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How has C19 affected the channel, and how can we assist?

8th December 2021  by Gareth Pritchard

There can be no denying that the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the race to cloud and fuelled the subscription economy, challenging the channel’s commercial model to evolve faster than was ever anticipated.  This phenomenon has presented channel resellers with a unique opportunity to increase their market share.  Billing software holds the key to enabling resellers to boost revenues and thrive during this cloud market transformation, which is also characterised by a more complicated supply chain.

The subscription economy could be compared to having a taxi sat outside waiting to take you on every journey.  With one or two journeys a week it is good value but, if you travel all the time, buying your own car would be more cost effective.  In unforeseen situations like the pandemic, it is a blessing that we can spin up extra capacity to get us through when we need it, but the truth is that a reseller needs a blend of facilities to achieve best value.  It’s critical, therefore, that billing systems can cope with this blend in order for the reseller to offer best value to customers and compete with rival suppliers.

If a reseller’s system can understand and bill cloud usage and licencing properly, and in a way that end customers can understand, then that reseller can get closer to the advantages that cloud solutions bring without taking any margin risk.  Presenting this data back to end customers so they understand their bills and do not bombard support departments with queries and demands for credits, is critical to the success of a reseller’s portfolio.

Having an understanding of suppliers is critical to understanding their billing feeds. At Union Street, those suppliers also use our systems, so we understand and can influence the evolution of their APIs and billing output so that it is more useful to the reseller.  By using Union Street’s billing solutions, our partners can ensure that they are up to date with the latest products and are being guided by our teams who can knowledgably advise on how to quote, provision, and sell these solutions to end customers.

A billing system can remove many of the issues that having a complicated supply chain can bring.  Having a strong reconciliation process within a billing system will take a lot of the stress out of managing multiple supplier files every month.  The billing system should do the hard work and provide the reseller with a processed and clear set of data regardless of the supplier.  The end customer also benefits as they get one clear and concise bill consolidating all of their product set, and one reseller to contact and work with.

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