription, and insider risk management. Generative AI also filters into many Microsoft apps and services, such as Microsoft Teams and PowerPoint. ​

About Azure OpenAI Service

With Azure OpenAI Service, organizations can use the most advanced AI models, including GPT-3.5 and GPT-4, Codex, and DALL-E 2, as-is or adapt and customize the AI models to meet their specifications. Azure OpenAI Service also incorporates Microsoft’s Responsible AI approach that includes features like filtering and content moderation to ensure that coding and language AI models are being used only for their intended purposes.

It’s also the driver for the Microsoft Copilot framework, with Copilot acting as an AI orchestration tool that connects applications to a foundational AI model. With Copilot, you can connect your organization’s data to a pre-built AI model, and then use Copilot to receive answers that are specific to your applications, or your data—all done on a ChatGPT-like interface that doesn’t require technical language to use.

Copilot Microsoft 365 integration

Copilot is integrated into Microsoft 365 in two ways. ​First, it’s embedded in apps such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams. Second, the brand-new Business Chat works across all Microsoft 365 apps and data in real time to turn data into knowledge, such as summarizing a customer’s current status, highlighting project milestones or risks, or creating new content using references from across your data. ​

Microsoft 365 Copilot is currently in private preview and is scheduled to be available by June 2024.

Microsoft Security Copilot

Microsoft has unveiled Security Copilot, which lies at the heart of its security portfolio. It allows security professionals to be more productive and to fully leverage the security solutions they are using by looking at data and signals from across the Microsoft security suite.

As with Microsoft’s other copilots, this one allows users to ask questions about security incidents and can drastically reduce response time to minutes instead of hours. As an AI-powered assistant, it allows users to efficiently scan organizational data and provides a deep understanding of security incidents to catch what may have been missed before.

Dynamics 365

At Pax8, we enable MSPs to offer Dynamics 365 Sales Professional and Business Central. Dynamics 365 allows users to create quotes, process orders, and ​submit invoices from Outlook​; access, analyze, and update data within Excel​; and collaborate on opportunities through Teams.

We offer two implementation options, including:

  • A self-guided approach with a setup checklist, knowledge base portal, and support access​ that starts at $299 per month, or fixed-price, fixed-scope plans that employ a consultant to implement core “out-of-the-box” modules of the software, starting at a $9,000 one-time fee.
  • A more hand-off route wherein Pax8 will clarify to the customer we are only there to help with implementation, while the MSP handles the rest of the relationship and other product offerings.

Pax8 will also help with co-sales, a process by which Pax8 can help with documentation, demo, proposal, and Q&A. We can also help with marketing to end customers, webinars, internal sales training, and referrals.

Don’t miss our next webcast

Be sure to attend our next webcast on September 11 so you can stay informed about the next round of crucial Microsoft updates.

Register for the Microsoft webcast series now