Why Service Providers need to consider provisioning platforms like CloudPortal Services Manager
In a recent Survey conducted by the Citrix Service Provider Center of Excellence, we asked providers what cross-tenant provisioning tools they used. For those who answered “none”, we followed up to understand why.
The answers to this specific survey question varied, but the most common responses were along the lines of the following:
- I built my own
- Customers don’t ask for it
- But all of my customers are different
- Too Costly
- We have a High Touch Services Approach
- No Need or Too small to need it
Are these legitimate reasons for going it alone? Or, are these myths and misunderstandings that a better grasp of multi-tenant provisioning attributes could put to rest?
Let’s take a closer look at the Citrix solution for service provider provisioning – CloudPortal Services Manager (CPSM) – and see where it can add value for any company who is in any of these places.
I built my own
I’m sure those of you who have tried to create your own multi-tenant provisioning system can testify to how difficult this can be. To have actually achieved it when your core business is something else altogether is pretty impressive. I take my hat off to you, as this is no easy feat. I’ve seen companies spend millions only to fail at this.
Here is my concern with this approach: you now need to maintain this solution. Products evolve, new products become available. Keeping up with this demand can be difficult and takes away from your main focus – delivering services to your customers. And then you need to consider the times where provisioning fails, maintenance and bug fixes. What do you do? Spend time on fixing the bug in the provisioning system or configure the change manually?
Is administration able to be delegated out to your customers? Or do you still take helpdesk calls from each customer whenever they need to make any changes?
With CloudPortal Services Manager, we take the pain away from maintaining complex internal systems so that you can focus investment on customers and growing your business.
You can even delegate the administration of your customers out to the customers themselves, and at the same time maintain control of the Services to which your customers can see an administer, thus reducing your helpdesk overhead, and allowing your technical engineers to focus on tasks to further grow your business.
Customers don’t ask
Now, put yourself in your customers’ shoes for one minute. You sign up for some services, and the only options you know that you have are those which have either been overtly offered, or those which you have been specifically told about. Unless you know that other options are available, you’re not likely to ask. All you really concerned about is that the service you have requested is delivered with the features you have requested.
For users who step up and ask for a new service, it is time-consuming and painful to have to log a helpdesk call for the simple task of adding a new user or assigning a new service to a user. Often times, this can take hours, if not days to be put into place. Wouldn’t it be simpler to delegate simple tasks out to the customers themselves? Do you think that this would be something that they would be interested in if you were to offer it?
Imagine a world where simple adds/changes can be done by the customer themselves, and where your helpdesk calls are trimmed down to real issues. CloudPortal Services Manager makes this a reality.
But all of my customers are different
And rightly so. Every customer has their own specific needs, whether it be the services they utilize, or the manner in which these services are configured, there are still commonalities in what they require. They want to be able to add and remove users at their leisure, change the services their users can access, maybe create a new Sharepoint site or add another email domain.
CloudPortal Services Manager has been created to give you the most flexibility possible so that each customer, or each user, can be configured to be unique with the services they consume, as well as the configuration of these services.
With CloudPortal Services Manager, you can focus on the more complex of tasks or focus on investigating other possible offerings as the repetitive mundane activities has been taken care of.
We have a high-touch services approach
This tends to be how many Service Providers operate. All of your customers have different requirements and you do your best to cater to each of them. High touch and lots of services also means more complexity. This makes centralization and automation is even more important.
With CloudPortal Services Manager, delegating the customers User and Service administration out to the customer themselves allows your customers greater flexibility and still leaves you in control. You will have the satisfaction of knowing that all configuration will be consistent and complete.
If you are saving time on every touch, and you are “high touch” then CloudPortal Services Manager is “high savings”, meaning more time and resource can be spent focussing on growing your business, rather than maintaining it.
No need or too small to need it
Over the past 15 years or so, I’ve come to realise that a multi-tenant provisioning platform like CloudPortal Services Manager can be useful in almost any organization, even the smaller single tenant (or Corporate) environments.
Take, for example, a small, 20-30 employee company whose specialty is not computer services. They could outsource all of their IT needs, or they might employ an IT person to have better control of their network configuration, implementing services and troubleshooting issues. This person must be a jack of all trades (which, unfortunately, is difficult to do and do well with the ever changing goal posts on technology these days). This person is also likely to become bogged-down with requests for assistance, the need to continuously patch and upgrade software and sometimes even having to be the IT helpdesk for simple things like password reset requests.
What if this person was to leave, and a new IT technician was to replace them? This new technician would need to learn and understand the manner in which things have been configured in the past. They might have their own preferences or style on configuration. Soon enough, with no consistency, management of this environment can become more difficult
What if the administration of staff and services could be delegated out to the department heads or to the helpdesk where changes can be made through a single web based portal?
Within CloudPortal Services Manager, Active Directory and service environments are configured in a consistent manner every time. No-one has to wait on IT to make a change to services. Better still, CloudPortal Services Manager allows for Self-Service requests to be made from users themselves. Once their manager (or approval hierarchy) has approved the request, the provisioning of the services are automatically applied.
IT can now focus on the more complex tasks which their role requires without being a bottleneck for day to day admin activities.
Unless you never plan to add another customer/tenant or have no expectation that your tenant will make changes, you cannot afford to not have a tool that facilitates changes like this in a streamlined and consistent manner.
With CloudPortal Services Manager you only pay for what you use – if you are starting with only 20 users, you only pay for 20 users. As you grow, CloudPortal Services Manager grows with you to support your business as it grows
The beauty of CloudPortal Services Manager can be summed up in the following statements.
- It’s simple to implement and use.
- Delegated Administration – day to day administration tasks can be delegated out to the customer themselves, reducing overhead on helpdesk calls and freeing up technical engineers to focus on more important tasks.
- Flexible, Extensible Platform – new services can be added by you through leveraging our built in SDK or API.
- Hosted Services Automation – It already supports 17 different built in services.
- It’s supported by a team of engineers 24/7.
- Customer Self-Service and automated approval based provisioning.