Zuora (lots more on them here and see disclosure) is today releasing the latest version of it’s billing and subscription product built on the force.com platform, Z-Force. It’s been a busy few months for Zuora and I wanted to touch base with CEO Tien Tzuo to get an update.

Zuora has a product built on their own infrastructure (well their own section of Savvis infrastructure to be more precise), they’re also built upon force.com, have partnerships with Microsoft Azure (more here) and NetSuite (more here) which is an indication of a dual strategy approach they are running – targeting customers using their own private cloud, as well as using a bunch of third party cloud products.

I was interested to hear that well over half of Zuora’s customer count comes from its Z-Force product – the strong ties they have with salesforce.com obviously help secure customers.

Given the somewhat fractious nature of the subscription and billing industry, I asked Tzuo how he thought the marketplace would shake down. He was diplomatic, saying that it’s a massive market and that, at least in the short term, there is room for multiple companies.

He did allude to the fact that Zuora has more developers than their competitors have total employees and that if this is any indication, their revenue is significantly greater. He also commented on Zuora’s growth saying it was much higher than that of their competitors – of course the fact that none of these companies are publicly listed means testing the veracity of those claims is difficult.

Given the fact that Zuora have so many partnerships and integrations in action, I was interested to hear their thoughts around keeping focused. Beyond the expected comments about customer feedback defining the product roadmap and the need to remain manically focused on the task at hand. Tzuo made one statement which indicates just how strongly he feels about the Zuora mission:

When you set out to change the world, nothing else really matters

In terms of additional functionality for this release, the area that will get the most attention is the support for Chatter, beyond that though, this release includes:

  • Ability to create customer-ready quotes for upsells, amendments and change orders
  • Automatically calculate, display, and quote prorations and charges across multiple charge periods across complex charge models
  • One-click activation of orders to automatically kick off billing
  • 20x improvement in synchronization performance
  • Improved automation of data synchronization
  • Support for salesforce.com Chatter
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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