The following page may contain information related to upcoming products, features and functionality. It is important to note that the information presented is for informational purposes only, so please do not rely on the information for purchasing or planning purposes. Just like with all projects, the items mentioned on the page are subject to change or delay, and the development, release, and timing of any products, features or functionality remain at the sole discretion of GitLab Inc.
Last reviewed: 2022-05
The GitLab Fulfillment section is responsible for creating seamless commercial experiences for our customers by evolving our systems. Our goal is to make it easy for customers to purchase, activate, and manage their GitLab subscriptions. By making it easier for customers to purchase, provision, and manage their GitLab subscriptions we increase customer satisfaction and improve our go-to-market (GTM) efficiency. Improving our GTM efficiency helps our team to accelerate revenue growth and helps GitLab scale as a company.
Fulfillment is currently divided into five groups:
If you have any feedback on our direction we'd love to hear from you. Feel free and raise an MR, open an issue, or contact Omar Fernández
Provide customers with a consistently great experience by making it easy for them to purchase GitLab paid subscriptions, provision the features they pay for, and manage any subscription changes needed such as increasing seat count, purchasing consumables, and renewing their subscription.
GitLab paid plans offer rich feature-sets that enable our customers to build software faster and more securely. For the Fulfillment section, success is to make it as easy as we can for a customer to transact with GitLab, pay the appropriate fees, and unlock the value of these rich feature sets in our paid plans.
To do this, we strive to make our subscription purchase and management process simple, support our customer's preferred purchasing channels, as well as their preferred payment methods. Delivering on this vision requires investments across all interfaces where customers conduct business with GitLab. Given the breadth of countries, organization sizes, and industries that benefit from the GitLab product, we strive to be excellent at both direct transactions via our web commerce portal or our sales team, as well as sales via Channels and Alliances.
By providing seamless experiences, our vision is to improve operational efficiency, enabling our Sales teams to spend their time on accounts with high LAM, and enable functions like Support and Finance to spend less time manually supporting customers and our field teams.
There are significant headwinds as we seek to make progress in Fulfillment systems.
To achieve our mission, we are focusing on the following areas:
Provide customers with a best-in-class webstore
Many new customers start with a small subscription or first order. A common example would be Alex (Application Development Manager) choosing to purchase GitLab for their team. Alex may work at a small startup or may be part of a sub-team within a large enterprise. Either way, Alex is looking for a quick, self-service way to get started with GitLab. By providing a simple and easy-to-use transaction experience we can get out of Alex's way and get them back to adopting newly acquired features.
In FY23, we began an effort to evaluate, procure, and integrate a vendor solution for subscription commerce and management. This will enable GitLab to provide internal teams and our customers with the benefits of typical e-commerce functionality, without building and and maintaining standard e-commerce and subscription management functionality that a vendor solution can provide. We will focus our team's e-commerce efforts on differentiated functionality that enhances what the vendor solution can provide. We will also enable other teams, such as Growth, to contribute more to our webstore experience.
As part of our efforts we also aim to provide more options at checkout and improve cohesion in our GTM self-service funnel. As one example: we want to enable promotions with discounts from a marketing campaign, making that experience seamless. This will help improve conversion and lead to a better overall experience transacting with GitLab.
Deliver competitive purchasing options in sales-assisted and webstore orders
The majority of GitLab transactions occur with a credit card and customers pay up-front for their purchase, but that's not how a large part of the world prefers to transact. Outside of the United States, the preferred digital payment method is an e-wallet. In addition, as customers scale their organizations, they have more complex payment and billing requirements.
To meet global demand we will work to support additional payment types, complex billing processes via the webstore (POs, ACH transactions, etc), support multiple currencies, and more.
With GitLab 14.1 we launched Cloud Licensing which provides a foundation for an improved licensing and provisioning experience for our customers. For years GitLab was behind in modernizing our licensing systems and architecture; by building on the foundation of Cloud Licensing we will invest in further reducing friction in license management.
In FY23, we are focused on increasing adoption of Cloud Licensing and will switch to strict Cloud Licensing, making Cloud Licensing the default way to activate GitLab self-managed instances.
Enterprise License Management
Licensing and seat management gets more challenging for very large organizations. These large organizations often need to move large amounts of users in and out of GitLab each month, often across multiple instances. We are learning more about these challenges and will deliver solutions to help these customers easily manage provisioning across multiple instances in their organization. The goal is to ensure Sidney (Systems Administrator) and Skyler (Chief Information Security Officer) can easily provision seats to meet the evolving needs of their business.
Customers need visibility into usage history and trends so that they can best manage their GitLab paid subscription. This includes tracking historical seat usage and activity to show when and by who seats were taken as well as visibility into consumption of storage or CI minutes. We will provide solutions to provide this visibility to all customers, including proactive alerting as customers reach their subscription plan limits, to make it easier for customers to predictably manage their GitLab subscription.
Drive more self-service transactions
We will enable more transactions to be completed via the web store to focus our GTM team on higher-value activities. This may first benefit simpler transactions, but we will invest to support our entire customer base over time. For example, adding seats to an active subscription or purchase additional CI minutes should be easy and quick to complete digitally and fully self-serve.
As we enable more self-service transactions, we will provide the right visibility into all transactions so that both the customer and our customer-facing teams supporting them are aware of the relevant transaction history.
To ensure success in this area we partner closely with our VP of Online Sales & Self Service and their team. We are working together to map out customer journeys across sales segments, and allow customers to select whether they want to purchase self-service or would benefit from speaking to a sales team member.
An increasing number of customers begin their GitLab journey via a partner. They may transact in a cloud provider's marketplace or purchase GitLab as part of a software bundle via a distributor. Our goal is to ensure those customers and partners get as high a quality of service as they would buying direct.
This means extending our APIs to support "indirect" transactions and collaborating closely with our counterparts in Channel Ops, Finance, and Enterprise Apps to design solutions that extend our internal systems beyond their direct-sales use-cases. In addition, we plan to invest in additional tooling to give our customers and partners better visibility and flexibility in managing GitLab subscriptions.
Enable seamless provisioning so that customers can benefit from their paid plans without friction, across both self-managed and SaaS.
The Provision Group within Fulfillment enables access to features of any GitLab product tier. We create licensing and provisioning capabilities for all user types. For trial and free users, licenses are provisioned after registration. Paid users are provisioned post initial purchase and at renewal.
We also create tools to help users manage their licenses. For self-managed plan administrators, these tools offer license management capabilities such as activation and license sync. For SaaS, it provides seat management, provisioning, and de-provisioning capabilities.
For GitLab team members, we offer tools for tasks and workflows including the ability to search for a license, generate a license, resend a license key and render views to the customer, license, reconciliation, or activation events.
In Aug 2021, we introduced cloud licensing capabilities to improve subscription management and billing. This is now GitLab's default system for managing GitLab licenses. We will continue to strengthen our core capabilities by doing the following:
Cloud Licensing adoption Cloud Licensing adoption aims to increase the percentage of GitLab self-managed instances on paid plans using Cloud Licensing. By FY23 Q2, we are extending cloud licensing to users operating their license in offline mode, giving customers the ability to activate offline but share with GitLab key subscription data via a monthly data export.
Internal Efficiency We will focus on improving systems and processes that enable us to provision licenses reliably to our customers. This includes improvements to give internal customer-facing team members visibility into licensing status, so they can better support our customers.
Vision for the Future of Enterprise License Management at GitLab Beginning with FY23 Q2, we will define the vision for license management and provisioning for larger GitLab customers. We will explore opportunities to address customer concerns with applying a license to multiple instances, discover ways to help GitLab reliably track and report against proof of (license) ownership, and investigate an admin system where a licensee can assign, delegate or transfer provisioning to an alternate recipient.
Self-service Purchase The Self-service Purchase group is responsible for optimizing the web-direct purchase experience.
Billing and Subscription Management The Billing and Subscription Management group is responsible for supporting sales-assisted purchasing, subscription management (e.g., reconciliation, auto-renewal, invoicing, payment collection), and more. The group's primary goal is to increase self-service purchase volume to 95.5%.
Provision The Provision group is responsible for provisioning and managing licenses across self-managed and SaaS (including Cloud License activation/sync and provisioning of legacy licenses).
Utilization The Utilization group is responsible for all usage reporting and management, usage admin controls, CI minute management, and storage management.
Fulfillment Platform Newly established in FY23, the Fulfillment Platform team aims to extract the complexity of our underlying billing infrastructure to help other Fulfillment teams build features more quickly.
Across our stable counterparts, we follow four key principles to keep us focused on delivering the right results. These principles are not absolute, the intent is for them to guide our decision-making.
Make conducting business with GitLab seamless
When customers choose to purchase GitLab they've already decided to unlock additional value by accessing the features or services enabled by a transaction. We strive to make the transaction experiences fade into the background, helping customers unlock this additional value as easily as possible. This creates a better customer experience, as customers don’t want to labor over purchasing, and results in accelerated growth for GitLab.
Build a strong foundation so GitLab can scale
Fulfillment systems are the foundational layer for many commerce activities within GitLab. Our systems provision licenses for customers, are the source of data for multiple KPIs and data models, and interact directly with Zuora and Salesforce. These systems need to be reliable, scale with demand, and allow other teams to collaborate.
Use data to make decisions and measure impact
We have many sensing mechanisms at our disposal: feedback routed via our GTM teams, meetings with business counterparts, customer feedback from user research, and improvement suggestions raised by GitLab team members and members of the wider community in our issue tracker.
We're also improving how we use data as a sensing mechanism to set direction and prioritization. Understanding our funnel is paramount in building a seamless commerce experience for our customers. Fulfillment teams in collaboration with Growth are instrumenting each point in our transaction funnels so we can use data to inform our strategy and direction.
Iterate, especially when the impact of a change is sizeable
Iteration is one of the most challenging values to follow, especially within Fulfillment. Oftentimes our work needs to be bundled and aligned closely with external announcements or communications. Even so, we strive to break work down as much as possible and decouple functionality releases from broader announcements. Doing this expedites delivering value to our customers and the business.
|1||Strict Cloud Licensing (Offline Support, Remove License File)||Purchase, Provision|
|2||Quarterly Subscription Reconciliation (QSR) MVC||Purchase|
|3||SaaS Free User Efficiency||Purchase, Utilization|
|4||E-Disty Arrow Marketplace Integration||Purchase, Provision|
|5||Improve UX of new sales-assisted GitLab.com subscribers||Provision|
|6||Support Admin Tooling||Utilization|
|7||Integrate subscription commerce and management vendor solution||All|
By nature of our direction, Fulfillment works mostly on highly cross-functional projects where either or both of the following are true:
To focus on the most impactful work, Fulfillment’s prioritization process seeks to:
A project will be prioritized in the Fulfillment roadmap based on the considerations below.
All initiatives, regardless of who requests them, will be evaluated based on this same criteria.
Some initiatives will have a direct impact on these criteria, but others will have an indirect impact. We will consider indirect impact as part of the prioritization.
When scoping new solutions we will prefer those that best allow GitLab to scale and accelerate future work. These solutions often require more upfront foundational work, which we will include in the initial scope. In cases when we decide to accelerate a solution by skipping on some foundational work, we will add this foundational work as a separate line item to the roadmap.
A note on Customer Satisfaction: to understand the impact of efforts aimed at improving customer satisfaction, we should estimate the indirect impact of improving CSAT on revenue and cost. For example, by reducing the number of steps or improving the steps required to purchase we will see an increase in conversion rate and thus revenue.
The goal of adding scores to each initiative across factors is to:
The final score of an initiative will be determined by a weighted sum of the scores.
Prioritization will drive the order in which work is scheduled to be completed, but other considerations such as team capacity or whether the work is parallelizable with other ongoing work will impact when work begins.
The product team will review overall prioritization regularly. Before changing priorities will consider:
To minimize impact and give more predictability to partner teams, we will minimize changes to initiatives that we’ve already agreed with cross-functional partners to do within the ongoing quarter.
Anyone can request new items to be added to the roadmap via an intake request.
One of our prioritization goals is to maximize overall team output across Fulfillment and cross-functional partners. We want to give transparency to all GitLab team members about the work that Fulfillment and its partner teams plan to deliver.
To enable this, we will do a roadmap review with our stable counterparts before the beginning of a new fiscal quarter. As part of this review, we gather feedback on roadmap priorities, update the roadmap based on the feedback, and agree with partners on the scope and delivery milestones for the upcoming 3-6 months.
During these quarterly reviews we will aim to commit up to 70% of Fulfillment’s engineering capacity for the upcoming quarter, and no more than 30% of capacity for the quarter after. This is meant to provide enough visibility into upcoming activities for cross-functional partners to plan for them while leaving room for reprioritization and changes as needed.
Any proposed changes to the roadmap will be first communicated to cross-functional partners async in a relevant Slack channel with the relevant context and rationale, and ask for feedback. As needed, a synchronous meeting will be scheduled to discuss. All feedback will be considered by the product team and a final decision will be made and communicated once made.
Our performance indicators are being planned in this issue.
Key metrics that we have been tracking are Limited Access and reported in these dashboards:
[Internal Only] See our Fulfillment FY23 Q1 Key Results and Learnings - Quarterly Recap