Recurring revenue platform provider, iasset.com, has launched a new cloud billing engine in a bid to simplify internal processes for value-added resellers.
Under the banner of Solano, the automated offering converts consumption data into usable billing information ready for resellers, backed up by enterprise resource planning (ERP) integration.
By automatically combining monthly usage and pricing information for each end-user, Solano aims to accelerates the process “from days to minutes”.
“The cloud billing burden is real,” said Scott Frew, CEO of iasset.com.
According to Frew, iasset.com identified “severe inefficiencies” that resellers have been experiencing when billing customers for consumption-based services.
For example, Microsoft CSP [cloud solution provider] partners who choose to go direct rather than indirect, are struggling to get invoices out in an accurate and timely manner.
“We’ve seen the enormous and complex reconciliation files provided by Microsoft, showing monthly usage for every single product consumed by customers,” Frew explained.
“The trouble is, this file is not even remotely ready for any ERP system to process. As a result, resellers are spending days manually keying in thousands of lines of consumption data just to invoice their customers.
“This is a process that cannot be sustained as a business grows. Not only is it time-consuming and costly, it also slows time to revenue and leaves the door wide open to human error.”
Available immediately, Frew said Solano currently supports direct Microsoft CSP partners, with plans in place to include other major cloud partners - both direct and through distribution - based on customer demand.
“With the new requirements for Microsoft CSP direct soon coming into force, it has become even more critical for resellers to have the right infrastructure in place to manage customer billing effectively,” Frew added. “Solano can help these organisations maintain their partner status.”
In targeting resellers of all shapes and sizes, Frew said Solano allows providers to reduce costs internally, while also redeploying staff away from time-consuming manual roles, which can now be automated.
“During my time in distribution, my whole philosophy on life was that I can’t make more money by pushing the price up, I had to bring costs down to widen my net profit,” said Frew, when speaking to ARN.
“This is all about operational efficiency. We had one reseller employing 10 people for two and a half weeks to process invoicing, and a smaller reseller with six doing the same work.
“So, if you think of the general cost of those people doing that versus what we’re charging, the savings are huge.”
For resellers selling cloud services today, they receive a bill from Microsoft in the form of a CSV file which includes all of the consumption or subscription business that has been running during the past month.
“To give you an example,” explained Frew, “we had a reseller on beta who had four end-users on Azure and Office 365 - the Excel file was 12 metres long with a font size of 10 points. The challenge has always been, how do resellers consume that?
“This is a very simple process - file in, convert and file out. Resellers can put in 12 metres of data and end up with a couple of pages.”
From a signing up standpoint, Frew said the process is simple for resellers.
“A reseller goes to the website, sets up an account and puts in their credit card details,” he said. “We don’t charge for the first 30 days meaning resellers can spin up as many files as they want.
“Resellers then send up that CSV file, we process it and take all the new customers in that file - which can be joined to their ERP system - and then create a billing file. This is consumable for resellers and the turnaround is in seconds.”
While the key focus is on the Microsoft ecosystem of resellers at launch, Frew said iasset.com has the capability to roll out similar features for other cloud providers - such as Amazon Web Services - as demand increases.