Wizards, tutorials and analytics – do more with your cloud
Cloud isn’t just about technology
Offering a cloud service is not only about deploying VM instances, managing templates or delivering DevOps agility to your organisation. When you decide to productise and customise your cloud service, you need to think about other collateral actions that will directly contribute to the success of your cloud project.
Features such as multi-branding and multi-language support are a big help and Abiquo has incorporated them from the very beginning. But styling and localizing the user interface might not be enough. There will be differences between the vocabulary used in a DevOps environment and that used in an enterprise, or an MSP service. So Abiquo has always enabled our customers to customise the vocabulary and terms their users will see. For example, a tenant in an MSP environment might be a department in an enterprise space. In other environments this could be a project or a unit.
Use your own business terms
In Abiquo 3.2 we have improved this supporting feature by separating “default” terms from “customised” terms in two different files, enabling you to more easily preserve your customisation between releases, thereby simplifying the maintenance process.
And our reseller model support enables you to manage different brands on the same Abiquo platform, by deploying different language files and other customisations in separate domains, thereby enabling full function delegation to reseller companies that will offer your cloud services to their end customers.
But now we’ve taken this a step further. In the new Abiquo 3.2 release we incorporate two important new capabilities to improve the take-up and efficiency of your cloud platform.
Wizards and Tutorials
Even if you think your platform is the easiest platform in the world to use, new users probably have a different view when presented with a rich set of portal functions. Abiquo has always had comprehensive documentation and “getting started” guides on the Abiquo wiki but as nobody really likes to read manuals, we’ve added a key capability to help get your users familiar with the platform.
Abiquo 3.2 incorporates the ability to create custom wizards and tutorials for your users. Abiquo will include some of these out of the box, and you can develop your own step-by-step tutorials to enable users to learn about your specific features and processes, and wizards to guide them through tasks. Add videos, animated GIFs, HTML, and whatever else you need to guide the user through the platform. You can identify any Abiquo element by ID or name, and highlight it. You can also prevent the user from moving to the next step until they click a specific button, and much more cool stuff.
Even better, you can create specific tutorials for each role on the platform, as you will see in the following video.
You may like to use this to introduce new features, services or application templates to your users – it’s much more immediate and interactive than an email newsletter!
Do you have a Support system? Do you want to know if your users like your latest feature? Do you want to incorporate a chat to interact with them? Nowadays there are hundreds (or even thousands) of SaaS companies that offer their advanced systems to incorporate in your site. Why not in Abiquo? Abiquo 3.2 enables you to organize all these snippets and show them in your Abiquo UI. When you do this, the result is really cool!
The above screenshot shows how you can add a UserVoice widget to ask your users about their satisfaction with the service, and enable them to add new ideas or send a message. On the right, a chat box provides direct on-line contact between your user and the service desk.
You can also use this with analytics tools such as Google Analytics to understand how your users interact with your Abiquo cloud platform.
These are two of the new features added in Abiquo 3.2 to boost your production cloud services. But there are more to come, because for Abiquo these kinds of capabilities are as important as supporting a new cloud provider or a new technology. Because we understand that user satisfaction will be a key indicator in measuring the success of your service.
As always, you will see our new features very soon in Abiquo anyCloud
A key characteristic of a cloud solution is self-service – allowing the cloud consumer to provision their computing capabilities without the intervention of an administrator. Many IT administrators will shudder at the thought of providing the user with a full self service experience.
Frightened IT- guy meme
Abiquo helps here by providing self service to the cloud consumers, whilst allowing the cloud administrator, or infrastructure owner to remain in complete control. Abiquo’s controlled self service is delivered through several different features:
1. The Cloud administrator controls which logical pools of private resource (Abiquo data centers), or public cloud regions any tenant (Abiquo enterprise) can use
2. The cloud administrator sets resource limits to control how much resource a tenant can use in any one datacenter. Read how to do this here.
3. The cloud administrator defines allocation rules, so that when a consumer deploys through self service the administrator has control over where the workload is provisioned and how the infrastructure is utilised.
4. Finally how the consumers self service capabilities are controlled by over 56 separate privileges (that can be grouped into roles), that define what information can be viewed in the Abiquo UI, and what tasks the user can perform. By configuring roles the cloud administrator can delegate as much (or as little) self-service as required.