The Rise of Unified Channel Billing (Part 2 of 2)

In my last post regarding the rise of the cloud broker, I concluded that those brokers will quickly find themselves (if they haven’t already) in the likely and unexpected position of being, effectively, channel managers. I promised an explanation in that post, so here goes…

To be fully effective in the lightning-fast expansion of their market, cloud brokers know that they must offer a broadly functional array of pre-integrated, adjunct services to their core offering of re-sold/value-added access to P/IaaS services. Primary among those services is a solution that promises to deliver to their customers, in as close to a turnkey fashion as possible, the ability to monetize and manage those “core” products. Additionally, and of nearly equal importance, the cloud brokers themselves likely have the need to effectively bill their customers for the aggregated and anonymized summation of the P/IaaS offerings that were actually consumed by those same end customers.

Here is (hopefully) a straightforward example to illustrate what I mean:

  • Cloud Broker A signs up Value Added Reseller B and provides Value Added Reseller B access to VMware’s/AWS’s/Microsoft’s/Whomever’s P/IaaS services. Cloud Broker A is charging Value Added Reseller B $1.00 per VMware’s/AWS’s/Microsoft’s/Whomever’s product or service
  • Value Added Reseller B has its own customers, End Consumer 1 through End Consumer X, to whom he re-sells those widgets at a rate of $2 per widget and to whom he also sells additional products/services above and beyond those he gets from Cloud Broker A.

Based on the above, what does “Cloud Broker A” or “Value Added Reseller B” need from both a monetization/billing and customer entitlement/provisioning standpoint?

  1. VAR B needs to be able to seamlessly give and revoke access to End Consumer 1 through End Consumer X on all of the networks provided by Cloud Broker A (i.e. entitle/provision their own customers).
  2. Value Added Reseller B needs to be able to load and rate the P/IaaS system usage incurred by End Consumer 1 through End Consumer X and charge them, individually, at a rate of $2 per widget consumed, in addition to charging them for the value added products/services they also purchased (i.e. bill/monetize).
  3. Cloud Broker A needs assurance that Value Added Reseller B‘s customers have system access granted/revoked in a timely and accurate way to maintain SLAs and minimize breakage (i.e. entitle/provision, again)
  4. Cloud Broker A needs to charge Value Added Reseller B for the grand total of widgets consumed by Value Added Reseller B end customers, at a rate of $1.00 per widget, without specific regard to the specific end customers themselves (i.e. bill/monetize, again).

A cloud broker is, quite simply, yet another form of a wholesaler, selling services to entities who are presumed to be marking up and re-selling those self-same offerings downstream, presumably at marked-up rates alongside additional offerings, to end customers. And to further complicate matters, this age-old hierarchical billing/entitlement model can recur for n-levels, with resellers selling to resellers selling to resellers several times before reaching end consumers. This assumes resellers at each level will put their own proprietary spin on their respective product catalogs but with the same presumed need to get to market quickly, bill customers effectively, and manage their customers in an accurate and timely way. If only there were a single system that could do all that stuff – some dream system that allowed every provider in a multi-level, complex “chain of billers” to manage and bill their customers in precisely the way they see fit but that eliminates the risks that come from inaccuracies and misreporting, all while guaranteeing the timely spin-up/spin-down of purchased products and services…

Enough folderol: Announcing Aria’s long-awaited breakthrough technology, Unified Channel Billing™!

Cloud brokers, service wholesalers, agency sellers, and platform providers alike—rejoice! The best-of-breed SaaS/Cloud-based Aria Billing and Management Platform has been extended in a way that many have only dreamt of implementing. By virtue of simple-to-manage extensions to our core technology:

  1. Billers at the “top of the chain” can offer resellers beneath them a quick-to-market solution that enables them to fully manage, monitor, and bill customers at every level of the billing chain.

  2. Integration work, done one time, to provision and meter services consumed, are immediately “inherited” by all downstream billers.

  3. Usage consumed by end customers is billed accurately and with the appropriate level of specificity and aggregation at every level up and down the “biller chain”, and…

  4. Resellers can offer a highly-differentiated “value add” to their providers in the form of a billing system that is “ready-to-go”.

And all without compromising or limiting, in any way, the depth of functionality that an enterprise-grade cloud billing system like the one Aria has to offer.

Wait… what’s that? You’d also like to charge your resellers for the use of the billing system itself? And have that appear on the same bill you send them for core services consumed? And you’re even considering white-labeling that billing system with your own brand? And on top of all of that, because you’ve been around the block and realize that sometimes resellers don’t pay their bills, you also need some kind of fail-safe mechanism for assuming control of their end customers should the reseller go astray? Wow, you’re demanding. However, Aria’s Unified Channel Billing has you covered.

A select few of Aria’s customers and prospects have had the chance to peek at our recently announced Unified Channel Billing. They have spoken with a single voice to reinforce what we already knew from the moment our cadre of uber-billing-geeks first got together to create it: Aria’s Unified Channel Billing is utterly unique. A crowning achievement that solves an old and difficult problem. Delivered just-in-time for a marketplace that needs it more than ever and now.

Brendan O’Brien, Aria Systems

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About the Author

Brendan O'Brien

Brendan O’Brien has been in the subscription services business for over 20 years, and is recognized as a pioneer and thought-leader. It’s fair to say that he introduced the world to cloud billing, and innovated database-driven, enterprise-grade web applications for companies ranging from Medical Manager, to Wright Express, and LaserLink. All this before the concept of “cloud” was even on the horizon. Brendan is trained as a professional stage actor and classical tenor.

The Forrester Wave: Subscription Billing Platforms, Q4 2015

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