The next paper Krish and I are writing over at Diversity Analysis is one looking at subscription and billing services. It’s an area I’ve touched on frequently here and is a relatively busy, and increasingly complex, space. I’ve talked previously about Zuora, Vindicia, Aria systems and have spent much time in the past few days talking to other vendors.

It seems there is a big divide between companies that decide to roll their own subscription/billing system, and those who go with a third party provider. As part of my research I’m reaching out to companies asking what they currently do for S&B services, what they’d do if the were starting again, and why.

So as something of a crowdsourcing experiment, I’m aggregating all the responses I get here in a post. Vendors are welcome to comment below or contact me directly to discuss. Some responses thus far:

Robert Coup – Founder of Koordinates:

we’re not straight SAAS (more marketplace) but we did. Plan is to offload a bunch of it to @TeamXero via API though. [my response was to ask why they went down that route – Ed] There wasn’t anything really suitable. In hindsight I probably would have looked harder, dealing with things like GST is a PITA across suppliers/customers/commissions/etc

Julian Stone, CEO of ProWorkflow:

Yes. Built from scratch to use DPS [a local payment gateway – ed]. Only way to get what we needed.

Ian Sweeney – CEO of billFlo:

we did our own billing data aggregation, billing (sending invoices!) but farm out collection… time to explain our needs = the time for us to build. we have expertise. our needs will change. we want to control user exp.

Jason Lemkin, CEO of Echosign:

Yes because we started 4+ years ago.  We also wanted maximum flexibility in credit-card customers and ones to invoice.  Not what we would do again. [to which I asked what he’d do if we were starting again today from scratch – Ed] It’s complicated b/c I don’t think any of the services handle BOTH credit card and invoicing well.  Zuora is terrific but very focused on complex invoicing for subscriptions.  Paypal finally added recurring subscriptions to their API but you have to build it and that doesn’t help with invoicing.  They all need to integrate with BOTH Salesforce and your back-end, for us QuickBooks.  The start-ups with no funding I am not sure we’d trust.  To answer your question, we would use Zuora but it’s still only part of a solution that is more complex that it might at first appear.

Heather Villa, CEO of IAC-EZ:
Yes [we built our own solution] – security, dependability, wanting to minimize 3rd parties as much as possible – one less party that payment information has to pass through 🙂 (and one less party to depend on)

Feel free to join in the conversation…

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Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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