CenturyLink Gives Partners, Customers More Cloud Control

By Edward Gately

CenturyLink has introduced a new set of what the company calls channel-friendly features aimed at giving its partners and enterprise customers greater control over their cloud experience.

The company last month debuted an open-source cloud estimator tool that helps channel partners more easily provide customized estimates of cloud costs to their customers. Now, the latest features allow them to control the appearance, access point, available settings, cloud locations, price, and documentation and tooling.

The new features are part of CenturyLink Cloud’s 21-day cycle for innovation development, and were prompted in part by feedback from current partners and enterprise customers, said Richard Seroter, director of product management.

“All of these things are available today,” he told Channel Partners. “If you’re a user of the platform, you can do these. Also, these aren’t nickel and dime things, these come at no (additional) cost.”

Partners and enterprise customers can now change how the CenturyLink Cloud Control Portal looks to their customers and users, not only by altering the color scheme and logos, but also by modifying listed support phone numbers, email addresses and messages, and Knowledge Base links.

Also, the latest software release allows partners and customers to use a non-CenturyLink branded domain – a personalized login page with their logo – to access the control portal.

“Companies may want to slowly introduce major new features to their user base, and now that’s possible in the CenturyLink Cloud,” Seroter said. “The new Service Catalog makes it easy to set feature visibility for an entire account hierarchy.”

For channel partners based in a specific location, they can build an offering targeting a specific set of data centers; for example, a partner in Germany can target data centers that work best for their business geographically, he said.

As for pricing, CenturyLink Cloud now supports a “name your own price” capacity that allows partners to set per-account pricing for any cloud service.

“They can mark up or go down in some cases if they’re willing to take a loss,” Seroter said. “That price can be what you as a partner or enterprise customer … want to show your users even though we might have a different rate.”

CenturyLink Cloud also has made its Knowledge Base open source, where partners can either submit updates or customize it. In addition, its cost estimator has been open-sourced so it can be personalized and hosted anywhere.

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