Usage And Billing for Windows Azure Pack - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How can we automate the E2E billing process with the solution?
A: As part of the deployment we will integrate with any billing system you have. If you already have WHMCS, current release integrates E2E with it starting from user signup to invoice generation. In the upcoming release in mid-2016, we will support user signup, custom Marketplace experience, and payment gateway integration right within the WAP portal, without the need for WHMCS integration.
Q: Is it easy to integrate with any existing or new payment systems?
A: Yes. Since every customer tends to have a different type of payment systems that they use, we defer the customer to have choice of their payment system and we just provide integration with it.
Q: Will you do this integration or we need to do it?
A: We will work with you to understand the best way to integrate with your choice of payment system and we will create mechanisms to accomplish the integration. If the integration requires lot of custom work, then we will add it to the deployment cost and you will know first hand how much the total solution will cost.
Q: We do lot of offline payments, how do you take care of it? And how do you disable user for non-payments?
A: Precisely because every customer has different way to collect payments, this solution doesn’t involve the real payment collection instead it builds on top of Azure Pack constructs and integrates with existing payment systems. For example if you disable a user in your billing system, say WHMCS for any reason such as payment not received, this solution can automatically disable the subscription in Azure Pack, however this solution itself doesn’t track payments etc.
Q: Can we offer trial periods and discount periods?
A: Yes. You can run plan-level promotions that are recurring or valid for a specific number of days. You can also offer hourly credits for metered resources, or offer credits per user.
Q: What is in the road map for the solution in 2016?
A: The following features are lined up to be released in mid-2016 time frame:
- Service Catalog & Market Place, User Signup flow, Payment Gateways
- Auto Provision Resources across clouds leveraging VConnect Resource Templates
- New Fixed Cost Pricing Models with existing Pay-As-You-Go models
- Run promotions, provide sign-up discounts, team credits, Invoice Templates, Custom Billing Cycles
- Reports for tracking resource level utilization, budgets, etc.
Q: What is the differentiation or value add of Cloud Assert’s billing solution?
- First class WAP Support: This is a native solution built from ground up on Azure Pack thus provides first class features and support for services in Azure Pack.
- Value add to your end users: This solution enables you to provide value added service to your end users. Like: ability to see ongoing usage, get to the detailed usage with single click from within WAP Tenant portal, ability to set Alerts to name a few.
- Simple Licensing: The licensing is on per WAP subscription basis and each subscription can have any number of objects. So more bang for the buck long term instead of you needing do worry about running out of license if the users create more objects.
- Flexibility in your hands: This solution is built to work and extend long term. Administrators can add support for new services by themselves without requiring additional licenses or even contacting us.
- Modular Architecture: We have separated usage collection, aggregation and reporting from the actual payment system – so it is one investment you can continue to use even if you change your financial / payment systems in future. The payment system integration uses a plugin model, so it can be replaced with new systems without requiring your users to know or any need to reconfigure down level pricing information.
- E2E Automation and Customization – we believe in ensuring every single deployment works E2E in an automated fashion. We are highly open to add small customizations and provide tools that will make this happen.
- Support: We have team in India and in Seattle, USA. We are placed in these two critical locations to provide the best possible support and faster turnaround for anything you might encounter on WAP Platform.