MSPs: The Challenge of Billing for Cloud Services

How often have you heard a story like this from an enterprise client that engaged with one of the big cloud vendors:

An infrastructure support program that started out costing a few hundred dollars a month ends up a year later costing thousands a month, even tens of thousands, dogged by server outages, latency issues, and no dedicated support person.

Alternatively, this one:

An IT manager is trying to track and monitor usage of a cloud vendor’s services by each department within his organization but finds the shortcomings of the vendor’s available metering tools make it all but impossible.

Cloud vendors don’t make it easy for either an MSP or the enterprise client to obtain accurate and current metering for billing purposes.

The complexity of provisioning compounds the challenge and delivering cloud services. Data processing, computing loads and capacity, demand regularly fluctuate. Bulk storage discounts often yield little if any savings. Pulling or moving data can incur unanticipated network charges. Expensive support packages usually come with no guarantees.

All this can leave an enterprise footing a larger and larger bill each month. The problem often rests with the fact that the enterprise failed to appreciate at the outset that what makes cloud computing so appealing – on-demand scalability – is the very thing that can quickly turn it into a crippling cost center.

That’s because of many enterprises:

  • Procure cloud services without a clear strategy in place. Their efforts to date have been ad-hoc.
  • Haven’t asked hard questions about performance and service level agreements.
  • Or adequately considered their needs around data privacy, security and even data sovereignty.

What can an MSP do?

If your shop is like most small- to-mid-sized MSPs serving the mid-market, standing out from the crowd is a stiff challenge. It’s too easy to be considered a commodity service, on call to fix things when they break.

However, an MSP is uniquely positioned to understand the inner workings of the cloud vendor and the pain points of its enterprise clients. The key to distinguishing your MSP from others is to take advantage of this and become the trusted advisor that can bring order, efficiency and cost savings to the chaos.

Sure, other MSPs may be doing the same thing with their clients, but what matters is what you are doing with yours. Clients that feel well-served, that work with a partner they trust and are confident clearly understands the unique needs of their business, are long-term clients.

You know how cloud providers prefer to operate, and you know what problems this creates for your enterprise clients. Consider how you can evolve your business model to help clients avoid getting locked into usage capacity they don’t need, scale their usage with accurate metered billing at month’s end, and achieve a genuinely elastic cloud environment that delivers the flexibility and cost savings they expect.

This step will boost your business today and prepare you to become a prosperous multi-cloud MSP tomorrow.

If you’d like to talk to us about monetizing your billing process, or about how to deliver your cloud to customers more quickly and efficiently, we’d love to hear from you.

Contact us today and let’s get started.

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