Avant Communications is partnering with telecom billing software provider BluLogix to let agent partners rebill customers for cloud services for the first time.
Telecom agent partners have long been beholden to the traditional commission-agent model, but having the ability to rebill their end customers for multiple cloud services on one invoice not only gives partners more ownership over their customer relationship, but an expanded margin opportunity, too, said Tim Cook, founder and CEO of Great Falls, Va.-based BluLogix.
The partnership marks the first time BluLogix is working with a master agent to empower agent partners with the ability to rebill, Cook said.
"The model has been that the cloud provider bills the end customer for the service and then pays the partner a commission, but we believe this model is ripe for transformation," Cook told CRN.
That's because the current arrangement is "inherently inefficient" for customers, he said.
"The model is awful for the customer. These customers are managing potentially hundreds of cloud services that their employees might be buying, all with separate portals and buying experiences," he said. "If they can have one bill from their partner, and maybe the partner bundles some of their own services together with the cloud provider offerings, now you're seeing some value being created."
At the same time, the customer will benefit from having its various cloud licenses managed, he said.
The collaboration between Chicago-based Avant and BluLogix will work by giving select partners consolidated, multiple-provider invoices rebilled to the agent through Avant. From there, partners can invoice their own end customers for the cloud services that are being obtained through Avant, including Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Software-as-a-Service or Platform-as-a-Service offerings. Partners can also include their own value-added services, such as managed services, on the same bill for their end customers.
The ability to manage cloud billing lets partners differentiate themselves from the competition, Cook added.
“Enabling partner rebilling supports the relationship Avant’s partners have developed with their customers and reinforces the value behind their brand," Ron Hayman, Avant's chief cloud officer, said in a statement.
Avant and Blulogix are starting the rebilling effort with about a dozen of Avant's cloud service provider partners. To qualify for rebilling, Avant sales partners will have to demonstrate the ability to take on the financial risk associated with rebilling end customers.