For managed service providers of IaaS in the cloud, choosing which value-added services to offer takes some thought. Choose well and you can attract new customers, increase satisfaction among your current ones, and hopefully gain some business efficiencies. For many providers, especially those using a multi-channel go-to-market model, adding a self-serve portal has proven to be an excellent choice.

Log in and go!

A self-serve portal lets providers give distributors, resellers and end customers a web-based UI to buy, provision and manage cloud services.

A move to the cloud often comes with the perception of having a lack of control. The option for customers at all levels in your channel to consume and provision their own IT resources can remove this concern.

Once implemented, a self-serve portal can be as functional and efficient for cloud providers as online banking portals are for financial institutions.

A few uses for a self serve portal:

  • Order new virtual datacenters, virtual machines or other cloud services
  • Automated provisioning
  • Invoicing and payments
  • Resource management and monitoring

If you’re a vCloud Air Network Service Provider, you will need a portal to offer self-serve functionality for vCloud Director. The same is true for vCloud Air, now that VMware has opened it up for providers to resell. More on that news here.

Advantages of the Self-Serve Portal

A portal can be a huge time saver for you and everyone within your channel environment. Because it’s do-it-yourself (DIY) by nature, it reduces service costs within your organization.

Your entire channel can conduct its business with minimal involvement from you. If your portal supports automated provisioning of services then it further reduces the work required by your staff.

Efficiencies gained will be felt up and down the channel.  Orders can be fulfilled more quickly, and billing and chargebacks can be integrated into the process, further saving operations and support costs.

The portal experience can also be personalized by introducing white-labelling, allowing partners to add their own branding and identity.

Self-service equals better service!

It seems somewhat contradictory, but a self-service portal is actually a way to deliver better service to your customers, and it’s proving to be a big win for providers who have this capability.

Many customers prefer the DIY approach because it’s immediate. No calls to make, no waiting for approvals, just log in and complete a transaction. The convenience and immediacy translates into higher customer satisfaction. It just makes sense.

Quick return on investment.

A self-serve portal allows you to be much more efficient with your fulfillment costs.  For example, customers can process orders; meaning you don’t have to have additional IT resources on staff to handle this job function. Alternately the sales team can place orders on behalf of the customer, again, with no need for involvement from IT.  Since orders are automatically provisioned at the time of order, your savings go even farther.

AirVM’s cloud marketplace portal, AirSembly, supports self-serve at the provider, distributor, reseller and end customer levels, and is one of the reasons providers choose AirSembly as their cloud portal.

Carl Johnson, CTO of Parsec, understood the value of self-serve to their business right from the start of their relationship with AirVM.

“We expect the AirSembly platform to enable us to grow with little or no new labor costs as efficiencies gained will more than provide a 100% ROI.”

If you’re considering the self-serve option for your customers, or are looking to implement a complete portal solution, talk to us today. We’d be happy to work with you.

 

 

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