Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Liz McMillan, Brian Lavallée, Hovhannes Avoyan, Peter Silva, Lori MacVittie

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, SOA & WOA, Virtualization, Web 2.0, Big Data Journal, SDN Journal

Cloud Expo: Article

Everything-as-a-Service Demands New Approach to Accounts Receivables

Today’s increasing service complexity is best handled by an integrated complete solution for monetization

When we first built our MetraNet billing platform our customers (large enterprises and service providers) generally offered services that were clearly defined in terms of character and scope, with fairly stable setup charges, usage charges, and periodic recurring charges. Back then, with some exceptions, it was normal to issue regular periodic invoices that consolidated all of those charges. The invoice would then trigger an entry in the service provider's Accounts Receivable (AR) ledger. That in turn, again with a few exceptions, would constitute the point at which Revenue Recognition would take place. The few exceptions (for example, an invoice for a payment in advance for a service set-up charge) would be handled by adding a matching journal entry in Deferred (or unearned) Revenue until such time as the services had been delivered. The adjustment could be handled automatically (triggered by a flag from order management or billing) or manually.

Things have moved on from there and the metadata driven character of MetraNet has enabled MetraNet to support new requirements fluidly and easily. A few years ago, we developed a capability to handle the increasingly more complex requirements of services-related AR. In discussions with customers on AR, it is becoming clear that the additional power and flexibility delivered by our approach to AR will no longer be an exceptional need - it will be an everyday requirement for most service providers.

I have written a lot recently about "Everything as a Service" (XaaS) and the closely linked concept of the "Internet of Things." These labels are helpful in crystallizing in our minds what has been going on for some time. We are observing changes on multiple fronts. Products and devices increasingly become tools for the delivery of services. Services can be delivered by Agents that interact with other Agents to deliver more complex service bundles, or strip out service components to recombine them with other components to create new services. It's conceivable that Cloud Service Brokers will evolve into brokerage networks, collecting and representing services for adaptation and resell in a way that compensates multiple contributors along the value chain. At the same time services providers have to do all this while continuing to operate, and be seen to operate, within the regulatory rules.

Periodic invoices just seem so slow for this kind of environment!

As invoicing becomes more flexible and more complex, the way we handle Accounts Receivables needs to keep up. MetraTech's AR solution (MetraARTM) abstracts accounting securely from the dynamic business modeling of the billing system and enables solid and auditable integration with our customers' accounting systems.

What is special about MetraTech's metadata-driven approach? For one thing, it provides a flexible and pragmatic way around the all-or-nothing choice usually available with traditional systems. The traditional approach forces a choice between Invoice Accounting and Line Item Accounting. Invoice Accounting doesn't provide sufficient granularity when reselling supplier services, selling or re-selling regulated services, or in any case where different parts of the invoice have varying contractual or legal demands for prioritization. On the other hand, Line Item Accounting becomes completely unwieldy and difficult to scale when used on enterprise accounts or for any high-volume, event-based service.

Within MetraAR we have built on our innovative patent-pending "Demand for Payment" (DfP) technology. This enables a service provider to select the most appropriate level of granularity for managing receivables. Rather than being forced into an all-or-nothing choice, a service provider can segment different components of the invoice into separate DfPs without having to go down to the line item detail. For example, perhaps you are reselling cloud services from different vendors. One vendor has a net 30-day contract with you and the other a net 45. You would want to distribute payment against the receivables associated with the Net 30 supplier, but you don't want to track the hundreds or thousands of line items that wound up on your channel partner's wholesale invoice. Instead you can group all the charges into a single Demand for Payment and manage that group as one entity.

It doesn't stop there. Each Demand for Payment can be further split as needed to handle partial payments, payments on account, disputes, and any other events that affect receivables. A single customer payment can be apportioned across multiple DfPs in whatever way is required.

The MetraNet billing platform already provides a complete and flexible system for handling subscriptions to the most complex accounts. With the added MetraAR functionality, we provide even more scope for handling those "exceptional" needs that are rapidly becoming normal everyday business. It is now even easier to set up custom payment plans, reassign and consolidate debt, and manage external debt. The use of DfPs enables Aging to be managed more accurately, with a range of aging algorithms that ensure that priority is given to the right accounts for collection and follow-up.

Our customers realize that today's increasing service complexity is best handled by an integrated complete solution for monetization, rather than a fragmented approach using separate point products. At the same time, the solution needs to work smoothly with financial accounting systems. The latest evolution of MetraNet with MetraAR does all this, and does so in a way that enables the service provider to introduce more complexity only where complexity is really needed, and to keep things simple where simple is the smarter way.

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 (1)

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
14th International Cloud Expo, held on June 10–12, 2014 at the Javits Center in New York City, featured three content-packed days with a rich array of sessions about the business and technical value of cloud computing, Internet of Things, Big Data, and DevOps led by exceptional speakers from every sector of the IT ecosystem. The Cloud Expo series is the fastest-growing Enterprise IT event in the past 10 years, devoted to every aspect of delivering massively scalable enterprise IT as a service.
Hardware will never be more valuable than on the day it hits your loading dock. Each day new servers are not deployed to production the business is losing money. While Moore’s Law is typically cited to explain the exponential density growth of chips, a critical consequence of this is rapid depreciation of servers. The hardware for clustered systems (e.g., Hadoop, OpenStack) tends to be significant capital expenses. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mason Katz, CTO and co-founder of StackIQ, to discuss how infrastructure teams should be aware of the capitalization and depreciation model of these expenses to fully understand when and where automation is critical.
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.
In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mark Hinkle, Senior Director, Open Source Solutions at Citrix Systems Inc., will provide overview of the open source software that can be used to deploy and manage a cloud computing environment. He will include information on storage, networking(e.g., OpenDaylight) and compute virtualization (Xen, KVM, LXC) and the orchestration(Apache CloudStack, OpenStack) of the three to build their own cloud services. Speaker Bio: Mark Hinkle is the Senior Director, Open Source Solutions, at Citrix Systems Inc. He joined Citrix as a result of their July 2011 acquisition of Cloud.com where he was their Vice President of Community. He is currently responsible for Citrix open source efforts around the open source cloud computing platform, Apache CloudStack and the Xen Hypervisor. Previously he was the VP of Community at Zenoss Inc., a producer of the open source application, server, and network management software, where he grew the Zenoss Core project to over 10...
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.
As more applications and services move "to the cloud" (public or on-premise) cloud environments are increasingly adopting and building out traditional enterprise features. This in turn is enabling and encouraging cloud adoption from enterprise users. In many ways the definition is blurring as features like continuous operation, geo-distribution or on-demand capacity become the norm. NuoDB is involved in both building enterprise software and using enterprise cloud capabilities. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Seth Proctor, CTO at NuoDB, Inc., will discuss the experiences from building, deploying and using enterprise services and suggest some ways to approach moving enterprise applications into a cloud model.
Until recently, many organizations required specialized departments to perform mapping and geospatial analysis, and they used Esri on-premise solutions for that work. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Dave Peters, author of the Esri Press book Building a GIS, System Architecture Design Strategies for Managers, will discuss how Esri has successfully included the cloud as a fully integrated SaaS expansion of the ArcGIS mapping platform. Organizations that have incorporated Esri cloud-based applications and content within their business models are reaping huge benefits by directly leveraging cloud-based mapping and analysis capabilities within their existing enterprise investments. The ArcGIS mapping platform includes cloud-based content management and information resources to more widely, efficiently, and affordably deliver real-time actionable information and analysis capabilities to your organization.
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mac Devine, Distinguished Engineer at IBM, will discuss bringing these three elements together via Systems of Discover.
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.
The cloud is everywhere and growing, and with it SaaS has become an accepted means for software delivery. SaaS is more than just a technology, it is a thriving business model estimated to be worth around $53 billion dollars by 2015, according to IDC. The question is – how do you build and scale a profitable SaaS business model? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Jason Cumberland, Vice President, SaaS Solutions at Dimension Data, will give the audience an understanding of common mistakes businesses make when transitioning to SaaS; how to avoid them; and how to build a profitable and scalable SaaS business.
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 Solgenia, the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions, 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. Solgenia is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between personal and professional social, mobile and cloud user experiences, our solutions help large and medium-sized organizations dramatically improve productivity, reduce collaboration costs, and increase the overall enterprise value by bringing collaboration and infrastructure solutions to the cloud.
Cloud computing started a technology revolution; now DevOps is driving that revolution forward. By enabling new approaches to service delivery, cloud and DevOps together are delivering even greater speed, agility, and efficiency. No wonder leading innovators are adopting DevOps and cloud together! In his session at DevOps Summit, Andi Mann, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies, will explore the synergies in these two approaches, with practical tips, techniques, research data, war stories, case studies, and recommendations.
Enterprises require the performance, agility and on-demand access of the public cloud, and the management, security and compatibility of the private cloud. The solution? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Simone Brunozzi, VP and Chief Technologist(global role) for VMware, will explore how to unlock the power of the hybrid cloud and the steps to get there. He'll discuss the challenges that conventional approaches to both public and private cloud computing, and outline the tough decisions that must be made to accelerate the journey to the hybrid cloud. As part of the transition, an Infrastructure-as-a-Service model will enable enterprise IT to build services beyond their data center while owning what gets moved, when to move it, and for how long. IT can then move forward on what matters most to the organization that it supports – availability, agility and efficiency.
Every healthy ecosystem is diverse. This is especially true in cloud ecosystems, where portability and interoperability are more important than old enterprise models of proprietary ownership. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mark Baker, Server Product Manager at Canonical/Ubuntu, will discuss how single vendors used to take the lead in creating and delivering technology, but in a cloud economy, where users want tools of their preference, when and where they need them, it makes no sense.