Product Definition

Updated: February 15, 2021
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 a product

Proceed to the Products module:

Click Create Product.

2. Specify the product general properties

Fill out the following form:

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

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 a Product.

Configure General Properties

Information

The General section 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

Click the Edit button next to your product name under Product Information.

Enter your product description and upload a product icon.

It is recommended to use the PNG format with a transparent background for your icon.

2. Edit the product overview

Click the Edit button next to your product overview and change it.

Follow the instructions and replace the default overview with your own text.

3. Add marketing materials

Proceed to the Media tab and upload your images or videos:

In general, uploaded images or video files represent basic marketing information for the Providers. Note that the first uploaded media content serves as the main image or the main video of your product.

4. Specify the product capabilities

Proceed to the Capabilities tab and click the Edit button next to capabilities list.

For now, this demo product does not provide any process handlers that we can add to the list of capabilities.

Define a Product Item

Information

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

This tutorial product will provide only one item — the volume license seat count that is the number of software copies that can be activated by a volume key. The following showcases how to define this product item.

1. Navigate to the Item section

Proceed to the Items section to define your items:

Click the Create Item button to create a new item. Alternatively, you can edit default items from the list.

2. Configure the item general properties

Configure the general item properties in the appeared form:

  • Name: Enter your item name in this field.
  • Manufacturer Part Number: Type your item MPN (i.e., “MPN-001”).
  • Description: Provide a description of your item.

Proceed to the next configuration form.

4. Fill out the type form

Information

Billing Period specifies the interval of time from the end of one billing statement date to the next billing statement date.
Commitmentperiod specifies whether a Vendor is committed to providing the service for a selected period and whether customers are committed to paying for the service during this period.
Unit defines how service resources are accounted for, for example, per unit or per computer.

Fill out the following form:

  • Billing Period: In this scenario, the “Perpetual” option is selected .
  • Commitmentperiod: For this demo, no commitment is required.
  • Unit: In this case, the “Licenses” option is selected 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 represent 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 a product.
Fulfillment parameters are specified automatically or manually when fulfilling a product request.

The tutorial product will provide a license key parameter. In this scenario, a license key will be generated and specified by a Vendor after receiving a request for the item. The following steps demonstrate how to create a Fulfillment phase parameter that represents a license key for the tutorial product.

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 the default activation template that is configured on the Embedding tab. To delete the parameters, you need to first delete or modify the templates that use those parameters.

From the Embedding section, navigate to the Templates tab. Next, scroll down to the “Activation tile templates” and open the “Default Activation Template” template:

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

Proceed to the Parameters section and 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

Fill out the following form:

  • Type: Select a parameter type.
  • Options: Specify options that vary depending on your selected parameter type.

For this demo, a single line text is selected. This option will be used to assign a license key.

Click Next to continue.

4. Select a phase

Choose a phase in the following form:

In this scenario, the “Fulfillment” phase is selected.

Click Next to continue.

5. Select a scope

Choose a scope in the following form:

In this scenario, the only available scope is “Subscription”.

Click Next to continue.

6. Set parameter constraints

Specify parameter constraints in the following form:

In this scenario, the following constrains are selected:

  • Required: This option makes sure that providing value to the parameter cannot be missed during the fulfillment phase.
  • Unique: This option makes sure that the assigned parameter value is unique to the Vendor system. A consumer will use this unique value as a key to activate a license.

Click Next to continue.

7. Specify parameter details

Fill out the following form:

  • ID: Enter a unique identifier for this parameter.
  • Title: Type a title for your parameter.
  • Description: Enter your parameter description in this field.

Click Create to finalize your parameter creation.

The system will provide your parameter summary. Review the summary and click the Close button.

Additional Configuration

Embedding section

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.

General: This tab allows specifying description, getting started text, download links and documentation links.

Template: Access this tab to customize messages that will be shown to users during various states. This includes a pending template, inquiring templates, and subscription approved templates.

Actions: Access this tab to customize your action list (action buttons on the service screen in Customer Embedding), change your endpoint URL (redirect URL of this product API), and view or generate a JSON Web Token secret.

Since in this tutorial we do not integrate Connect with any real commerce system, this section will not be customized.

Configuration section

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 tutorial product does not have such middleware integration and the fulfillment is manual, leave this section intact.

Localization

Information

This section allows specifying localizations supported by your product ordering process. Connect provides localization template files in the PO format for translation. Use PO file editors (such as poedit.net) to open and edit these files.

Price Lists

Information

This section enables Vendors to define and manage product price lists. Connect also allows creating and editing price lists via the Pricing section on the Vendor portal.

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

Proceed to the Preview section:

Click Launch Preview to launch a preview wizard.

2. Get familiar with the subscription concept

The wizard will display an introduction that explains the subscription concept:

Click Next.

3. Select the test environment

Select the Vendor test environment in the following form:

4. Choose your marketplace

Select a marketplace that your distribution contract is associated with:

Click Next to continue.

4. Specify tier configuration

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.

Select the number of tiers in the following form:

In this scenario, the T1 configuration is selected. Therefore, the wizard will skip T2 Account configuration.

Click Next to continue.

5. Configure a T1 account

Specify T1 account data in the following form:

Click Randomize to generate random data and fill out all required fields automatically.

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 to continue.

6. Configure a customer

Specify customer account data in the following form:

As in the previous step, you can click Randomize to generate random data and fill out all required fields automatically.

Click Next to continue.

7. Select Items

The system will provide random item quantity in the following form:

Edit quantity, add or change provided items by clicking corresponding buttons on the interface.

Click Next to continue.

8. Specify subscription attributes

Information

Subscription attributes are manually specified by a Provider or assigned automatically by a commerce system. For example, the external ID and UUID can represent subscription ID and tenant ID in a commerce system. This enables Vendors and Providers to consolidate their commerce data.

The system will provide random External ID and External UUID attributes::

If it is necessary, edit or randomize the provided attributes by using the corresponding buttons.

Click Next to continue.

9. Ordering parameters

Information

Specifying Subscription Parameters is an optional step that allows Vendors to test their created Ordering phase parameter. Provided values vary depending on the created parameter type.

The wizard will display the subscription parameters:

The tutorial product doesn’t have any ordering parameters. Therefore the wizard doesn’t provide any values to configure.

Click Create to complete the product preview.

10. Review your summary

The system will provide your created subscription summary. Review the list of objects created during this process:

  • T1 Account: ID of a created reseller that sells the product.
  • Customer Account: ID of a created customer that ordered the product.
  • Subscription: ID of a new subscription; its status is “Processing”.
  • Fulfillment Request: ID of a pending request for the order fulfillment.

Click on the Fulfillment Request link to fulfill your created test request.

Fulfill the Product Request

By completing the product preview, the system creates a test product request. The following steps demonstrate how to fulfill this product request.

1. Locate the created request

Access Fulfillment request details from the link on the summary screen. Alternatively, navigate to the Request section from the Subscription module and locate your created request.

The Fulfillment request details screen provides the following data:

  • The Reservation tab displays 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.

2. Locate product parameters

Information

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

Proceed to the Parameters tab and locate your created product parameter:

Click the Edit button next to your fulfillment parameter.

3. Specify parameter values

Specify your parameter value in the following form:

In this scenario, a unique license key will be provided as the fulfillment parameter value.

Click the Save button to save your specified value.

4. Approve the request

Click the Approve button on the Fulfillment request details screen.

In the pop-up window, click OK to confirm the decision. The request state will be changed to Approved.

Thus, the product preview process is completed and it is now necessary to save your product version.

Save the Product Version

Information

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

Proceed to the Versions section from your product profile page and click the Fork Master button.

Fill out the following form:

  • Description: Provide changelog information for this version.
  • Visibility: Define visibility of this version for providers.

Public versions are visible to providers. In case the product is listed within the CloudBlue Catalog, this version will be also available publicly.

Private versions are visible only to the product owner.

Click the Fork button to create your product 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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