I saw some recent news about Zuora planning to go public in 2018. In the world of agile monetization, let’s face it - Zuora is the biggest name in the market. Not only did the company line up with other visionaries in forecasting the shift in buying (and selling) behaviors, but they were able to garner significant investment to evangelize the message. Effectively, they coined the term “The Subscription Economy”, which really brought things into focus for commercial business.
But who would have been able to see how truly disruptive this concept would be in 2007? It’s not simply about buying things on a subscription basis; it’s about the customer’s ability to consume goods and services how THEY want. And about an enterprise’s ability to not only support that, but to be able to competitively differentiate by offering new and unique ways to monetize their capabilities. Certainly Uber, AirBnb, and Netflix are some of the most recognized names that demonstrate the powerful impact of this disruption, but it’s happening in the B2B space as well with companies like Amazon - who recently announced a shift to per-second billing on AWS.
So what does that mean for you?
- Doing nothing is no longer an option. The stakes have been raised - best-in-class solutions enable companies to innovate, act on (and react to) competitive opportunities (and threats) in real-time. And drive 50% or more reduction in operational expenses, among other benefits.
- Billing and monetization solutions are now within reach for any sized company. If you are an SMB, you can move off the spreadsheets to a low-priced, simple solution to support your billing needs. But the biggest beneficiaries are medium-size companies ($50M-$500M) that have enterprise-scale needs, and were historically faced with two options - pay for an over-sized, over-priced solution that was costly to maintain, or DIY.
- Look beyond the marketing hype. What good is a vendor with thousands of customers (and 40% turnover)? Make sure you are investing in something that can mold to your ever-changing business processes. A cloud-based, platform-oriented solution to support monetization is a must. The big legacy providers (eg. SAP, Oracle, Amdocs) are dinosaurs. More modern solutions will fall somewhere on the spectrum between “same limitations, but now in the cloud” to truly agile platforms.
Assuming things work out for Zuora next year, I will be the first to congratulate all of the shareholders and employees on their achievement. And I am grateful they’ve paved the way for companies like ours that have taken the concept to the next level.