Conventionally, most Microsoft partners and, especially, Cloud Solutions Providers (CSPs) have relied on a manual set up to cater to their customer demands and business needs. While in a small set up, manual processes make sense, however, as CSPs embark on a scale-up journey, transition to automation of major processes and experiences is essential to unlock unparalleled business growth and efficiency. Invariably, automation is the key for CSPs to scale their business benefits by accelerating time to market, facilitating self-service, amongst others.
As customers, services and offerings increase, most businesses believe that hiring more staff members is the only solution to manage the newly added responsibilities. While adding more human resources will be integral to business growth, however, the most efficient and effective route is to deploy human resources for tasks that add greater value than to simply double down on repetitive manual and administrative tasks. Invariably, adoption and deployment of a CSP automation platform will enable CSPs to augment business agility. Here are the top three benefits that CSPs can leverage by unlocking the potential of automation
Seamless accounting and billing
One of the major areas of friction and administrative overheads for CSPs comes in the form of accounting, billing, and invoicing their customers. Pro-rata billing, usage reconciliation, multiple invoices, are just a few of the challenges that CSPs face when it comes to billing and invoicing. Reliance on long spreadsheet calculations is prone to human-error and may lead to revenue leakage, delayed payments, and customer frustration.
Fortunately, an effective CSP automation platform will take this challenge out and enable CSPs to focus on customer success over simple bills reconciliation. Your human resources can spend their time and effort on creating strategies for market expansion and creating better experiences, while the automation platform takes care of the rest. Right from managing the dynamic pricing by Microsoft to prevent leakage to automated usage reconciliation to pro rata billing, an automation platform will take the friction out, to promote seamless accounting and billing. Additionally, it can help you avoid some of the top billing and invoicing mistakes that CSPs are vulnerable to. You can read more about it here.
Facilitate customer self-service to serve at scale
A trend of self-service is being observed across all industries where customers are seeking more control to address their needs and demands instantly. Under conventional circumstances, whenever a customer wants an add-on subscription or wants to downgrade, they request the CSP on the designated portal and one of the resources from the CSP’s office responds to the request and initiates the change. However, this is not the most efficient process as there is a significant time lag from the time a request is made to the time changes reflect. At the same time, this requires a person to attend to these requests which don’t really need human intervention as there is no value add.
In such a scenario, an automation platform can empower customers to purchase, provision and manage cloud resources directly from a CSP’s marketplace. There are multiple benefits that prompt growth for a CSP business. Firstly, the instant gratification brought by extending the control to the customer augments experience and stickiness. Secondly, the role of resources in this case becomes a supervisory one where they just need to oversee the processes and intervene if any concern arises, allowing them to invest their time in creating value. Finally, this allows CSPs to serve customers at scale as they can seamlessly manage their own subscriptions. When CSPs don’t need a personal executive to service each customer, their customer base can increase exponentially.
Streamline workflows to promote efficiency and accuracy
In a conventional set up, different verticals of a CSP business like marketing, sales, accounting leverage different tools and dashboards. This is a siloed approach, which prevents meaningful collaboration, especially in the face of a virtual workforce. Each one of them understands a part of a customer’s lifecycle, however, there is a lack of a unified view which prevents them from seeing the customer as one entity, rather than multiple small parts.
This prevents different executives in your team from leveraging the data collected by the preceding or succeeding executive in the customer lifecycle. At the same time, it is possible that critical pieces of information might be lost in translation from one team to another. A CSP automation platform can help bridge these silos and streamline workflows to give a unified view of all the information they need to procure, quote, sell and service the customers more effectively. In fact, with the right information in the right place, a lot of customer servicing will just require one click, adding to efficiency and accuracy.
Unlock your growth today!
To cut a long story short, automation for CSPs is the key to augment market agility and responsiveness and ensure business continuity even when a crisis hits. In addition to eliminating the administrative hassles, automation enables CSPs to serve a larger customer base, with a personalized approach, based on their specific needs and demands. This will add efficiency, effectiveness, and accuracy to your growth journey to make it sustainable and successful.