Usage

Updated: November 17, 2021
Contents

Overview

The Usage Management Module implements the direct flow of the consumption (metering/pay-as-you-go) data communication from Vendors to Distributors and Resellers. This flow is referred to as the Usage Flow on the Connect platform and it is is common for various businesses like Telecommunications, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Internet of Things (IoT), Managed Services and many others.

The Usage Flow is presented and highlighted in the following diagram:

This diagram showcases Vendors that generate and submit usage report files to their partners by using the Connect platform. Thereafter, these usage report files are used by Distributors or Resellers to bill their customers.

Note that the system enables Vendors to generate usage reports for reservation and pay-as-you-go items. Therefore, the Usage Flow may include the following processes:

  • Vendors can submit information on how items are being consumed. This scenario is applicable to the the Reservation items.
  • Vendors can submit data specifically for billing purposes. This scenario is only applicable for the Pay-as-you-go items and could be used for billing operations between:
    • Vendors and Distributors.
    • Distributors and their direct Resellers.
    • Distributors and their Resellers.
    • Resellers and their Customers.

The following introduces and describes different aspects of the Usage Management module on the CloudBlue Connect platform.

Video Tutorial

The following video tutorial introduces the Usage module and provides its overview:

Preconditions

Usage data can only be reported by Vendors in case the following requirements are met:

Product Capabilities

By default, product capabilities that enable Vendors to generate usage reports are turned off. Access the Capabilities section from your product profile page to switch on the following capabilities:

  • Consumption reporting for Reservation Items: With this capability your product will support the real-time reporting of the reservation items consumption.
  • Pay-as-you-go: This capability enables Vendors to implement the pay-as-you-go system and consequently define corresponding items on the product profile page. Once this capability is switched on, the system displays the following options:
    • Dynamic Items: This defines that Product reports dynamic items in the Usage File, i.e. the ones that were not pre-declared in the Product Definition.
    • Future Charges: Product can generate usage reports with charges assigned to future dates.
    • Predictive Estimates: Product supports predictive reporting of Consumption data within the Billing period before the actual Usage File.
    • Reporting Schema: An implemented usage schema that is explicitly declared in the product definition. The system includes Quantity, Multi-Tier Rated, Price Rated and Cost Rated schemas. Note that one product implements only one schema.

Learn how to manage capabilities by accessing Capabilities within the Product module documentation.

Reporting Schemas

A product that includes pay-as-you-go items allows Vendors to generate a variety of usage report files via the Usage module on the CloudBlue Connect platform. Such usage reports are used by Distributors or Resellers for subsequent billing operations. Therefore, the Connect platform helps your organization and your business partners regulate prices and charge your customers for the provided services.

The following schematically illustrates and describes all usage reporting schemas that are available on the Connect platform:

  • Quantity: Bill rate based on the item-level quantity information that Distributors (or Resellers) receive from their Vendors.
  • Price Rated: Billing based on the item-level Tier-0 (End-customer) price information. Other prices are calculated by Distributors or Reseller systems.
  • Cost Rated: Bill rate based on the item-level Distributor Cost information. Other prices are calculated by Distributors or Reseller systems.
  • Tiers Rated: Billing based on the item-level price information for multiple Tiers. Therefore, Distributor or Reseller systems can simply apply all prices that are provided by the Vendor system.

One schema per a product

Note that the system allows selecting only one schema per one product on the CloudBlue Connect platform.

In case you require more information on completing a usage report file with your selected schema, please refer to the Usage – Vendor Portal subarticle.

Workflow

The Usage module workflow and interactions between Vendors and Distributors are described and schematically illustrated below:

  1. Vendors collect raw data, i.e., information that should be formatted and uploaded to the Connect platform.
  2. Vendors specify required data by using an example template file.
  3. Vendors upload normalized usage report file to Connect. The system processes uploaded usage report file.
  4. Once the file processing is complete, Vendors can submit a report. Thus, the system transfers this file to the Pending state.
  5. Distributors review and accept the pending usage report file. In case of an error, Distributors can also reject this file.
  6. Export of records for billing either using record-level API calls or using the bulk file export.
  7. Received usage data is utilized by Distributors to bill their Customers or Resellers.
  8. Storing of reconciliation data either on a record-level or using the bulk file upload.

Note that the Usage module also features standalone workflows for usage files and usage record objects. Refer to the Usage – State Machine documentation to learn more about the workflows and all available statuses of these objects.

Next Steps

Access the following articles to learn more about the Usage module graphical user interface, API, and available operations with usage report files from the Vendor Portal and Distributor/Reseller Portal on the Connect platform:

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