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(Team interview series - edition 1)

BillOps interview by Sharath and Kalpesh


Our marketing department had organized an interview for members of our engineering team. The interview was conducted for Sharath Bantwal and Kalpesh Bhandari who provided informative answers about Aquila Cloud’s BillOps system and what they feel about working on it as developers.


A little bit about our engineers, Sharath Bantwal heads engineering at Aquila Clouds. He is an innovative leader with a focus on delivering products that create huge value to customers and is passionate about practical application of automation and Machine Learning to drive value and efficiency. Kalpesh Bhandari is our project lead for BillOps. He is a very experienced full-stack developer and now leads the team to work on BillOps. He's been with us since the very beginning.


Question: What is BillOps, its importance and why do customers like our BillOps offering?

Answer: (Sharath) Designed with an intent to specialize Cloud Billing Operations for Cloud resellers, our BillOps is a SaaS platform for customizable bill compilation and generation across multiple public clouds: AWS, MS Azure, GCP and Oracle Cloud. BillOps throws a spotlight on how billing operations can be improved in our customers’ organizations. Our automated capabilities help improve operator productivity whilst providing clear accountability on resource consumptions for all end customers. BillOps provides a perfect reflection of the health of the organization's billing operations and helps the organization to focus on optimal efficiency.


Question: What pain points/problems are we solving for the market?

Answer: (Kalpesh) Cloud resellers are dealing with cloud services, which require complex and effective practices. But some of them are still using Excel sheets and manual operations for billing, which is very much prone to errors. BillOps provides the right amount of automation to billing operations. Also, a lot of times when piggybacking on the invoices generated by Cloud vendors, Cloud resellers miss out some details such as cost for each resource since they only see aggregated numbers. Hence with the use of BillOps, they can be more efficient with customized pricing and more accurate in creating charges to their end customers.


(Sharath): BillOps acts as an intelligence and an analytical tool for Cloud resellers in a way that it helps to identify if something is not being done the right way. For example, it can expose if different rates are charged to customers. Also, it provides the user with informative insights and analytics which can help them to identify more leads as well and help with up-selling.


Questions: Why do you think we have an edge over competitors?

Answer: (Sharath): Compared to other services, we operate on a model that is agent-less or non intrusive. There are organizations that have simple billing rules and do not support bundle offerings while our system helps to eliminate these problems as well by providing the right tools and features.


(Kalpesh): In regards to some of our competitors, they have some requirements such as a need to run PowerShell scripts and a VM that they need to run in order to provide their services while our system can run through Public API’s of subscription and bring the usage data.


Question: What do you enjoy working on BillOps?

Answer: (Kalpesh) It feels great to work on a tool that helps a user to increase productivity and reduce wastage of time and manual labour. For example, when generating a particular bill for the user, the amount of time was a lot, up-to one to two days just for one customer. But with our BillOps it reduces the time to minutes or hours. With our solution, we continuously update the bill with new data, hence when the billing cycle ends, the bills are ready for the customer. Also, as our tool provides a room for further customization and visuality of consumption data, users can do a lot of analyses as well. Knowing that our tools help the user to increase their business and profits by employing the right features brings joy to us as developers as well. All in all, development of BillOps was a nice experience and it also helped me look from the perspective of the end user and that was something very satisfying.


(Sharath) As I believe that our BillOps system helps to ease the operations and makes a difference in the lives of users, it brings a great feel of satisfaction on both personal as well as professional level.


Question: What do you not enjoy?

Answer: (Sharath) The initial tasks such as getting familiar with the industry requirements, standards and the practices were a little bit long winded to grasp and learn. And we started to appreciate why customers need our platform to solve their billing problems.


(Kalpesh) In the metric world, the error margin up to 10% is still acceptable, but for BillOps and the industry, we need to be very exact and careful hence it adds a good amount of stress on us as engineers running the software. Actually I am glad that the bar is raised so that we produce better quality products.


Question: Share any positive client experiences in regards to BillOps.

Answer: (Kalpesh and Sharath) The automation that our service has provided to our customers have helped them make their operations more effective and efficient. Also, the positive response and the comments from them about our tools makes us even more motivated.



Question: Who all can benefit from our BillOps system?

Answer: (Sharath) Organizations such as Cloud resellers, IT Consulting companies, Managed Service Providers and whoever manages cloud for their end customers can take advantage of BillOps.


Question: What do you think BillOps can evolve to in the future?

Answer: (Kalpesh and Sharath) In the near future, we would want to support all the major and popular clouds and on-prem as well as all the aspects of cloud expenses be managed and planned under the same system. We both are certain that Aquila Clouds’ BillOps is and will be a one-of-a-kind product, which has the potential to revolutionize this area of operations and we are glad to work on such a product.



End





  • Sarthak Arora

Updated: Jul 14

Dear All,


Year 2020 has brought many challenges that no one was prepared for. It has taught us to give importance to our well being more than ever. As the whole world fights Covid-19, most countries are faced with uphill tasks of ensuring that their economies don't slip into a recession, boosting morale of its citizens and combating a plethora of local challenges.


To ensure business continuity and to tide over this challenging time, businesses and institutions have increased their investments and dependence on cloud solutions more than ever. Data scientists are training their models to find solutions for Covid-19 on the cloud, business communications across the globe are carried out over cloud-based conference calls.


Aquila Clouds helps businesses and institutions with cloud deployments to make deployments more cost effective, lean, secure and high performance.


Recent Milestone


Our BillOps platform - An automated billing and invoicing system for cloud resellers, is generating tremendous traction. Recently, a Nasdaq listed company deployed our BillOps platform for their finance operations to automate and accelerate their billing process, thereby bidding an adieu to error-prone manual process.


Company Mission

Our CMCO platform provides five services that offer visibility, recommendation and actions according to your industry, domain, or organization’s department:

  • BillOps: A service that automates and accelerates complex billing operations for Cloud Resellers. With BillOps, your customers will have all regularities and transparency in their monthly bills and your employees won’t fret about the cumbersome task of managing spreadsheets.

  • FinOps: A service that transforms cloud finance data into insights for optimizing operational costs. With FinOps, you will have complete transparency for your cloud financial health, chargeback to other departments, and governance of budgets.

  • InfraOps: A service that improves the productivity of your infrastructure team. With InfraOps, you can automate the daily management of infrastructure, including provisioning, resource and capacity management, and security and compliance management.

  • ServiceOps: A service that enables you to manage all components of your cloud services from a single window. With ServiceOps, you will have a one stop-solution for infrastructure, application, and service performance management!

  • Cloud Advisory: A service that enables you to identify and migrate to the most cost-effective cloud setup based on the current setup of your organization. With Cloud Advisory, you can be assured of using the most cost effective solution whether you are migrating from on-prem to cloud or from one cloud setup to another.

Reach out to us at sales@aquilaclouds.com if you’re interested in any of these CMCO services. We are also seeking development partners to enhance our services. Reach out directly to desmond@aquilaclouds.com if you are interested.


Social Media

We are on all major social media platforms. Follow us for the latest information related to the industry, our services and learn more about relevant articles, blogs and best practices.


visit us at www.aquilaclouds.com, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.


Opportunities

We are looking for like-minded and focused people to help us continue to deliver better solutions. For more details, please visit  Aquila Clouds Careers.


If you have a partnership query or are interested in more details about Aquila Clouds, please feel free to contact us at sales@aquilaclouds.com, visit us at www.aquilaclouds.com, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.


Updated: Mar 19

For a CSP (Cloud Solution Provider) that offers multiple cloud solutions to organizations, often the biggest challenge is not enabling customers to use these solutions, but it is in ensuring that the customers are correctly billed for their usage. Primarily, most CSPs find it difficult to properly account for all the resources offered to a client in the monthly bill and to apply the correct discount offer/rate card/rate pack that is defined for a customer or a group of customers. If usage bills are not generated correctly, they may not only lead to revenue losses but they may also impact the organization’s reputation if customers notice any issues in monthly bills. Often customers request for access to a portal that provides them an itemized snapshot of their bills based on their usage so that they can optimize operating costs and manage resources. For this reason, many CSPs, using unreliable cloud billing solutions which might result in other market players getting access to your customer information.

If your organization is a CSP and has been worried by any of the problems like these or other similar problems, Aquila Clouds platform offers a specialized solution that precisely addresses all billing requirements of CSPs. You automatically ingest customer data from your cloud service provider to Aquila Clouds platform, and account for as many resources as used by customers and customize the resource rates for each customer. Aquila Clouds not only guarantees operational excellence but also assures you that your customer satisfaction index will be the highest when it comes to providing them with accurate monthly usage bills.

Aquila Clouds platform features BillOps system that enables the CSPs to perform the following tasks for billing customers using the Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure / Azure Stack and Google Cloud Platform:


· Define a rate card line: You can define region-specific rate card lines for each category and sub-category of resources. The rate card can be defined for hourly, daily and monthly units according to the resource count. Aquila Clouds enables you to define the period for which the rate card remains effective and set the state of rate card to Active or In-Active so that rate card can be reused as and when required. This saves you from wrongly applying rate cards to customers or regions.


· Define a rate pack: You can define a rate pack to bundle up two or more resources that are frequently used by a customer or a group of customers. This enables you to consider all resources (of same or different categories) that are used and to offer discounts to customers that use many resources. For a rate pack, you can define a pack level rate or define a rate for each resource included in the pack. This saves you from wrongly applying discounts to customers or regions.


· Import rate packs: You can also import any existing rate pack that is defined for any other region or customer and reuse it. This saves you from duplicating rate packs.


Define a managed service: You can account for the costs incurred for managed service for any resource used by your end-customer. You can add cost for the managed service as markup or add it as a discount.


· Generate and view monthly bills for customers: You can generate monthly bills for customers and set their state to Draft to review the bill details before publishing it. This helps you to ensure that the rate cards and/or rate packs are properly assigned to the required customer or group of customers.


· Billing portal for end-customers: Aquila Clouds provides end-customers access to the billing portal to enable your customers to get an itemized snapshot of their operating costs and accordingly plan their operations. This provides additional transparency and assurance to your customers.


Note: Itemized snapshot is available to the customers only if the bill is generated and set to the Frozen state.


All these features come with an assurance of complete protection of your customer information. So, if you are a CSP, Aquila Clouds is the perfect solution to your organization’s any billing needs.

Sign up for a preview of Aquila Clouds BillOps system.

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