Comparing Work 365 and CSP Control Center: Why Work 365?

Work 365 and CSP Control Center provide CSP and billing automation solutions for Microsoft Partners.

Some of the benefits of an integrated billing solution are:

  • Grow recurring revenue and enable new subscription services
  • Reduce or eliminate customer complaints due to billing errors
  • Self-Service portals reduce the burden on finance, admin, and sales and the cost of managing subscriptions and collecting revenue.
  • Integrating provisioning, subscription management, and your accounting system to plug revenue leakage.
  • Compliments your PSA and accounting system, lowers the cost of ownership of both these systems, and increases business agility.

We’ll cover what’s expected in a subscription management and billing automation system and highlight the differences.

Provisioning and Subscription Management

Both solutions integrate with Microsoft Partner Center and other distributors and are widely used by both Microsoft Indirect Resellers and Microsoft Direct CSPs. In addition, there is support for NCE and Microsoft products and program changes. Apart from Microsoft subscription licenses such as Microsoft 365, and Dynamics 365, they both support Azure (Usage-based) subscriptions, bundles, add-ons, non-Microsoft products, and one-time items.

The Work 365 advantage:

Work 365 recently announced the support for Pax 8 and Crayon. Work 365 also announced the Provider REST API. With more pre-built distributor integrations and the APIs partners have the flexibility to automate CSP provisioning, which gives them more choices and flexibility to work with vendors.

Work 365 is valuable for MSPs because it supports tracking time and billing service-based tasks. This is a critical function for businesses that rely on billable hours to generate revenue. It allows them to accurately track the time they spend on client projects and generate invoices based on this time. In addition, the ability to track time and bill service-based tasks can help MSPs improve their efficiency, reduce the risk of errors, and better manage their financial performance.

Pricing and Billing Automation

Both solutions have advanced billing capabilities such as proration, handling refunds, defining custom pricing, and discounts at a customer or subscription level.

Work 365 offers a feature called price indexation, which allows businesses to automatically adjust subscription prices at renewal time based on factors such as inflation or promotional pricing. This is useful for software companies and MSPs looking to manage their pricing effectively.

“CSP control center automates Microsoft pricing changes by leveraging Microsoft APIs.”

Work 365 can handle price changes from Microsoft in a number of ways. The Product Service feature includes:

  1. Automatic updates: Work 365 maintains and manages the entire Microsoft product catalog across categories, segments, and currencies. These include license-based subscriptions such as Office 365 and Dynamics 365, Azure Reserved Instances, Usage-based such as Azure, Software Subscriptions, Perpetual Licenses, and Marketplace items.
  2. Price lists: Microsoft CSPs can maintain a list of current prices for Microsoft products and services. When creating subscriptions and invoices, the solution can use the latest prices from the list. Work 365 also syncs products and cost pricing based on what has been provisioned in Partner Center.
  3. Price rules: Work 365 highlights subscriptions and customers where there is a price change and can verify and update the subscription cost based on Microsoft’s invoice to account for promotions and partner-earned credit. In addition, partners can update the cost price and selling price based on a specific date or an event, like a renewal date.
  4. Price notifications: The solution highlights new products, NCE, legacy, or price changes.

Work 365 also syncs the product catalog and pricing based on what has been provisioned in Partner Center.

Clear, professional-looking invoices: When compared, we are often asked about our invoices. Work 365 uses Microsoft Word templates to generate invoices. Work 365 supports multiple templates and formats of invoices. Also, because of the advanced billing capabilities, there is clarity on every invoice line item, reducing friction and confusion for the end customer. Azure invoices can be rolled up and grouped by parameters such as Charge Type or Tags.

Self-Service for End Customers

Work 365 and CSP Control Center provide a Self-Service Portal for end customers to manage subscriptions, purchase additional services, provision changes, and view/pay invoices.

 

The difference:

Work 365 is built on Power Portals, and you have complete control of the branding and data you want to expose to your end customers. The partner can completely manage the portal so that they can engage customers and provide differentiated and unique customer experiences.

Pre-built Integrations

Accounting Software & PSA Software:

Both Work 365 and CSP Control Center integrate with QuickBooks and Xero, Autotask and ConnectWise

The difference:

Work 365 has pre-built integrations with Dynamics Business Central and Netsuite.

Work 365 uses the standard invoice entity in Dynamics. Integration platforms such as SmartConnect make it possible to integrate Work 365 with hundreds of ERP and accounting solutions, and with the Dataverse, partners can build their own integrations.

Work 365 is built on Dynamics. Why?

Select a subscription management solution that supports all current and future channels of customer interaction, including customer self-service. Ensure that it is possible to manage as well as sell subscriptions. – Gartner

Subscription billing and managing recurring revenue can be complex and time-consuming and lead to revenue leakage of up to 3%. Multiple revenue-generating events may occur during a subscription’s lifecycle, such as changes in quantities, upgrades, and renewals. These events can originate from the sales process, provisioning process, or external sources such as a partner or a customer using a self-service portal. These events typically result in an invoice that includes customer and financial data. To accurately track and manage recurring revenue, it is vital to have a single system that consolidates customer data from various sources, including sales, service, provisioning history, billing, and renewal.

A comprehensive billing solution can help businesses streamline the subscription billing process and better manage recurring revenue by providing a single record of truth for customer data. In addition, a billing solution can help businesses tune and adjust various levers such as payment terms, contract duration, refunds, discounts, or sales terms to optimize revenue. Aligning the billing process with the sales process can help businesses grow and manage recurring revenue more effectively.

Work 365 can also support multiple languages, currencies, and localization out of the box.

Customizations, Extendibility and Security

According to Gartner, when selecting a subscription management and billing automation solution:

“Choose a recurring billing solution with a modern, flexible, low-code, scalable cloud architecture. Seek out-of-the-box support for the service rating patterns used by your business today and planned for the medium term.”

The advantage of Work 365’s platform:

Work 365 is a cloud-based business management solution built on Microsoft Dynamics and Power Platforms. This allows it to be customized and extended through form changes, plug-ins, and workflows, allowing businesses to tailor the solution to their specific needs. In addition, Work 365 is built on the Dataverse, a secure, scalable platform for storing and managing data. Businesses have complete control over their data and can choose to expose any data to their end customers through the Self-Service Portal. For example, this can be useful for providing customers with real-time updates on their billing and payments.

Other Considerations:

Apart from features, functionality, platform, and technology, several other factors go into a software purchase.

Pricing: The core philosophy of Work 365’s pricing is based on providing the best billing experience for your end customers and reducing the admin burden on your licensing, sales, and finance team. The pricing is based on plans and billing contracts and not on your Microsoft or Provider Invoice (apart from Azure).

Support: Every customer gets a dedicated CSM, and because of our presence in multiple time zones customers can get timely and expert resolutions to their questions and problems. We also conduct Office Hours 4 days a week, attended by Customer Success and Engineering to resolve technical issues and provide guidance on specific use cases and best practices.

Conclusion and what is better for you?

If you need a billing automation solution that aligns with your sale process, gives you the ability to scale your recurring revenue by managing complex and evolving commercial contracts and changes to the Microsoft program, can manage bundles, resale of subscriptions, or one-time items; a solution that can be extended, configured and customized based on your own unique business processes, and ultimately digitally transform the way your entire organization works so that every function is supporting the growth of recurring revenue than you should consider Work 365.