In a recent post we talked about the popularity of the white glove service business model.  There are of course many ways to run a cloud business, and there is another model emerging that at first glance appears to be on the opposite end of the service spectrum, but in practice it is just as valued by the customers it attracts.

Several of our service provider partners have built successful cloud businesses using a low-touch model, which works incredibly well for customers who fall into the do-it-yourself (DIY) category.

Here is a common scenario, written from the cloud provider’s perspective and covering the most common themes we hear in this category.

Scenario – Self-Serve Cloud

We offer discounted public cloud to small and medium sized enterprises. New customers sign up for our cloud through an online process.  

We are tight on resources and look for efficiencies wherever we can, such as having customers place their own orders for new cloud services through an online order form. We process orders manually once the customer submits the form, and it takes several days and a few different people to provision a new service. 

Having a more robust self-service UI with some automation built in would be a tremendous help.  We need our small IT team to be focusing less on provisioning VMs and more on enhancing our cloud infrastructure. Any efficiencies we can gain in the billing department would be a big plus. We only accept payment by credit card, and currently process each charge manually.

The more streamlined our operations can be the better it is for our employees, customers and the overall business.

 

Provider Requirements and the AirSembly Platform

1. Operational efficiency

For any cloud provider, regardless of how many employees they have, finding ways to streamline operations saves time and improves margins. AirSembly is a complete business management platform for cloud providers, providing efficiencies for sales, finance, IT, support, and most importantly for your customers.  

2. Self-serve marketplace

Once you’ve created and priced your products, the AirSembly self-serve marketplace provides customers (and channel partners) an easy way to search for and order the products they need. Providing an on-demand marketplace increases customer satisfaction and allows them to order products proactively.  This frees up your employees for other business critical tasks.

3. Automated provisioning

The experience of ordering through the self-serve marketplace is enhanced even further when a customer discovers their order has been provisioned within minutes of submitting. AirSembly features fully automated provisioning for vCenter, vCloud Director and vCloud Air. For a provider with limited technical resources this is a huge win. Customers are on-boarded in minutes with zero touch from IT.

4. Automated finance process

The self-serve marketplace and automated provisioning are very helpful on their own, but to bring it all together into a complete business management platform AirSembly offers billing and chargeback, which includes automatic invoicing and credit card processing. Fully viewable consumption metrics are fed into the billing system to ensure accurate invoicing.

5. Self-management

Though not covered in the scenario above, this is worth mentioning given the do-it-yourself nature of the customer base in a lower-touch model. AirSembly offers customers ability to manage their environment. For example, customers can start, stop, reconfigure, clone or delete VMs, as well as view usage statistics. AirSembly allows cloud providers to give customers a measure of control – something they often feel a loss of when moving to the cloud.

Conclusion

AirSembly delivers for the provider and customers in a lower-touch, do-it-yourself business model.  Customers in this environment often want control, and AirSembly gives them that ability, while automated provisioning offers fast delivery of new services. The automation is great for the provider, saving employees valuable time and increasing margins on every order.

New to AirSembly?

Regardless of your model, AirSembly is flexible enough to provide you with end-to-end management of your cloud business. If you’d like to know more, or if you’d like to arrange for a demo and a discussion about your cloud business, contact us today.

 

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