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How to Overcome Billing Complexities in the Microsoft CSP Program

05/11/2021 | Blog

Cloud computing has increased steadily in recent years, and the pandemic has only accelerated the trend. To meet rising demand, the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program provides business leaders the option to access cloud computing solutions without expensive equipment or constant maintenance. The Microsoft CSP program maintains off-site cloud infrastructure that empowers businesses to access cloud services remotely.  

The distribution and delivery of these services through a Microsoft CSP platform is crucial for businesses. It gives the flexibility they require to implement cloud solutions regardless of business size or expected cloud use. However, managing costs during this transition period can be complex, as 50% of businesses experience higher than anticipated cloud usage. This means that conducting billing for these services can be a challenge for managed service providers (CSPs), who need to serve the diverse requirements and use cases of the Microsoft CSP program customers.  

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Common Billing Complexities Faced by Microsoft CSPs 

Through cloud distribution and reselling, businesses can create new revenue streams and improve their service offerings. However, billing for these cloud services comes with its own unique challenges. Businesses have largely opted for hybrid cloud and multi-cloud approaches, with 92% subscribing to more than one cloud computing service. A pricing model that is in line with the customer’s needs is essential for effectively serving the largest and most diverse customer bases. This is compounded by the need to accept and bill in multiple currencies and to facilitate different pricing models such as fixed monthly subscriptions and usage-based pricing.  

Therefore, it is imperative for CSPs to choose the right Microsoft CSP billing platform to conduct their business on. Apart from asking the right questions when deciding which billing platform to use, here are some key features CSPs should keep an eye out for to ensure they can deliver the best billing experience to their customers. 

Key Features CSPs Should Look For in Microsoft CSP Platforms to Manage Billing Complexities 

The Ability to Manage Subscriptions 

Subscriptions are usually an easy way for customers to access the services they need with a single monthly fee that can be canceled or adjusted depending on changing business requirements. While this can be extremely convenient for end users, CSPs that have to bill for these services must be able to adjust subscription components and costs as needed. Trial periods attract new customers, so the ability to identify expiring trials, convert them to full subscriptions, and bill for them accordingly is a feature that any effective billing platform must have. 

Flexible Pricing 

Customers that subscribe to a service often see the single figure quoted to them by CSPs but providers are constantly adjusting prices in the back end to match different subscription models for different use cases. This practice is not limited to cloud services. Recent research revealed that pricing models are relatively evenly split, with 38% of SaaS businesses adopting a usage-based pricing model, 40% opting for a value-based pricing model, and half choosing user-based pricing. A successful billing platform needs the ability to view and manage all these pricing models in a single place

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Multi-Currency Support 

Cross-border payments, particularly among SMEs, experienced significant growth even before the onset of the pandemic. As more companies operate across borders and remote work blurs geographic lines, service providers must adapt to this new reality and offer subscriptions in multiple currencies. The flexibility also has to be balanced with the CSPs ability to evaluate sales in their home currency. A successful billing platform must have this capability without the need for additional software or extensive configuration. 

Credit Controls and Budget Alerts  

With 82% of business workloads existing on the cloud, CSPs have to ensure that resellers are aware of the usage that each customer is allocated. Once a customer has used up almost all their allotted data, your billing platform must be able to alert the reseller so that they can monitor, bill for, and sell plans based on the appropriate customer usage levels. Budget alerts also allow CSPs to provide an avenue for cost savings for their customers by estimating usage and planning for credit controls or data reserves.  

Consumption Billing  

Managing cash flow and predicting incoming payments can be a challenging task for resellers whose clients mainly rely on consumption-based subscriptions to access cloud services. With the introduction of advanced AI and integrated consumption overviews that are updated daily, interworks.cloud’s Cloud Services Storefront provides resellers and CSPs with the latest usage data and estimated subscription costs in real-time.  

The right billing platform can help cloud distributors and resellers deliver bespoke cloud services to the widest range of customers by offering customizable billing options that are best suited to the end users’ needs. The interworks.cloud platform is a comprehensive and robust engine that facilitates the handling of multiple billing scenarios and supports various pricing models.  

 
Learn how to transform your cloud service delivery by booking a live demo with interworks.cloud today. 

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