Product Definition

Updated: June 26, 2020
Contents

You are starting the product flow as the vendor. Here, you create and configure a product and then expose it in the provider’s marketplace in accordance with the distribution contract signed in the contract flow.

Switch Point

You come here after the provider signs of the distribution contract with the vendor as described in the Sign the Distribution Contract section of the Provider Tutorial.

Create a Product

Information

A product is one of the most complicated objects in Connect. It contains a full definition of the services that a vendor exposes for sale, including product items, sales models, and requirements to product orders and fulfillment phase.

1. Start creating the product

Open the Products main page:

Click Create Product.

2. Specify the product general properties

In the Create Product modal, specify the product general properties:

  • Name: Enter the product name, which is “Apollo Pulse” in this scenario.
  • Category: Select a category from the list. This will allow providers to locate the products through the CloudBlue Catalog. In this scenario, select the “Customer Management” category.

Click Create. You did not configure any product items and parameters yet, but the product is ready for testing.

(Optional) Test the Product

Information

The product preview process enables a vendor to test the product ordering and fulfillment process. This runs a wizard that directs you through the ordering steps without using a commerce system.

While configuring the product, you can launch the product preview at any time to verify how the product ordering looks from the provider’s perspective. In more detail, this process is described in Preview the Product later in this document.

To test the product now, launch the Preview wizard and follow the instructions:

For more details about this process, refer to Ordering the Product.

Configure General Properties

Information

The General item in the left-hand menu enables a vendor to specify the following product general data configured under respective tabs:
Overview: This is the full description of the product for providers. Initially, there is a text with a detailed explanation of the typical content. Providers will see the product overview in the product catalog.
Media: Here, the vendor can add one or more media files for marketing purposes.
Capabilities: The vendor can equip the product with various capabilities that automate certain processes in the order and usage flows. On this tab, the vendor specifies those capabilities.

1. Edit the product information

On top of the Product Information panel, click Edit.

Enter the short product description and upload the product icon.

For an icon, the recommend format is PNG with a transparent background.

2. Edit the product overview

On the Overview tab, follow the general instructions and replace them with your own text.

3. Add marketing materials

On the Media tab, add one or more files with marketing data:

Typically, these are images or video files with basic marketing information for the providers.

4. Specify the product capabilities

For now, this demo product does not provide any process handlers that we can add to the list of capabilities. On the Capabilities tab, leave all intact.

Define a Product Item

Information

A product item is a resource or a service that customers order and pay for.

The “Apollo Pulse” product has only one item — the volume license seat count that is the number of software copies that can be activated by a volume key.

1. Navigate to the item configuration

On the left-hand sidebar, select Items:

2. Start creating an item

On the right-hand panel, delete the default items:

On the bottom of the clean panel, click Create Item.

3. Configure the item general properties

In the open Create Item wizard, configure the general item properties:

  • Name: Enter the item name, for example, “License Seat”.
  • Manufacturer Part Number: Enter the item MPN, for example, “MPN-000”.
  • Description: Enter any description of the item.

Click Next.

4. Specify the item billing settings

Information

Billing settings specify the way the vendor bills for service usage:
The Billing period can be one of the following:
– “One Time” means the item is sold once and used forever.
– “Monthly” or “Yearly” specifies the period of invoicing customers.
Yearly commitment specifies whether the vendor is committed to keeping the service alive for a year, and customers are committed to paying for the service during a year.
The Units parameter defines how the service resources are accounted for, for example, per unit or per computer.

On the Type tab, specify the item billing settings:

  • Billing Period: Select “Monthly” to indicate that this product is based on recurring billing.
  • Yearly commitment: For this demo, it does not matter what the state of this switch is.
  • Units: Select “Units” to bill customers for every license unit.

Configure Product Parameters

Information

A product contains parameters that are necessary to create a product order and to fulfill a product request. There are two types of parameters depending on the phase of the order flow they are used in:
Configuration parameters are metadata specified during the product configuration. They can be assigned to the product in general, product item, and related marketplace. For example, it can be a URL referring to additional product information.
Order parameters are specified by customers when ordering the product.
Fulfillment parameters are specified by the vendor either automatically or by hand when fulfilling a product request.

The “Apollo Pulse” product uses only one parameter – the volume license key. Since the key is generated by the vendor (Front Street Inc.) after they receive a request for the item (the seat license), you will assign this parameter to the Fulfillment phase.

1. Delete the default parameters

Information

If you try to delete the product default parameters, your attempt will be rejected because the default parameters are used in default activation templates that are configured on the Embedding tab. To delete the parameters, you need to first delete or modify the templates that use those parameters.

On the Embedding tab, on the right-hand panel, open the Templates tab. Then scroll down to the “Activation tile templates” and open the “Default Activation Template” template for editing:

Remove the “###Parameters” section where the default parameters are included and click Save.

On the Parameters tab, remove both default parameters.

2. Start creating your parameter

On the Parameters tab, start creating your parameter:

Click Create Parameter to start the parameter creation wizard.

3. Specify general attributes

In the pop-up window, specify the general attributes:

  • ID: Enter the parameter ID that must unique within the product, for example, “license_key”.
  • Title: Enter a short title, for example, “Volume license key”.
  • Description: Describe the parameter here.

Click Next.

4. Specify the phase

On the Phase tab, select the phase where the parameter will be used:

Select “Fulfillment” and click Next.

5. Specify the scope

For Fulfillment phase parameters, the only available scope if “Asset”, so leave this default value:

Click Next.

6. Set parameter constraints

On the Constraints tab, find the parameter constraints that help you verify the correctness of assigned parameter value:

Enable the following restrictions:

  • Required: The parameter cannot be missed in the fulfillment phase.
  • Unique: The license code must be unique in the vendor system. The license owner will use this purchased license to consume the product service.

7. Set the parameter type

On the Type tab, specify the way to assign a value to the parameter:

Select “Single line text”, which will allow you to enter a value in a text line.

Click Create.

8. Configure product representation

Information

The Embedding section governs how end-customers in a commerce system can see the product properties and interact with the product. This implies that the provider’s hub is properly integrated with Connect through a middleware extension.

Since in this tutorial we do not integrate Connect with any real commerce system, leave this section intact.

9. Set configuration parameters

Information

The Configuration section allows vendors to manage parameters associated with the Configuration phase. These parameters are vendor-specific and typically used in middleware extensions integrating Connect with the vendor system.

Since the Apollo Pulse product you use here does not have such middleware integration and the fulfillment is manual, leave this section intact.

Preview the Product

Information

Before proceeding to the version assignment, the vendor should use the Connect Preview functionality to test the product ordering experience. The vendor will follow the process similar to one the provider will do when ordering this product. During this process, the vendor selects a marketplace and orders the product. This will create a pending asset request from a fake customer. The vendor must process the request: specify the required fulfillment parameter and approve the request. Finally, this creates a new asset to represent the product item purchased by a customer.

1. Launch the Preview wizard

In the product details screen, locate the Preview tab:

On the right-hand panel, click Launch Preview to start the Preview wizard.

2. Get familiar with the preview process

On the Introduction tab, take a moment to review the process:

Click Next. This will skip the product selection step, because you are working with a selected product.

3. Choose the marketplace

Though your product is not bound with any marketplaces yet, you can use here the marketplace that your distribution contract is associated with:

Select the available marketplace and click Next.

4. Select tiers

Information

In a commerce system, the vendor is separated from customers by at least one tier which is the provider. In addition to that, the provider can sell products to customers through resellers. A vendor can one or two tiers. In the tier hierarchy, tiers are counted from bottom to top. In a simple example, when a commerce system contains only one reseller layer and the vendor works with two tiers, the provider is T2 and a reseller is T1. In more complex cases, it is not necessary that the top tier is the provider.

On the Tiers tab, select the number of tiers:

Select T1 to specify that you work with one tier. Click Next. This skips the T2 Account configuration.

5. Configure the T1 account

On the T1 Account tab, select the T1 account:

In the preview scenario, you can click request a random account. Click Randomize to generate random fake data.

Note

If you are logging in using an email from an email provider that is capable of “+” address extensions (for example, <a href=”mailto:username@example.org”>username@example.org</a> and <a href=”mailto:username+tag@example.org”>username+tag@example.org</a> are the same mailbox) you can assign your email with an extension to the new account to receive the notifications addressed to this account.

Click Next.

6. Configure a customer

On the Customer Account tab, select or generate a random customer using the same way as when configuring the T1 account:

Click Next.

7. Request product items

On the Asset Items tab, you see the item that you configured earlier:

In the Quantity field, enter “92”. That means you order a volume key for 92 resources.

8. Create asset attributes

Information

Asset attributes are assigned by the provider manually or by the commerce system automatically. For example, the external ID or UUID can be subscription ID or tenant ID in the commerce system. This enables the vendor and the provider to consolidate their commerce data.

On the Attributes tab, you see that the product preview process generated random values for the External ID and External UUID attributes:

For the sake of testing, leave the default random values and click Next.

9. Specify ordering parameters

On the Parameters tab, you specify the product parameters associated with the ordering phase:

Since you did not configure any ordering parameters, leave this list intact and click Create.

10. Review the summary

The final screen presents the links to the associated objects:

  • T1 Account is the reseller of the marketplace where you sell the products.
  • Customer Account is the product subscriber.
  • Asset represents an instance of the product to be provisioned. Its state is Provisioning.
  • Fulfillment Request represents a request to the product vendor (this is you at the moment) to provision the product for the customer.

Click the Asset link to proceed to the next step.

Fulfill the Product Request

In the product preview process, you requested a product on behalf of a provider. To complete the started process, you must fulfill this request.

1. Locate the requested asset

You can use various ways to find the asset requested in the previous step. If you clicked the Asset link in the previous step, you will be directed to the view that displays details of the pending asset:

2. Locate the fulfillment request

In the Asset Details screen, navigate to the Requests tab and click the request ID link. The Request Details view displays the following properties:

  • The Items tab holds the information on the ordered items.
  • The Parameters tab contains a list of configured product parameters.
  • The Tiers tab displays the customer and reseller properties.

3. Locate the product parameters

Information

In the fulfillment phase, the vendor must specify the product fulfillment parameters.

On the Parameters tab, find the product parameters:

Click the Edit icon next to “Volume License key”.

4. Specify the product parameters

In the pop-up window, fill in the required field:

Click Save.

5. Approve the request

On top-right of the Request Details screen, click Approve and in the pop-up window click OK to confirm the approval. The request status changes to Approved.

6. Verify the asset status

Click the asset ID to return to the Asset Details screen:

The asset status is Active now.

You completed the product preview process.

Save the Product Version

Information

Before you publish a product, you must assign a version to it.

In the asset details screen, click the product name to open the product details and then navigate to the Versions tab:

Click Create Version and confirm the creation of the first version.

After the version is assigned to the product, you can request providers to add the product listing to their marketplace according to the distribution contracts you signed with them.

Conclusion

You passed a long way of creating a product with a service item and parameters. The product preview demonstrated how your partners will order this product and how you will fulfill their requests.

The next step is to expose your product to the provider marketplace. As a vendor, proceed to Creating Product Listing.

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