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Doug Nebeker ("Doug")
We are an ISV with a history of selling high value(>$20k per annum) B2B PaaS offerings to a small number of tier 1 customers in a niche market.
We are about to launch a new lower-priced B2B PaaS offering which is targeted to a much larger market. Until now we have survived without any sophisicated billing management, subscription management or payment system; a manual process and an Excel spreadsheet is all that is required. However I believe we will run into difficulties with the expected volume; automated systems would be required. To help us focus on our core business, we have made a decision to outsource or make use of third-party software as much as possible for the billing, payment and subscription management requirements.
The two business model of the new PaaS product
1. Quarterly recurring subscription ($1k per quarter) with free trial period
2. One-off usage (>$1k, dependent on features required, probably would use a virtual currency system)
These are what we want to achive:
1. Subscription and billing management - tracking of customer details, subscriptions, virtual currency, history of all transactions
2. Automatic invoice generation and automatic recurring credit card payment processing
3. Automatic provisioning and de-provisioning of service when a subscription (i.e. through hook to our back end processes)
4. Prospect would be able to create an account, and start a trial subscription and automatically provisioned without any human intervention.
I understand that some parts would obviously require custom integration, but I am hoping that we can outsource/license the parts for subscription, biling and payment management.
We are currently investigating Vindicia & Zuora, but we want to investigate other possibilities. What suggestions do you have? I don't believe the vendors at http://www.c6software.com/articles/ecommercefees.aspx would be able to satisfy the needs at a reasonable price (they seem to be generally geared for the smaller transactions, not >$1k transactions), but am I mistaken? Is there some off the shelf software (open source or commercial) that will do a good job of subscription management?
What is your advice?
Thank you in advance.
My product, the SaaS Rails Kit, at http://railskits.com/saas may be a good fit for your needs, if you are open to using Ruby on Rails. It's not a billing service, but rather a Rails application you would run on your server that (optionally) takes credit card info during account creation, stores that info with a credit card gateway, and bills periodically. It wouldn't take much additional code to hook into your provisioning system.
Monday, May 18, 2009
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