Automatic Catalog Update for Microsoft products
18/03/2020 | Blog
An error-free process to keep your Microsoft Products Catalog updated every month
Every cloud organization faces different challenges daily depending on their size, workforce and way of working. While workloads are getting bigger, automation seems to be crucial in all lines of business, as it minimizes human errors and saves considerable time to your internal teams.
Being a CSP is not easy… And we know that for sure! You probably have team members in your organization such as Cloud Product Managers, who constantly monitor and update your Microsoft products each month. Manually keeping up to date your Microsoft catalog with all the add-ons, old and discontinued SKUs, is neither an easy task, nor a productive one. If the person in charge of these changes or your current automation can’t keep up with the recurring updates, your catalog might end up out of date.So, a time consuming task is to update the Microsoft Catalog, each time Microsoft releases a corresponding update. This is something that could be done for more than 400 products… Moreover, Microsoft is constantly changing their pricing.
Now imagine that you can reduce your workload by 90% and your error rate by 100%! The answer to your problem is the automatic update of MS Services Catalog supported by the interworks.cloud platform.
The automatic update is based on the usage of Microsoft API in order to populate your system with all Microsoft products and add-ons, localized to your language and specific to the region(s) you operate. The biggest values of our solution are:
- The rapid add, change or removal of MS products
- Our reconciliation process which will make sure that you will never miss out on revenue again
- The instant comparative report of what has changed that is available with crucial insights.
Now lets walk through the steps for publishing the new products to your Marketplace. You will first need to define your catalog language and the countries you do business, a default billing cycle and which users can view the new products.
1. Automatic Catalog Update
Microsoft updates its catalog by adding new products or discontinuing old ones, every 1st of the month. By running the Get Services Definition, all catalog changes will be applied into your system. Upon completion of the Get Services Definition process the pop-up will display 3 links with the following:
1. A link with the new products and add-ons added in the platform.
2. A link for viewing which existing products or add-ons have changes regarding their relation. We mark as updated:
a. The products that their list of available add-ons has changed.
b. The add-ons that the list of the related products has changed.
3. A link for viewing which products and add-ons have been marked as discontinued.
From the Billing Tab > Products there is a View drop-down section where you can see all the products described above
Our platform automates the management of Office 365 trials by automatically enabling the trial option for the eligible Office 365 plans and by giving the opportunity to your resellers or end- customers, to get a trial for the plan they wish to evaluate.
The activation of the trial option for the plans that Microsoft allows a free trial is done via the “Get Services Definition” process. This process checks – by calling a Microsoft API – which plans offer a free trial and activates the trial option automatically. The same process also handles any removal of the free trial option from Microsoft side, by disabling this option in the corresponding product inside the platform.Since all Microsoft trials are for 30 days, all Office 365 plans have trial period equal to 30 days.
2. Update the price lists
Through our tool, we facilitate the update of all Microsoft 365 license based products with prices from the official Microsoft partner center excel file. You just need to download Microsoft’s excel from your partner center account and upload it in the tool we have designed for the update of the prices. The system will read the file and proceed to display the results. You should run this tool once per month in order to have your system updated with Microsoft’s prevailing prices. The purchase prices will be updated with your cost prices and the sales prices will be updated with Microsoft SRP prices.
3. Manage the products
The management of the updated products differs depending on the catalog status they have. All new products and add-ons are created with these options: Name, Product Type, Code, Description, Pricing Options, Storefront settings. There are certain actions that need to be taken for the new products:
- Add the new products in your price lists.
- Enable the price protection option. If you want to enable this option for your new products, you can use the Product Importer Tool for updating the “Terms” field that is for setting the price protection period.
- Publish your products to your Storefront. If the new products are part of an existing product group (e.g. Office 365 Business), then you just need to relate the new product with the correspondent product group. Otherwise, you need to publish it in your Storefront.
Regarding all discontinued products and add-ons, you need to de-activate those by selecting the Deactivate action from the products list. We don’t deactivate all the discontinued products automatically, because there are situations where Microsoft discontinues a product for new purchases, but it allows an existing customer with an active subscription for this product to purchase extra licenses. In this scenario what you need to do is not to deactivate the product, but to hide it from your Storefront.
4. Publish the products
The new products imported in your platform are not published to your Marketplace automatically. So, the last step is to review the new products and decide how you’ll publish them in the Marketplace. If the new products are part of an existing product group (e.g. Office 365 Business), then you just need to relate the new products with the correspondent product group. Otherwise, for your new products you need to add the marketing material you want to display and finally publish them in your Marketplace.
5. Stay competitive
Save time and money while staying focused on your CSP results! The amount of pain and time saved by using our platform can be an essential factor of your success and help you be competitive in the fast growing cloud industry. Unlike other cloud platform solutions, we keep our CSP customers, Microsoft consistent!
Want to learn more? Ask for a live demo today!