A Buyer’s Guide to Sourcing Network Services on Cloudscene Marketplace
Cloudscene Marketplace enables buyers of network services to connect with, request, and manage quotes from global service providers to fulfil their requirements.
Once they have signed up for a Cloudscene account, buyers begin sourcing with creating a listing on Cloudscene Marketplace that details their network needs and enables service providers, including their preferred vendors if they wish, to respond and provide quotes.
From there, Cloudscene makes it easy to organize responses and communication with service providers, collaborate on projects with their team members, and get a holistic view of their sourcing activities for tracking and reporting.
In this guide, we cover best practices and tips for sourcing network services on Cloudscene Marketplace so that buyers receive a customer-first experience and are supported in obtaining the optimum services for their business with competitive pricing.
#1 How to Create a Marketplace Listing
To publish a listing on Cloudscene, you first need to ensure you have a Cloudscene account. It’s free to join; click here to set up an account with us.
Before you begin your listing, consider the level of access you would like service providers to have. There are two types of listings available to create:
- Public – A public listing is published on Cloudscene Marketplace and viewable by anyone with a Cloudscene account. This means all available service providers can respond to and quote your listing.
Public listings are valuable for those companies that would like the maximum amount of quotes from a variety of different service providers to fulfil their requirements and those that are unsure of which service providers to connect to.
- Private – A private listing is only visible to the service providers you invite to respond. This means that no other vendors have the opportunity to quote your requirements and only the suppliers you invite will see your company name.
Private listings are valuable for those companies that want to compare offerings and pricing between a select few of their preferred suppliers without opening up their listing to all available service providers.
Create your listing details
- Create a listing title: The title of your listing determines how it will appear to service providers who may respond to you. It should describe your requirements at a high level with some key details. We recommend including the markets you are connecting in and the services you require to maximize your responses – e.g. IP Transit and Colocation in Chicago.
- Select the listing start and end dates: These dates determine how long your listing will appear on Marketplace. We recommend making a listing active for at least two weeks to maximize your exposure. If you’re not ready to immediately start receiving bids from service providers, you can schedule your listing to become active at your preferred date and time. Your listing end date will show up in the timezone of the user who is viewing it.
- Select your listing type: Here’s where you can select whether you’d like your listing to be public or private.
Add your service requirements
Services that you can source on Cloudscene Marketplace include: Colocation, dark fiber, ethernet, internet access, IP Transit, and more.
- In the Service Requirements section, click on the Add Services button.
- Select the type of service you would like to source, e.g. Colocation.
- Fill in the details for your service. If you have more specific technical requirements you would like to share, you can click Advanced Options and will be prompted to add additional details..
- If you have any further details or clarification to pass onto providers about this specific service, you can add this info in the Additional Notes section.
- If you have additional services you would like to add, click the Add Services button again. You can do this for as many services as you require. When you’re done adding services, you can proceed to the Markets section.
Specify your markets
Specifying a market lets service providers know in which country and/or city the services will be required. You can specify up to 10 separate markets per listing.
If your listing is public, specifying a market will alert each service provider available in that market that you wish to hear from them. If your listing is private, only the providers you select in the Service Providers section will be able to see your listing, regardless of which market(s) you select.
Select service providers
If your listing is public, and you would like to receive quotes from all eligible providers in your selected market(s), you can leave this section blank. Otherwise, you can use this section to select specific service providers you wish to alert about your Marketplace listing.
Invite approved vendors and preferred contacts
Our vendor management system enables you to invite your approved vendors and preferred contacts from specific service providers to receive a request to quote your requirements. For example, you may wish to invite your current account manager at a data center operator to include them in the bidding process while reaching out to the open market for more pricing options. You can do this easily by clicking Add New Vendor Contact when you’re selecting service providers to invite to your listing.
Here, you can provide documentation such as spreadsheets to support your requirements. This may help service providers understand your service needs in more technical detail and therefore, provide a more accurate bid on your listing.
Include any additional information
The final section allows you to add any additional information to your listing – e.g. I require a (specified) minimum SLA on uptime for colocated infrastructure / I require uncontested connectivity on my requested route.
Publish your listing
- Click on the checkbox at the bottom of the page to confirm the terms and conditions.
- Click the Publish button. Your listing will now go live on Marketplace and/or be sent to the service providers you’ve invited to respond.
Hot tips for creating a listing
- Ensure you’ve added as much detail as possible to your listing so that service providers are more likely to be able to quote your requirements accurately.
- Add documentation to support your requirements where you can so service providers can understand the tech specs of your project and where your requirements sit within this.
- If you have confidential requirements but still would like to create a public listing, you can utilize the Cloudscene Concierge Service where we manage your listing for you. This way, your company name will display “Cloudscene Managed Quote” and nobody will be able to identify your organization.
#2 Managing your responses
Service providers you’ve requested quotes from should respond to you shortly after you’ve published your Marketplace listing with an ‘intent to bid’ on your listing. This will be followed up with a quote provided directly to you in My Marketplace. If your listing is public, you may also receive quotes from the open market for your requirements. You’ll be able to easily view, manage, and respond to these quotes within your Cloudscene account.
Comparing and shortlisting quotes
Due to Cloudscene’s quality control protocols, you should always only receive quotes back from the service providers that can fulfil your requirements, and they should provide a concise but detailed response on how they are best-suited to do so. However, it’s best practice to double-check that all of these response details do match up with each of your requirements including, RFS dates, available capacity, and contract terms.
Pricing is an excellent indicator for comparing and shortlisting quotes. If your team is clear on your budget for network spend before shortlisting your quotes, it should be easy to make that decision. When deciding on a service provider, (and for easy reporting later), you can export a CSV of information on all of the current bids on each of your Marketplace listings enabling you to compare quotes easily, side by side.
#3 Choosing a quote
Selecting a service provider
It’s time to select and notify a service provider with your opportunity. Please ensure you do this before or on the date on which your listing expires. As vendors will likely be managing many opportunities on Marketplace, it’s preferable that you respond to them as soon as possible to let them know whether or not they have won the bid. You can select a service provider as Successful in My Marketplace.
Please ensure that you got through the process of declining bids that have not been successful on your Marketplace opportunity. It’s best to do this as soon as possible (by marking the provider/s as Unsuccessful in My Marketplace). Please also remember to provide a reason as to why the vendor has not been successful – Marketplace works best when both buyers and sellers are transparent in their communication.
#4 Tracking and managing procurement activities
Once you’ve selected and notified a service provider/s, you can organize service fulfilment outside of the platform (your contact details will be sent through to the successful service provider/s when you have selected them and it’s their responsibility to get in contact with you directly).
The great thing about a centralized and digitized platform for procurement is that you’ll have access to all communications and activities to track and manage your process from start to finish. This makes reporting easy and enables you to stay on top of your time-to-market, your spend, your listing performance, and (depending on your permissions) your team’s procurement activities.
Getting my team involved
Cloudscene works best when you collaborate with your team. Your colleagues will likely already be part of your Cloudscene company team as anyone who signs up for a Cloudscene account is automatically added as a team member to their relevant company account. Below are some ways in which each teammate can contribute to a collaborative and productive team environment.
Invite your procurement team to source the optimum network services for your business, request quotes, and compare vendors.
Get your marketing teammates on board to update your company profile and data which could improve searchability and rankings.
Need help with researching and comparing services to achieve the best outcome and pricing? Sounds like a job for the product team.
Your sales team can respond to any inbound quote requests from network buyers to help fulfil their services.
Bring in a colleague at the executive level to oversee and optimize teamwork, activities, and spend.
What if I have a large project that requires multiple services in different markets?
In order to manage a large project on Cloudscene, the best option would be to break this down into multiple listings to increase your chances of getting the most competitive pricing across various markets – and to make things more efficient. We can help you with this! Feel free to reach out to our team here for assistance in completing multiple listings for a large project.
I need responses ASAP. How do I know the suppliers are working on my quote request?
When you create a listing, you must set an expiry date. Any service providers that you invite to quote your listing will be required to provide this within the listing duration and prior to its expiry date. They will be prompted to respond to you as soon as possible, however, if you need quotes immediately, we recommend that you consider this when setting your listing’s expiry date.
My requirements changed after the listing was published. Can I update my listing and will the suppliers be notified of this change?
Yes – you can edit your listing once it’s published. Any service providers that you’ve invited to quote the listing will be notified so they can update their quotes if needed to suit any requirements that may have changed and/or any additional requirements you might have.
I have requirements in a lot of different markets. I would like suppliers that have data centers in multiple markets to provide a package deal. How do I do that?
The most efficient way to receive a bundled package deal is to create an RFP with all of the sites and requirements. Cloudscene will determine which suppliers can provide a bundled offer and invite them using a private listing. That way we can target who receives the package deals. We can also run public listings in parallel so you can evaluate all suppliers in order to get the best price.
I want to be able to get quotes for more than one term, can I easily ask for that?
Yes – when creating a listing, you can specify that you’d like to receive quotes for multiple different terms in the ‘additional notes’ section of the requirements.
I have an account team that I work with, why would I use this tool instead of sending my requirements to my account team?
If you have approved vendors and preferred contacts with specific service providers that you already work with, you can use the vendor management function when creating a listing. It allows you to add your approved vendor and preferred contact to be specifically invited to provide a quote. Marketplace enables you to source and manage network services in an easy, streamlined way and in addition, you can not only source from existing vendors but also go to the open market to compare pricing.
If I don’t receive enough quotes, can I extend the expiration date?
Yes, you can easily extend the expiration date by clicking the ‘edit my listing’ button and changing the listing’s end date.
How can I end the listing early if I don’t want additional responses?
You can choose to end your listing early by clicking the ‘end listing’ option within the listing. However, we recommend ensuring that all of your chosen service providers have responded to your listing before you do so – and/or you let them know why you’ve chosen to do this (which you’ll be prompted to do if you end the listing) as we encourage transparent communication between buyers and sellers on Cloudscene Marketplace.
I only want Tier 3 data centers to respond to my request. How can I ensure I don’t get responses that aren’t part of my requirement?
It’s possible to stipulate in your requirements that only certain providers should bid based on meeting specific criteria. Alternatively, by creating a private listing, you can invite only those service providers you wish to respond to your requirements – this will not be published publicly on Marketplace and no other vendors will be able to see or respond to your listing.
Do I contract with Cloudscene or directly with the supplier?
After using Cloudscene Marketplace for sourcing your optimum service providers, you then contract directly with the chosen supplier to fulfil your services. Cloudscene is not an agent or a reseller.
Does Cloudscene take a commission so my prices could be higher than normal?
Our goal is to ensure you are getting the most competitive rates, therefore, Cloudscene does not take any commissions and we do not charge fees to either the buyer or the seller. The price you receive is directly from the chosen supplier.
Will I receive the supplier contact information or does Cloudscene coordinate between parties?
When a supplier responds to your listing, you will receive an email notification with the supplier’s contact information. The supplier will not receive your information until you contact them directly.
Does Cloudscene verify that the suppliers who use Cloudscene and may respond to my listings are legitimate?
Before a supplier is added in Cloudscene, we verify they are a legitimate supplier of colocation and/or connectivity. However, it is up to the customer to do their due diligence to ensure the supplier can meet your desired SLAs. This can be accomplished by establishing an MSA with the supplier or including your terms & conditions in the service order form.
I have one location where I just want to get a quote from suppliers that are on-net or near net. Is there a way to know that information?
Yes, you can use our Cloud Pathfinder tool to identify on-net and near-net suppliers at a particular address. You can define your requirements and send a quote request to multiple suppliers with just a click of a button!
Can I see information about data centers like the available suppliers at the site and specs?
Yes, each data center has its own profile in Cloudscene that includes technical details, certifications, service providers, network fabrics and cloud on-ramps that are available.