Scaling your Hosting Business Using Parallels Automation
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Scaling your Hosting Business Using Parallels Automation Brian Shellabarger Chief Architect - SaaS, Parallels Agenda The 5 major challenges of growing a hosting business. The technology solutions available to address those challenges. The future of Parallels Automation (Road map)

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Scaling your Hosting Business Using Parallels Automation

Brian Shellabarger

Chief Architect - SaaS, Parallels


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Agenda

  • The 5 major challenges of growing a hosting business.

  • The technology solutions available to address those challenges.

  • The future of Parallels Automation (Road map)

Parallels Summit 2008


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The 5 Challenges of Scaling a Hosting Business

1

Automating Complex Processes

Parallels Summit 2008


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The 5 Challenges of Scaling a Hosting Business

1. Automating Complex Processes

Keys to Success

Automate End-to-End Provisioning

Using Workflows for Process Automation

Single Console for Data-Center Management

Parallels Summit 2008


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Automate End-to-End Provisioning

Customer Meta-Data

Run-time

Environment

Mail Accounts

Customer Order

Domains

Databases

  • Orders for a plan are translated into service requirements

  • Individual services are provisioned automatically

  • Full support for roll-back on failure

  • Provisioning events are customer driven

  • Complex service bundles can be delivered in seconds

DNS

SQL Farm

Virtuozzo

Exchange

Billing

Provisioning Gateways

Parallels Summit 2008


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Using Workflows for Process Automation

  • Ordering workflows act as a logic tree for order-handling

  • End-result of workflow is either a fully-provisioned customer or a rejected order

  • Transitions between steps can be automatic, manual, or based on an automated decision

  • Separate workflows can be defined for all order types: Billing, Cancellation, Downgrade, Payment, Resource, Renewal, Sales, Transfer, Upgrade

  • Resellers can have their own customized workflows, independent from their parent service provider

Order Placed

FraudScreening

Success

No

Yes

Charge Credit Card

Mark OrderAs Suspect

Wait

For Approval

Approved

Provision Services

Yes

No

Notify

Customer

Reject Order

Parallels Summit 2008


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Single Console for Data-Center Management

Manage Physical Servers

IP Address Allocation Pools

IP Address Translations

Capacity Management

Updates and Upgrades

Users, Staff Members, and Roles

Background & Periodic Task Management

Reseller Management

Resource Management

DNS

Parallels Summit 2008


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The 5 Challenges of Scaling a Hosting Business

1

Automating Complex Processes

2

Keeping up with Billing

Parallels Summit 2008


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The 5 Challenges of Scaling a Hosting Business

2. Keeping Up With Billing

Keys to Success

Allow Customers to Manage their own Billing

Automate the End-to-End Billing Process

Flexible Billing Terms

Parallels Summit 2008


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Allow Customers to Manage Their Billing

Billing Self-Service is the key to:

  • Happier Customers: Services can be ordered and delivered in real time

  • More revenue: Up-sells and add-ons can be sold as impulse items

  • Lower Costs: Service providers using automated billing self service save significant amounts of money on people and resources

  • Compete Effectively: Customers are more likely to choose a service provider that keeps them in control

  • Customers Can:

  • Make Payments

  • Subscribe to additional plans

  • Renew plans

  • Buy more domains

  • Renew domains

  • Buy additional resources

  • Upgrade / downgrade plans

  • Make a payment

  • Modify payment method

  • View payment history

  • View invoice history

  • Submit support tickets

  • Create users (delegate billing mgmt)

Parallels Summit 2008


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Automate End-to-End Billing Processes

  • Parallels Business Automation is a true carrier-grade ordering & billing system

  • Major accounts-receivable capabilities are included.

  • Full support for multiple payment processing centers (including Paypal, direct-debit, checks, and more)

  • Full underlying API for integration with external systems

Manage / Approve Orders

Create Service Plans (Products)

Manage Pricing and Overage Fees

Communicate with Customers

Manage Marketing Campaigns

Manage Resellers & Sub-Resellers

Manage Market Brands

Manage Payments, Invoices, Credits

Run Reports and Forecasts

Parallels Summit 2008


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Flexible Billing Terms

Service Terms

Credit Terms

Statement Cycles

Customer Classes

  • Defines how expired services are handled

  • Service terms include the ability to define a grace period, a hold period, and a destroy period.

  • Service terms can be assigned individually to customers or in groups.

  • Defines how aged invoices are handled

  • Credit terms include the ability to define when invoices are due, a payment grace period, and a hold period.

  • Credit terms can be assigned individually to customers or in groups.

  • Defines when invoices are generated

  • Supports “day of month” billing and “anniversary” billing

  • Different customers can be assigned to different statement cycles

  • Provides a common set of terms and parameters to groups of customers

  • Customer classes can be used to define which customers require printed invoices

  • Discounts can be applied globally to an entire customer class

Parallels Summit 2008


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The 5 Challenges of Scaling a Hosting Business

1

Automating Complex Processes

2

Keeping up with Billing

3

Reacting to the Market

Parallels Summit 2008


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The 5 Challenges of Scaling a Hosting Business

3. Reacting to the Market

Keys to Success

Deliver Products as Modules

Manage Reseller Channels

Comprehensive Product Catalog Management

Parallels Summit 2008


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Deliver Products as Modules

  • Hosted services are delivered as modules.

  • Choose the modules you need now. Leverage your investment to add more modules as your business expands.

  • Future hosted services will be deployed as modules for Parallels Automation

  • Service Gates can be leveraged to provision other services.

Parallels Automation

Shared Web Hosting

Dedicated Servers

Virtual Servers

Domain Reg.

Service Gates

MS-Exchange

MS-Sharepoint

MS-CRM

Parallels Summit 2008


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Manage Reseller Channels

Basic Resellers

Advanced Resellers

Affiliates

  • Affiliates receive a commission (or referral fee) for bringing customers to the hosting company.

  • System tracks affiliate referrals and reports on payments due.

  • Does not own relationship with customer.

  • Fully white-labeled product offering including a custom store-front

  • Sells the products defined by the parent provider at set prices.

  • Owns the relationship with the customer

  • Collects payments using the service provider’s payment gateways

  • Manages their business using the same screens and interfaces as the service provider (limited control).

  • Creates their own products and manages their own pricing

  • Pays parent service provider based on resource consumption or pre-purchased “bulk resources”

  • Uses their own payment gateways

  • May even have dedicated hardware.

  • Manages their business using the same screens and interfaces as the service provider

Parallels Summit 2008


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Comprehensive Product Catalog Management

Create a Service Template

Attach Plans to Service Templates

Define Resource Rates

Define Resources

  • Resource rates define the cost to the customer for going over the limits in their service template.

  • Resource rates are attached to individual resources

  • Rates include setup fees (for buying more), subscription fees (for a-la-carte purchases), and overage fees.

  • A resource is any individual item in your data center that you want to provide to your customers

  • Examples include: Mailboxes, disk space, bandwidth, IP addresses, mobile devices, application licenses, CPU time, memory, applications, and more.

  • Service templates are a “bundle” of resources

  • Templates define limits on the number of resources the customer can consume (e.g. disk space limits, mailbox limits, etc.)

  • Templates also define what parameters must be collected in the order form to deliver the service

  • Service Plans are the pricing terms on top of a template.

  • Subscription periods are defined here (1-month, 3-month, 6-year, 1-year, etc.) with each period having different setup, recurring, and renewal fees

  • Trial plans can also be created

4

3

2

1

Parallels Summit 2008


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The 5 Challenges of Scaling a Hosting Business

1

Automating Complex Processes

2

Keeping up with Billing

3

Reacting to the Market

Managing Customer Requests

4

Parallels Summit 2008


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The 5 Challenges of Scaling a Hosting Business

4. Managing Customer Requests

Keys to Success

Automate Order Processing

Deliver Comprehensive Self-Service

Automate Communications

Parallels Summit 2008


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Automate Ordering Processing

Design Your Screens & Templates

Define Product Ordering Scenarios

Publish Products to Store

Create a new Store-Front

1

2

3

4

  • Service providers can create multiple store-fronts, each with a different brand, language, currency, or product focus.

  • Design your own templates, screens, & layouts

  • Embed product ordering into your existing web-site

  • Define the ordering steps and product-specific data collection

  • Choose which products should be published in your various stores

Parallels Summit 2008


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Add Hosting Plan

Add Resources

Collect Payment Data

Add Domain Name

3

Store Front: Final Result

  • Full support for in-line domain registration

  • Full support for payment collection

  • Real-time invoicing and “provision while you wait” capabilities.

1

2

2

Parallels Summit 2008


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Deliver Comprehensive Self-Service

Resellers

Customer Admin.

Service End-User

  • Manage stores, products, pricing, and branding

  • Manage customers

  • Full payment and invoicing

  • Full sub-reseller management

  • Manage users & privileges

  • Manage applications

  • Delegate service management to other employees

  • Manage billing and payments

  • Purchase more services

  • Change password & account information

  • Manage application settings

  • Adjust preferences (e.g. display language)

Parallels Summit 2008


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Automate Communications

  • Create notification schedules that define when customers should be alerted about events pertaining to their accounts.

  • Create notification templates to customize the formatting and wording of the communications to your customers (Resellers can create their own).

  • Send automated alerts to customers based on their account activity reaching certain thresholds

Bandwidth usage warning – HTML version

Order Accepted

High Bandwidth Usage

Notify

Customer

(email)

Notify

Customer

(email)

Manua

Process

Complete

Automated

Process

Complete

Parallels Summit 2008


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The 5 Challenges of Scaling a Hosting Business

1

Automating Complex Processes

2

Keeping up with Billing

3

Reacting to the Market

4

Managing Customer Requests

5

Integrating with Other Systems

Parallels Summit 2008


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The 5 Challenges of Scaling a Hosting Business

5. Integrating With Other Systems

Keys to Success

Integrate with Processing Centers and Registrars

Standard API Interface to Service Delivery Platform

Event Management

Parallels Summit 2008


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Integrate with Processing Centers and Registrars

  • About 30 plugins are supported out of the box with the platform

  • Full SDK for creating domain registrar plugins and payment processing plugins

  • Plugins support complex scenarios, such as multiple payment processing centers (e.g. sending all Visa requests to one processor and all Amex requests to another).

Parallels Summit 2008


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Standard API Interface

  • Full underlying API interfaces are provided to connect to Parallels System Automation and Parallels Business Automation

  • APIs are well documented and easy to integrate

  • Allows for full connectivity to third party systems

Customer

Control Panel

Reseller

Control Panel

Online

Storefront

SOAP

Plesk Control Panel

ProvisioningSystem

Virtuozzo Containers

Reseller

Billing

Ecommerce

Marketing

CRM

Support

Trouble Ticketing

System

SOAP

SOAP

Custom Application

AccountingSystem

Parallels Business Automation

In-House System

Domain Registrar

Core Services

3rd Party Application

Payment Gateway

SOAP

Parallels Summit 2008


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Event Management

  • Event-management can be used for real-time integration with third-party systems

  • Events are triggered in the provisioning or billing systems (71 possibly events on the billing side, 47 possible events on the provisioning side)

  • Events trigger one or more actions (sending notifications or launching external scripts on remote systems).

  • All actions are logged as “tasks” and tracked by the system.

Parallels Summit 2008


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Summary:

Automate Complex Processes

Keep Up With Billing

React to the Market

Integrate With Other Systems

Manage Customer Requests

Parallels Summit 2008


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Future Roadmap:

  • Parallels Roadmaps not available online

    • Parallels Partners may contact their sales representative regarding roadmap availability

Parallels Summit 2008