AVG Seeks SaaS-based Billing Partner; Plans for AWS-hosted Managed WorkplaceAVG Seeks SaaS-based Billing Partner; Plans for AWS-hosted Managed Workplace
AVG Technologies is looking for a SaaS-based partner to provide billing services for partners using its Managed Workplace remote monitoring and management (RMM) platform. That's because the current billing system has "reached its ceiling," SMB GM Mike Foreman told MSPmentor in an exclusive interview. Here are the details of that and other news from our one-on-one with Foreman.
October 24, 2014
AVG Technologies (AVG) plans to rip and replace its own internal billing system, and Mike Foreman, AVG’s general manager of SMB told MSPmentor that AVG is looking for a software as a service (SaaS) solution company partner with to deliver it. Also on the roadmap? A plan to host the company’s remote monitoring and management platform, Managed Workplace, on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform.
Foreman shared the details of these and other initiatives with MSPmentor during an exclusive interview this week at the company’s Cloud Partner Summit in Phoenix.
Here are some of the interview excerpts:
MSPmentor: What was the impetus for AVG’s partnership with identity-as-a-service (IDaaS) provider Centrify?
Mike Foreman: We’ve seen that data is more than just in the office. With the rise of cloud applications, data is everywhere and needs to be easily accessible. We’re trying to put control of that data back into our partners’ hands.
We’re going to launch CloudCare Secure Sign-On, which will provide multi-factor authentication to log into AVG’s services. We’re really securing our interface into our cloud services, and we’re going to provide that to our partners so they can provide this functionality to their customers inside this secure login. There will be over 2,500 cloud applications that can be deployed and managed securely with CloudCare Secure Sign-On.
We really want to find a way to ensure our channel can embrace mobile. We have mobile device management (MDM) platforms, but we really need to find a way to do more. We want to make sure the channel can take control of customers’ data and provide value with managing it. This will provide bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and businesses’ data to be secure. It will provide value to businesses, and it will also allow the channel to secure customers’ data.
MSPm: Can you discuss AVG’s global expansion plans?
MF: We opened an office in Brazil last week, and we have a team out there that includes about 15 people. That’s the most recent expansion we’ve completed.
We started with Brazil, and we’re looking to expand out in that area. In the Latin America markets, there is great acceptance of the cloud. This is a fast-growing area for the cloud, both from the business side and the consumer side.
MSPm: In your presentation (at the AVG Cloud Partner Summit), you mentioned that AVG is currently looking at partnerships with software-as-a-service-based (SaaS-based) billing companies. Can you elaborate?
MF: We put a search out to find out what it would take to build a billing system. Our billing system has reached its ceiling, so we’re going to remove that and replace it with a best-of-breed, cloud SaaS hosted billing and invoicing solution.
We currently have a search out to a number of vendors. We want these guys to be able to deliver on all of our requirements for what we need in a billing system.
This partnership will allow our billing and development teams to focus on building out great products and not be distracted with trying to build out billing engines when there are companies that are experts in that.
MSPm: What are your requirements for a SaaS-based billing company?
MF: Simplicity! We need to be able to accommodate the different services that we’re bringing into our platforms and accommodate that across the billing models.
I speak with partners, and they spend days or even months reconciling an invoice, and that’s not a good use of time. If I can get that down to zero or just a few minutes with automation, that would be considered successful.
My goal for this year is to get the contracts signed and then to announce the partnership next year.
MSPm: You also mentioned adding Amazon Web Services (AWS) capabilities to Managed Workplace during your presentation. Can you provide more details?
MF: What we’re looking to do is host Managed Workplace on the AWS platform. We want to ensure that we can expand quicker. We’re going to look to leverage AWS.
We already have some partners on AWS. We’ve run a six-to-eight week pilot program, and we’re halfway through it at this point. We want to make sure that we get the functionality working, and so far, there have been successful results.
We’re running the AWS pilot this year, and we’ll look to leverage it in 2015.
MSPm: Can you discuss the partner portal that AVG plans to release early next year?
MF: What I’ve tasked (AVG Vice President of Marketing and Product Marketing of SMB) Joanna Brace to do is to get closer to the partners, understand what they need from a product management point of view and support them in the field. The new partner portal should be a tool and a platform that both supports them in the field and allows them to take our products to the market.
Also, we want to expand on our partner development program, which is about helping our partners understand the products we offer. That’s going to be scalable, and we’ll be looking at the portal to help us deliver our message and our training to partners. We want to make sure the program is scalable so it reaches our partners across all of our geographies.
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