Are you spending hours on manual processes? Is your hard work resulting in customer and tenant numbers growing faster than the speed of light? This is a great achievement. But is it overwhelming?
If you find yourself answering ‘yes’ to any of these questions, it could be time to consider shifting gears. This is what happened to our friends at C Spire.
During their initial business journey as Direct Microsoft CSP Partners, C Spire manually managed the sales of Office 365 and Azure licenses for three and a half years. On top of this they were manually controlling customer billing and invoicing.
At this point, C Spire landed a huge opportunity which resulted in the acquisition of a sizeable MSP. This saw their total Microsoft Office 365 monthly billings increase by 1,900%.
It didn’t take long to realize this brilliant accomplishment made their sales team overburdened and ineffective. The demand meant manual processing of license orders and monthly billing true-ups, (all through internal systems,) became much more challenging and problematic. Which sparked an immediate necessity to explore the world of automation.
So, what was their first approach?
Pre-automation, C Spire found a customer’s monthly billing consolidation would take a team member a full working day, if not more, to organize. When you think about this and apply their 1,900% billing increase, it’s a no-brainer that efficient manual management was put under some serious strain.
Fundamentally, they needed to find an automation solution to support the team, and eventually transition it into an essential piece of everyday C Spire software. Since fully automating their billing procedures with Spinpanel, C Spire has found they now can efficiently:
• Bill customers at scale
• Provide simple usage breakdowns
• Support different pricing models
• Accumulate data integrated from other third party tools
• Quickly deliver accurate invoices
"Our service desk team now have the time they need to focus on other areas," explains Doug Mays, Senior Manger, CSB Product Management, C-Spire.
"The back-end operation goes away, and a full focus is now applied to fixing actual customer issues."
Another reason C Spire needed an automation toolset; the amount of time team members spent answering customer subscription enquiries.
For clients to have more license autonomy, C Spire was on the hunt for a self-service portal. Although plenty are on the market, it was challenging to find a collaboration they could commit to. Considerations around in-house development started, but were rapidly overtaken by concerns around excess hours and spiralling costs.
As talks started with a new customer, Spinpanel was recommended as a possible solution. This company was looking to change its CSP, but didn’t want to lose their in-house control of license management. A few demos later, C Spire 4 decided Spinpanel was the solution to support their licensing and billing challenges. Self-service now allows:
• Customers to bypass the entire license true-up sales process
• C Spire to create specific product bundles relative to each customer
• Customers to add bundles and single licenses, on-demand
• Permissions can be set and controlled by C Spire
• Limit the number of SKUs customers see so C Spire can manage accordingly
C Spire’s story is one of impressive scaling. Many CSPs aspire to achieve the same. It’s proof that you don’t need to drown in customer requests, or experience manual mishaps.
To support a quick growth, strategic planning, supportive teams and carefully selected automation toolsets can help a CSPs business move to the next level.