Zuora, a company that helps subscription-based businesses manage their billing and finance systems, today introduced its new partner program, Z-Finance Open, giving customers access to advanced analytics solutions that complement its Z-Finance solution.
"We see the world as moving from a product-oriented one-time transaction economy to an ongoing and recurring subscription economy," explains Brian Bell, chief marketing officer at Zuora. "What's driving our business is this recognition that when you run a subscription business, it's fundamentally different from running a product-oriented business."
Based on the premise that traditional billing systems are not capable of handling the various payment plans that come with a subscription model, there is a need, argues Bell, for a cloud-based software system that lets subscription companies manage their revenue stream.
Launched a few months ago, Zuora's Z-Finance application does just that. Z-Finance enables subscription businesses to generate forward-looking subscription metrics, such as annual and monthly recurring revenue, and customer churn, alongside traditional financial metrics.
Zuora's customers include a mix of cloud-based companies and companies that are transitioning to a SaaS model, including Salesforce.com (Zuora CEO Tien Tzuo was a former chief strategy officer at Salesforce), Radian6, Box, HP, and Dell.
Through Z-Finance Open, the Z-Finance application integrates with the products of three analytics vendors: GoodData, SaaSOptics, and Scout Analytics. GoodData pulls data from multiple data sets to provide a holistic visual view of business operations. SaaSOptics helps businesses find patterns in their data and provides historical trending and forecasting reports. Scout Analytics tracks customer usage data to help companies optimize their pricing strategies. Zuora has a referral agreement with Good Data and Scout Analytics and is a reseller of SaaS Optics.
Z-Finance Open was designed in response to requests from clients for analytic tools to make better use of the metrics they received from Zuora, according to Bell. "In the subscription economy, it's all about building customer relationships and there's incredible value in the metrics we provide," Bell says, "but there's incredible customer insight that's provided in the analytics of these partners."