Increase Profits by Making it Easy to Follow the Money

Hundreds of cloud service providers around the world are seeing businesses connect into their clouds in increasing numbers. You might think this goes into the category of a “good problem to have.” So growth that should be great news for the bottom line, isn’t yet because many service providers are simply unable to capitalize on this growth — their financial systems aren’t designed to support or scale for the cloud business model effectively.

The Need for Cloud-Enabled Financial Management
Cloud service providers are transitioning from a traditional datacenter hosting model, but their existing financial systems are built for more static IT environments, fixed pricing, and monthly billing cycles. Today’s cloud environment is 180o shift from that. Resources are now deployed on-demand, scale up and down dynamically, turn on and off at a moment’s notice, and span various platforms. And while this provides greater agility and flexibility to the customer, it also means they no longer have predictable costs. As a result, customers want real-time, self-service access to their bills and controls to keep their spending from skyrocketing.
Bottom line: traditional billing systems don’t hold up to the demands of today’s cloud.

Service providers need to let themselves and their customers follow the money in an efficient, quick way. Luckily, that’s now possible.

Help Customers Navigate their Financial Relationship with Your Business—No Matter How Complex or Dynamic their Needs Are
Cisco solves the unique financial needs of our cloud service providers by providing an integrated cost management solution for Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) from partner, Cloud Cruiser. Cloud Cruiser for Cisco IAC is a financial management solution that contains a robust set of capabilities specifically designed for service providers implementing cloud solutions based on Cisco IAC.

Automated Multi-Tenant Invoicing
One of the benefits of Cisco IAC for service providers is the ability for customers to order and manage their cloud-based services from a self-service portal. Cloud Cruiser taps into Cisco IAC to capture granular usage data and apply the appropriate business rules and rates for each customer. Costs are rolled up accordingly by company, business unit, department, and user so that reports and invoices can be automatically created and distributed, providing powerful business analytics and drill-down capabilities to the people that need them.

Holistic Bill of IT
In addition to Cisco IAC, Cloud Cruiser’s cost management platform is extensible to Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS) and most industry-standard public and private cloud platforms, databases, and applications. For service providers that want to bill for multiple services, such as help desk, software licenses, or other public, or private cloud services, Cloud Cruiser gives services providers a single reporting and billing solution to meet their needs. No more spreadsheets or manual consolidation of bills –service providers can now put their billing on auto-pilot and focus on their cloud business.

Profit Management
To optimize profitability, service providers need to be able to manage both the revenue they are receiving from their services and the costs associated with providing those services. This is where Cloud Cruiser provides unique value in the industry with its Cloud P&L. With granular insight into the profitability of individual services and individual customers, service providers can make informed decisions that impact their bottom line. If changes to pricing are required, Cloud Cruiser offers a wide array of pricing models that can be used to attract new customers or shape user behavior to influence profitability, such as promotional pricing, tiered pricing, SLAs, or discounts, to name a few.

Controlling Costs in a Dynamic Cloud Environment
For customers moving from static pricing models to dynamic, pay-per-usage models, how do service providers offer assurances to their customers that they won’t have unexpected cost overages? Cloud Cruiser offers customer-enabled budgets, alerts, reporting, and BI so that customers can manage their own spending at any level in their organization. If an unexpected alert is generated, there is a full suite of reporting tools to help identify problems and take corrective action. Putting cost control and reporting in the hands of the customers enables service providers to grown their customer base, taking advantage of Cisco IAC’s industry-leading scalability, without incurring massive administrative overhead.

The cloud market is competitive and service providers need the right capabilities to differentiate their solution to attract and retain customers. Cisco IAC and Cloud Cruiser provide a tightly integrated, full-service solution to drive greater value to your customers and maximum profitability to your business. It helps everyone follow the money all the way to the bottom line.


Joann Starke

No Longer with Cisco