Growth is the ultimate aim of every business. Modern organizations respond to rapid changes in their respective industries by harnessing effective cloud-managed platforms and services. A cloud management platform (CMP) is a tool that organizations use to gain visibility into their cloud deployments, whether it be a private, public or multi-cloud environment.
At its basic level, IT admins use CMPs to control and monitor their cloud deployment. This allows for better control of cloud environments, optimization of costs and performance, and enhancement of security.
However, CMPs today go beyond the basic IT admin function. According to Gartner CMPs today offer a variety of customer benefits including and not limited to self-service interfaces, provisioning, billing, service cataloguing, marketplaces, configuration of storage and network resources, and monitoring of customer experience.
Cloud-managed platforms and services possess many advantages like – cost savings, robust infrastructure, disaster recovery, fast response times and many more, which help automate and improve business operations efficiency without going through an external cloud service provider.
It is also to bring a holistic view to CMPs that we define a CMP as ‘Cloud Management and Monetisation Platforms’.
To better understand how CMPs today could add value beyond basic IT control and management let’s explore different business function use cases.
- Better Customer Profiling
Typically, CMPs only provide base-level detailing of customer profiles, i.e. usage levels. However, when a cloud platform offers insights beyond usage levels, such as customer profiles, activity records, and enables one to engage with one’s customer across the sales spectrum- pre and post-sales, it brings immense value to organizations deploying such a CMP.
- Billing and Delivery Systems:
As an organization providing cloud solutions, the CMP should ideally have the ability to enable you to manage the complete billing and delivery services. Businesses should generate invoices and billing statements of subscribers, whether manually or through any integrated payment system. It should also enable one to set up billing cycles, track usage and set quotas.
- Subscription Management
Cloud service providers should be able to leverage the CMP to define the subscription management that their customers could deploy whether it is a pay-as-you-go service or a monthly subscription plan or a prepaid plan
- Reseller Management
Cloud service providers who have a diversifying reseller base should be able to effectively use the CMP to manage their reseller accounts including reseller creation, billing and reporting. Cloud managers should have the ability to manage each reseller via the CMP and the reseller in turn has the ability to manage his customers.
For businesses, it is when CMP’s are able to improve sales, support and marketing functions that they bring absolute value.
Support and operations:
- Operations and Management
A CMP should typically be able to provide several operations and management support to IT admins. This should typically include self-service for customer onboarding, provisioning, resource management, monitoring and platform management, to name a few. In other words, a CMP should act as a single pane of glass for all cloud management and monetisation functions.
- Network Monitoring & SLA
At the basic level, a CMP should be able to monitor the entire cloud network, enable provisioning, and management of SLA parameters. It should be able to allow subscribers to create tickets without leaving the platform, view detailed activity logs and allow for support teams to define and configure their own SLAs by using the administration backend.
- Single Touchpoint Service Management
An ideal CMP should be able to act as a single touch point for service management, especially for resource types that are not owned by the service provider such as multi-cloud, backups, DNS management including for example managing an AWS instance. Further, the integration of billing logic to service management is what sets one CMP solution apart from another.
- Workflow and Automation Creation
The ability to create automation workflows on technical and business processes is an important functionality that CMPs should have. Whether it’s scheduled execution of jobs (e.g., autoscale, scheduled instance operations etc.), or logical execution of business requirements (e.g., dunning, account management policies, customer verification etc.), a CMP should be flexible enough to address all techno-commercial requirements.
Marketing and Business enablement:
- CMP Brandability
CMPs that can be white labelled provide for greater marketing and branding flexibility for customers. Ability to add preferred brand colours, icons and tweak the product to showcase specific business logos allow customers to re-brand the CMP as if it were their own.
Furthermore, a good CMP should also have the flexibility to allow for local customization (white label beyond branding). This could include aspects related to national localization, regulations and compliances. Localization could also extend to configuring currencies on the CMP, including decimal or number nomenclatures. Localization of taxation norms is another factor that CMPs should be able to provide, including documentation norms for the country of operations. The ability to configure invoicing systems adhering to local laws is another important functionality that CMPs should have.
- Integration with Analytics & Marketing Tools
As businesses grow, the need for specialized tools become imperative and integrating them with the CMP is important so that there is a holistic perspective. And as the cloud business scales, operations become cross-functional, which require a CMP to be flexible and fit into multiple stakeholders’ workflows rather than having them learn new tools. While all CMPs cover the technological end of the spectrum, solutions should also be able to address business tools like analytics, marketing tech, chat, customer engagement tools and the likes.
- Development of Promotional Schemes
A CMP should enable quick selling. Public clouds do this by offering free credits. A CMP should be no difference. Ideally, an account executive should be able to quickly acquire customers by giving them promos, discounts, free credits and trial enrolments. The ability to allow service providers to create, manage and ultimately analyse usage of these specific promotional tools is an invaluable requirement.
HOW DOES THE APICULUS CLOUD MANAGEMENT PLATFORM SUPPORT BUSINESSES LOOKING FOR FASTER GROWTH?
Any business looking to grow with a cloud platform needs to consider three vital strategic needs that influence their growth.
With Apiculus CMP, one gets complete flexibility and scalability of business operations. You can run your own, 3rd party or multi-party cloud services, whether PaaS, Iaas or SaaS.
So no matter what your business model is, who your today’s and tomorrow customers are, the Apiculus Cloud Management Platform is entirely scalable and flexible.
Built keeping technology costs in mind, the Apiculus platform is robust technologically using best-in-class software and, at the same time, is not a money drainer on IT budgets.
Automated Business Operations
Apiculus lets you automate the complete business operations of your cloud customer from on boarding, provisioning, sales, service management and support operations. Apiculus can automate the entire customer life cycle.
The ability to provide either a DIY or a DIFM system for customers is integral to the Apiculus CMP. Add to this the ability to set up and run multi-segmented marketing campaigns based on customer history and usage behaviour makes Apiculus among the best CMP platforms businesses could look at.
The Apiculus Intelligence dashboard provides real-time intelligence of your cloud operations, enabling you to make faster, better-informed decisions. These dashboards are:-
- Accounts Dashboard
- Billing Dashboard
- Cloud Resources Dashboard
- Cloud Usage Dashboard
- Marketing Dashboard
- Marketplace Dashboard
- Support Dashboard
Apiculus® is compatible with any hardware, Apache Cloudstack, Openstack and KVM, ESXi, and Xenserver virtualization. Get started with Apiculus® by booking a demo with IndiQus, the cloud solutions company that works with Telcos, ISPs and datacenter providers globally to help them build a profitable in-country cloud business.