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Introduction to Cloud Reseller Commerce Platform (RCP)

Introduction to Cloud Reseller Commerce Platform (RCP)

What is Cloud Reseller Commerce Platform?

Author: Ravi C K/Monday, June 27, 2022/Categories: General, Products, Hybr

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Any business entering into reselling or adding reselling to existing services portfolio, needs the following at the minimum: a white-labelable web portal, a marketplace to advertise your offerings, and a way for customers to purchase those offers. Typical Control Panel solutions (aka pre-cloud era hosting solutions) provide some of these functionalities, so if you are a service provider already using one of them, you can sort of accomplish parts of reselling through that.

However, as more resellers onboard the growing number of Reseller Programs offered by top Cloud Service Providers covering usage, license, or subscription-based services, there is an increased demand to deliver a centralized platform that is beyond just a control panel; one that handles the end-to-end business process from a) the business administration side of things, like onboarding new tenants, billing, etc. and b) end-user self-service and management. Resellers need a platform that can drive their business and their tenants’ scenarios.   Such a comprehensive solution is called as Reseller Commerce Platform (RCP).

Traditionally, Customers expect the following from a Reseller:

  • Be a trusted advisor in making the right choices while procuring resources and handle all the complexity related to that
  • Act as a single point of contact across various providers and services
  • Get better pricing that may not be easily available from the market
  • Offer value-added services, hosted services on top of off-the-shelve procurements

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In addition, todays’ customers expect the following from a Reseller:

  • Bring in cloud expertise that the customer does not have in-house
  • Help keeping cloud spend under control, optimize cloud costs and avoid wastage
  • Offer support and managed services across various cloud services, as most organizations may not have internal operations teams well-versed across all cloud services
  • Produce single billing invoice across usage, license, and subscription-based resources

Reseller Business Flow:

There are many aspects of running any business, most of which involve determining the target customer base, marketing & sales strategy, and implementing processes such as support model, billing, and so on. Following are some of the activities that are specific to reseller business:

  • Determine Cloud Service Providers and Services to resell
  • Find other value-added services that can be offered on top of the off-the-shelve products
  • Build a marketplace to offer the services
  • Configure pricing, promotions, discounts, margins, create bundles, offers, and so on
  • Generate leads, invite and onboard customers
  • Help customers discover services and lead them to procurement
  • Provide ongoing support to customers, and this may be related to additional purchases, managing existing purchases, and so on
  • Up-sell, cross-sell value-added services
  • Provide ongoing usage and billing information to the customers, so there is no surprise at the end of the month
  • Generate a unified invoice for all the services consumed by the customer, with transparency and details about every single line item
  • Handle billing disputes efficiently

o   Ability to drill down into details on daily/hourly basis for self-diagnosis and reconciliation

o   Have billing history and trends to compare with previous months

o   Ability to connect any billing charge with the customer action (auditability)

o   Ability for customers to raise/escalate a billing dispute easily and follow a standardized support workflow

  • Have unified management, billing, and reporting across all things consumed by the customer, including usage-, license-, and subscription-based products

A reseller business has various parts working together on an ongoing basis to accomplish the above. Following are the high-level phases in a typical reseller business process:

From the tenant perspective, a company or user working with a reseller has the following needs:

A well-designed Reseller Commerce Platform (RCP) would have features to support the unique needs of both resellers and tenants.

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Centralized Administration and Management features for Resellers:

  • Multi-Level Reselling with Multi-Tenancy
  • Fine-grained role-based access control
  • Flexible rate card management
  • Ability to deliver multiple offers, promotions, and target audiences with Marketplace customization
  • Automated ingestion of billing and usage data from providers
  • Automated billing calculation for down-level tenants
  • Ability to do Markups, Discounts, and Apply Fees
  • Integrations with top Cloud Platforms and Services
  • Integrations with On-Premises Platforms
  • Extensibility to bring in custom services data and bill them
  • Customize invoices, billing periods, processing rules for region-specific taxes, Foreign Exchange conversions, etc.
  • Automation and events-based system to manage various things like auto-provisioning, suspend/resume subscription life cycle management based on payment status, etc.
  • REST API and import facilities to integrate with upstream systems
  • Ability to export usage and billing data for integration with downstream or legacy Billing systems

Self-Service Tenant Administration and Management features:

  • A sophisticated Marketplace experience to discover and make purchasing decisions with ease
  • Pricing information built-in to marketplace items with the ability to compare prices is a big value add
  • Manage licenses, increase, decrease counts, or update license assignments
  • Manage role-based access and custom roles within the tenant company
  • Top-notch reporting, dashboards, and analytics
  • Transparent utilization and ongoing billing reports
  • Auditability
  • Enterprise-grade multi-level approval workflows
  • Payment Gateway integrations
  • Credits and Wallet features
  • Pre-paid, Post-paid, and hybrid payment plans
  • Cloud FinOps include Cost and Budget Management
  • Cloud Management and Automation

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Here are the key takeaways when choosing a Reseller Commerce Platform (RCP):

  1. Unified Marketplace to offer off-the-shelve products and your custom / value-added services
  2. The flexible pricing system that will support any billing model you want to support
  3. A platform that supports running any marketing type with bundling, offer promotions, and credits.
  4. Integrations with all off-the-shelve Cloud Service Providers (AWS, Azure, GCP, O365, etc.)
  5. Integrations with on-premises platforms such as (VMware, System Center, Open Stack, Backup solutions, Azure Stack Hub, Azure Stack HCI, etc.)
  6. Extensibility to support any custom services and custom billing sources
  7. Automated ingestion of usage data, cost/invoice data, and ability to split one bill from a CSP to apply and share the cost across multiple tenants
  8. Outstanding administration and reporting experience for your reseller teams: marketing, finance, support
  9. Great self-service experience for your tenants, to name a few: Marketplace, purchase, ongoing visibility, centralized governance & control, unified billing, billing dispute handling, resource/license management, Role-based access control, Analytics, Cost Management
  10. Handle a large volume of data from all services, produce analytical reports, and AI-based recommendations

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