Welcome!

Government Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Dana Gardner, Liz McMillan, Gopala Krishna Behara

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Billing Goes to the Cloud

...and that's why they started Zuora Inc on Marc Benioff and Benchmark Capital's combined nickel

Well, if the economy – and not just software, mind you – is going from products to services and perforce subscriptions then vendors are going to need an appropriate billing system that chases down and captures all the monthly payments, right?

Well, that’s what a couple of lads out of the on-demand school thought too and that’s why they started Zuora Inc on Marc Benioff and Benchmark Capital’s combined nickel.

Yes, that Marc Benioff, the CEO of salesforce.com, the software-as-a-service pioneer, who got his initial stake from his old boss Larry Ellison.

He kicked in on Zuora’s $6.5 million A round in December and Zuora is growing up in Oracle’s shadow. Literally. When you look out its windows in Redwood City, California all you see in the looming presence of Oracle.

Zuora, lest you think the word comes from some exotic language and is fraught with meaning, is simply the combination of the last names of its founders: CEO Tien Tzuo, who in his previous life was saleforce.com’s eleventh employee reporting directly to Benioff either as the company’s chief marketing officer or chief strategy officer and was there for its rise from zero to close a billion dollars in revenues; president KV Rao, an early WebEx recruit; and CTO Cheng Zuo, who architected and implemented WebEx’ order-to-cash system, which manages the SaaS operation’s subscription lifecycle process.

According to Zuora, which only came out from underground in March and put its Z-Billing system on the market in May, conventional billing systems like SAP, Oracle, Great Plains, QuickBooks and PayPal can’t cut it in a subscription economy. They were designed for manufacturing and distribution companies. They are built for one-time transactions.

Subscription-based billing is more complicated; the price plans alone are complex and varied. Getting the goose to lay the golden egg can be painful.

Z-Billing is supposed to be easy to use with a simple interface that can be easily customized to any B2B or B2C industry and any preferences. It also integrates with a company’s existing CRM and accounting packages.

The platform – nobody just has plain garden-variety software anymore – the platform is built as an on-demand model and can reportedly support any charge model including one-time, recurring, usage, metering and volume tier pricing.

It will scale, its creators say, into the millions of users and it will handle invoices, order changes and billing disputes. It also tracks metrics like churn, renewals, MRR (monthly recurring revenue), ACV (annual contracted value) and TCV (total contracted value) and is supposed to give the company a single source for data about customers, orders, bookings, revenues and renewal rates.

Zuora charges 2% of total billings for its billing services provided the monthly charges amount to at least 500 bucks and will drop to 1% for a large $100 million firm.

Two percent is less than the 2.7% of revenues the online services industry is supposed to be spending these days on billing. Zuora also claims that lack of flexibility in pricing and packing costs companies market share, holding up AT&T as an example.

So far Zuora has collected 12 customers, Tzuo said, including Coremetrics, the web-based analytics and precision marketing software house, with 27 different pricing models to keep straight

Salesforce.com, which has been fiddling with its own billing system, a development Tzuo is credited with, has yet to come over. “It’s a prospect,” Tzuo says.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Phil 07/08/08 12:22:51 PM EDT

Good article, bad title...Billing is already SaaS with a few players well into the market. I guess the author didnt bother to google the title to see if it was true.

http://blogs.zdnet.com/SAAS/?p=484

ZDNet wrote about this months ago and profiled the existing vendors.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
Founded in 2000, Chetu Inc. is a global provider of customized software development solutions and IT staff augmentation services for software technology providers. By providing clients with unparalleled niche technology expertise and industry experience, Chetu has become the premiere long-term, back-end software development partner for start-ups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies. Chetu is headquartered in Plantation, Florida, with thirteen offices throughout the U.S. and abroad.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time t...
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to great conferences, helping you discover new conferences and increase your return on investment.
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...