Most Microsoft Cloud Solution Providers (CSPs) hit a point where a distinct set of manual processes begin to frustrate business growth. It then becomes a question of — do we hire more people to contend with the rise in cloud sales and a larger customer-base — or can automation play a role in handling the complexity associated with cloud subscription management and the CSP program in particular?
In this article, we explain the real scale benefits of implementing a complete CSP automation solution that manages the end-to-end order management process, from cloud procurement and provisioning, to billing and customer self-service.
Cloud vendor reconciliation files, including those sent for Office 365 and Azure, can be very time consuming for your accounting team to process and require such a high level of attention to detail that costly mistakes are hard to avoid.
With a good automation solution, you can remove the pains of cost reconciliation entirely and even get a 100% accuracy guarantee as well—and not just across Microsoft services, but for any vendor service you choose to sell to customers. This means that you can expand your cloud portfolio and increase your cross-sell and upsell potential to maximize revenue opportunity with every customer.
Billing Queries? What Billing Queries?
Billing queries can take up a huge portion of your sales and support teams’ time—and in an era where customers are used to managing their accounts online, it’s a pity not to offer them self-service access to their cloud costs and usage information.
Automation has the potential to facilitate easy billing breakdowns, allowing you to clear your company’s inboxes of cost related queries so that your staff can dedicate more time to higher value activities including handling more complex requests and (up)selling.
The Single Pane View and Streamlined Workflows
Your teams, including accounting, sales and support, are probably using different systems to manage different parts of the sales/customer lifecycle, which means that there is no unified view of your services, or of your customers and their transactions. This disconnect means that important data is left in silos, with no clear oversight or assurance that every message and transaction is being communicated, recorded and processed successfully.
A CSP automation platform can streamline workflows and give your internal teams the tools and information they need to procure, quote, sell, provision, bill and audit services, including Office 365 and Azure. Automation can convert product configuration, pricing, sales quotes, order management and contract lifecycles into a one-time activity, with actions requiring no more than a mouse-click or text field completion. This means that, even as you grow, you have a system that promotes efficiency and accuracy.
Accelerate Time to Value with Customer Self-service
Customer self-service was invented to boost sales and speed up time to value for customers and businesses alike. For CSPs, customer self-service offers the excellent opportunity to beat lower margins on popular staples like Office 365 and Azure. By enabling customers to buy, provision and manage their accounts themselves, including upgrading and downgrading their cloud services to meet their organization’s requirements, your team’s involvement can evolve to become mainly supervisory, even if you have a fast-growing number of customers and cloud subscriptions to support.
Market Agility and the Expandable Portfolio of Services
A good CSP automation solution will enable you to set up and start selling Microsoft cloud services to your customers within hours. This is the beginning of your fast track to growth. It’s also important to have the facility to click and add other cloud vendors’ services in addition to your core offer. This will help you to remain agile in a market that demands flexibility. By steadily and prudently growing your product and service portfolio you can also target a much broader range of specialized customer needs.