Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Hovhannes Avoyan, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Java, SOA & WOA, Linux, Big Data Journal, SDN Journal

Cloud Expo: Article

Nice Idea, But You Can’t Do It That Way - Cloud Billing Through the Fog

The term agile is a good description of what businesses need from their billing systems in order to meet the challenges

A recent Forbes article by Andrew Dailey at MGi Research reinforces the importance of "agile billing" to businesses that are serious about creating new revenue streams, meeting customers' needs and doing it fast and well.

The term agile is a good description of what businesses need from their billing systems in order to meet these challenges. At MetraTech, we've been an agile billing solution from day one with our "metadata-based" approach, which is what makes MetraNet flexible and responsive as well as business model and industry agnostic. So "agile" is a good description of how the system should perform and "metadata" is how the billing system actually delivers the agility. Metadata enables you to configure your data model, transaction processing, and user interface through web services compliant APIs and, as a result, enables the billing system to conform to your business model and existing systems. No need to compromise, you can simply innovate.

Recently we have seen (and commented on) an upsurge of breathless comment on the age-old concept of subscription billing, as if subscriptions were a new idea. Of course, any services company that relies on subscription pricing models only (or even mostly) is likely to be ill-prepared for the future as described by Andrew that includes cloud mashups, digital services and Internet of Things. A subscription-heavy service model is not an agile service model. So it was amusing to see that upon the Forbes article being published, one billing vendor put out a press release commending Forbes for their keen observation that the world needed agile billing and that as the inventor of cloud billing (maybe they've been taking pointers from Al Gore, the inventor of the Internet and from the inventor of subscription billing), the world was ready for their type of agile billing.

So you have to ask yourself, if it takes metadata to be agile and flex and change to capture new revenue streams, be responsive to customers, change business models, roll out services in weeks not months, and give customers freedom to run their business the way they want, how do other billing systems fare on the agility front? The answer is not so well. Most billing and for that matter ERP systems expect a customer to flex and be agile in fitting their business model into what the systems can and can't provide.

In contrast, the agile business constantly takes into account all pricing and charging options from subscriptions to one off purchases to usage and consumption models, unconstrained by the limitations of the billing system they use. The first time your IT department tells the product or sales team, "Nice idea, but the billing system can't do it that way ..." then you know that you don't have an agile billing system, you have a service innovation blocker: It blocks the way to creativity, change, customer satisfaction, and profits. And it allows IT to keep saying ‘no.' Too bad, you just have to stick with what we can make work.

Although we know that MetraNet was one of the first systems to see action in the field of cloud billing, we don't actually claim to have invented cloud billing. It is a fundamental characteristic of an agile billing system that it doesn't have to be recoded or rebuilt to meet the needs of a new type of service, or a new business model, or a new type of settlement for a partner deal. If there's a billable event out there that can be captured, then your billing system should be able to bill for it, and do so under any pricing/rating regime, no matter how weird the discounts or premiums. Agile, don't you think?

We are proud to deliver business agility to customers across industry verticals that rely on us to be their service innovation engine and believe these customers can speak to our agility far better than we could ever do:

Concur (largest SaaS ERP provider): "With MetraNet, Concur has a large degree of agility in not having to form fit a business model into its system but rather to do the reverse so that the infrastructure and combinations of business processes can come together however the business evolves."

TELMORE (most competitive MVNO in the world with the a Net Promoter Score of +58): "MetraTech understands our pain points and its MetraNet solution can address market demand for the highest levels of customer responsiveness while simultaneously enabling us to deliver the innovative solutions that our customers want."

Guarulhos (GRU) International Airport, São Paulo (largest airport in Latin America): "The ability of MetraNet to be easily configured to support all of our business models in record time made it possible for this milestone to occur. The ease of use and high visibility also helped us to quickly make any adjustments necessary to comply with regulatory rules during certification."

Cetip (leading marketplace for private fixed income securities and over the counter derivatives): "We believe that the right billing system is the flexible backbone on which we will continue to build a successful future; one that will en­able us to support increasingly complex and varied products and services. In MetraTech, we have found a partner who will meet our needs both immediately and into the future."

More Stories By Esmeralda Swartz

Esmeralda Swartz is CMO of MetraTech. She has spent 15 years as a marketing, product management, and business development technology executive bringing disruptive technologies and companies to market. Esmeralda is responsible for go-to-market strategy and execution, product marketing, product management, business development and partner programs. Prior to MetraTech, Esmeralda was co-founder, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Lightwolf Technologies, a big data management startup. Esmeralda was previously co-founder and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development of Soapstone Networks, a developer of OSS software, now part of Extreme Networks (Nasdaq:EXTR). At Avici Systems (Nasdaq:AVCI), Esmeralda was Vice President of Marketing for the networking pioneer from startup through its successful IPO. Early in her career, she was a Director at IDC, where she led the network consulting practice and worked with startup and leading software and hardware companies, and Wall Street clients on product and market strategies. Esmeralda holds a Bachelor of Science with a concentration in Marketing and International Business from Northeastern University.

You can view her other blogs at www.metratech.com/blog.

Comments (0)

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.


Cloud Expo Latest Stories
With the explosion of the cloud, more businesses are transitioning to a recurring revenue model to generate reliable sales, grow profits, and open new markets. This opportunity requires businesses to get to market quickly with the pricing and packaging options customers want. In addition, you will want to take advantage of the ensuing tidal wave of data to more effectively upsell, cross-sell and manage your customers. All of this is possible, but only with the right approach. At 15th Cloud Expo, Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder at Aria Systems and the inventor of cloud billing panelists, will lead a panel discussion on what it takes to launch and manage a successful recurring revenue business. The panelists will offer their insights about what each department will need to consider, from financial management to line of business and IT. The panelists will also offer examples from their success in recurring revenue with companies such as Audi, Constant Contact, Experian, Pitney-Bowes, Teleko...
Planning scalable environments isn't terribly difficult, but it does require a change of perspective. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will broaden your views to think on an Internet scale by dissecting a video publishing application built with The SoftLayer Platform, Message Queuing, Object Storage, and Drupal. By examining a scalable modular application build that can handle unpredictable traffic, attendees will able to grow your development arsenal and pick up a few strategies to apply to your own projects.
Come learn about what you need to consider when moving your data to the cloud. In her session at 15th Cloud Expo, Skyla Loomis, a Program Director of Cloudant Development at Cloudant, will discuss the security, performance, and operational implications of keeping your data on premise, moving it to the cloud, or taking a hybrid approach. She will use real customer examples to illustrate the tradeoffs, key decision points, and how to be successful with a cloud or hybrid cloud solution.
The cloud provides an easy onramp to building and deploying Big Data solutions. Transitioning from initial deployment to large-scale, highly performant operations may not be as easy. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will discuss the benefits, weaknesses, and performance characteristics of public and bare metal cloud deployments that can help you make the right decisions.
Over the last few years the healthcare ecosystem has revolved around innovations in Electronic Health Record (HER) based systems. This evolution has helped us achieve much desired interoperability. Now the focus is shifting to other equally important aspects – scalability and performance. While applying cloud computing environments to the EHR systems, a special consideration needs to be given to the cloud enablement of Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), i.e., the largest single medical system in the United States.
Cloud and Big Data present unique dilemmas: embracing the benefits of these new technologies while maintaining the security of your organization’s assets. When an outside party owns, controls and manages your infrastructure and computational resources, how can you be assured that sensitive data remains private and secure? How do you best protect data in mixed use cloud and big data infrastructure sets? Can you still satisfy the full range of reporting, compliance and regulatory requirements? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Derek Tumulak, Vice President of Product Management at Vormetric, will discuss how to address data security in cloud and Big Data environments so that your organization isn’t next week’s data breach headline.
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
Is your organization struggling to deal with skyrocketing volumes of digital assets? The amount of data is growing exponentially and organizations are having a hard time managing this growth. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Amar Kapadia, Senior Director of Open Cloud Strategy at Seagate, will walk through the essential considerations when developing a cloud storage strategy. In this discussion, you will understand the challenges IT is facing, why companies need to move to cloud, and how the right cloud model can help your business economically overcome the data struggle.
If cloud computing benefits are so clear, why have so few enterprises migrated their mission-critical apps? The answer is often inertia and FUD. No one ever got fired for not moving to the cloud – not yet. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Michael Hoch, SVP, Cloud Advisory Service at Virtustream, will discuss the six key steps to justify and execute your MCA cloud migration.
The 16th International Cloud Expo announces that its Call for Papers is now open. 16th International Cloud Expo, to be held June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
Most of today’s hardware manufacturers are building servers with at least one SATA Port, but not every systems engineer utilizes them. This is considered a loss in the game of maximizing potential storage space in a fixed unit. The SATADOM Series was created by Innodisk as a high-performance, small form factor boot drive with low power consumption to be plugged into the unused SATA port on your server board as an alternative to hard drive or USB boot-up. Built for 1U systems, this powerful device is smaller than a one dollar coin, and frees up otherwise dead space on your motherboard. To meet the requirements of tomorrow’s cloud hardware, Innodisk invested internal R&D resources to develop our SATA III series of products. The SATA III SATADOM boasts 500/180MBs R/W Speeds respectively, or double R/W Speed of SATA II products.
In today's application economy, enterprise organizations realize that it's their applications that are the heart and soul of their business. If their application users have a bad experience, their revenue and reputation are at stake. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anand Akela, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Application Performance Management at CA Technologies, will discuss how a user-centric Application Performance Management solution can help inspire your users with every application transaction.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridstore delivers vmOptimized™ Storage that self-optimizes to each application or VM across both virtual and physical environments. Leveraging a grid architecture, Gridstore delivers the first end-to-end storage QoS to ensure the most important App or VM performance is never compromised. The storage grid, that uses Gridstore’s performance optimized nodes or capacity optimized nodes, starts with as few a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudian is a Foster City, Calif.-based software company specializing in cloud storage. Cloudian HyperStore® is an S3-compatible cloud object storage platform that enables service providers and enterprises to build reliable, affordable and scalable hybrid cloud storage solutions. Cloudian actively partners with leading cloud computing environments including Amazon Web Services, Citrix Cloud Platform, Apache CloudStack, OpenStack and the vast ecosystem of S3 compatible tools and applications. Cloudian's customers include Vodafone, Nextel, NTT, Nifty, and LunaCloud. The company has additional offices in China and Japan.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TechXtend (formerly Programmer’s Paradise), a leading value-added provider of server and storage virtualization, and r-evolution will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechXtend (formerly Programmer’s Paradise) is a leading value-added provider of software, systems and solutions for corporations, government organizations, and academic institutions across the United States and Canada. TechXtend is the Exclusive Reseller in the United States for r-evolution