Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Johnnie Konstantas, Cloud Best Practices Network, Sarah Patrick

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Nice Idea, But You Can’t Do It That Way - Cloud Billing Through the Fog

The term agile is a good description of what businesses need from their billing systems in order to meet the challenges

A recent Forbes article by Andrew Dailey at MGi Research reinforces the importance of "agile billing" to businesses that are serious about creating new revenue streams, meeting customers' needs and doing it fast and well.

The term agile is a good description of what businesses need from their billing systems in order to meet these challenges. At MetraTech, we've been an agile billing solution from day one with our "metadata-based" approach, which is what makes MetraNet flexible and responsive as well as business model and industry agnostic. So "agile" is a good description of how the system should perform and "metadata" is how the billing system actually delivers the agility. Metadata enables you to configure your data model, transaction processing, and user interface through web services compliant APIs and, as a result, enables the billing system to conform to your business model and existing systems. No need to compromise, you can simply innovate.

Recently we have seen (and commented on) an upsurge of breathless comment on the age-old concept of subscription billing, as if subscriptions were a new idea. Of course, any services company that relies on subscription pricing models only (or even mostly) is likely to be ill-prepared for the future as described by Andrew that includes cloud mashups, digital services and Internet of Things. A subscription-heavy service model is not an agile service model. So it was amusing to see that upon the Forbes article being published, one billing vendor put out a press release commending Forbes for their keen observation that the world needed agile billing and that as the inventor of cloud billing (maybe they've been taking pointers from Al Gore, the inventor of the Internet and from the inventor of subscription billing), the world was ready for their type of agile billing.

So you have to ask yourself, if it takes metadata to be agile and flex and change to capture new revenue streams, be responsive to customers, change business models, roll out services in weeks not months, and give customers freedom to run their business the way they want, how do other billing systems fare on the agility front? The answer is not so well. Most billing and for that matter ERP systems expect a customer to flex and be agile in fitting their business model into what the systems can and can't provide.

In contrast, the agile business constantly takes into account all pricing and charging options from subscriptions to one off purchases to usage and consumption models, unconstrained by the limitations of the billing system they use. The first time your IT department tells the product or sales team, "Nice idea, but the billing system can't do it that way ..." then you know that you don't have an agile billing system, you have a service innovation blocker: It blocks the way to creativity, change, customer satisfaction, and profits. And it allows IT to keep saying ‘no.' Too bad, you just have to stick with what we can make work.

Although we know that MetraNet was one of the first systems to see action in the field of cloud billing, we don't actually claim to have invented cloud billing. It is a fundamental characteristic of an agile billing system that it doesn't have to be recoded or rebuilt to meet the needs of a new type of service, or a new business model, or a new type of settlement for a partner deal. If there's a billable event out there that can be captured, then your billing system should be able to bill for it, and do so under any pricing/rating regime, no matter how weird the discounts or premiums. Agile, don't you think?

We are proud to deliver business agility to customers across industry verticals that rely on us to be their service innovation engine and believe these customers can speak to our agility far better than we could ever do:

Concur (largest SaaS ERP provider): "With MetraNet, Concur has a large degree of agility in not having to form fit a business model into its system but rather to do the reverse so that the infrastructure and combinations of business processes can come together however the business evolves."

TELMORE (most competitive MVNO in the world with the a Net Promoter Score of +58): "MetraTech understands our pain points and its MetraNet solution can address market demand for the highest levels of customer responsiveness while simultaneously enabling us to deliver the innovative solutions that our customers want."

Guarulhos (GRU) International Airport, São Paulo (largest airport in Latin America): "The ability of MetraNet to be easily configured to support all of our business models in record time made it possible for this milestone to occur. The ease of use and high visibility also helped us to quickly make any adjustments necessary to comply with regulatory rules during certification."

Cetip (leading marketplace for private fixed income securities and over the counter derivatives): "We believe that the right billing system is the flexible backbone on which we will continue to build a successful future; one that will en­able us to support increasingly complex and varied products and services. In MetraTech, we have found a partner who will meet our needs both immediately and into the future."

More Stories By Esmeralda Swartz

Esmeralda Swartz is VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud, BUSS. She has spent 15 years as a marketing, product management, and business development technology executive bringing disruptive technologies and companies to market. Esmeralda was CMO of MetraTech, now part of Ericsson. At MetraTech, Esmeralda was responsible for go-to-market strategy and execution for enterprise and SaaS products, 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. She was previously co-founder and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development of Soapstone Networks, a developer of resource and service control software, now part of Extreme Networks.

Comments (0)

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.


@CloudExpo Stories
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Catchpoint Systems, Inc., a provider of innovative web and infrastructure monitoring solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's DevOps Summit at 18th Cloud Expo New York, which will take place June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Catchpoint is a leading Digital Performance Analytics company that provides unparalleled insight into customer-critical services to help consistently deliver an amazing customer experience. Designed...
When building large, cloud-based applications that operate at a high scale, it’s important to maintain a high availability and resilience to failures. In order to do that, you must be tolerant of failures, even in light of failures in other areas of your application. “Fly two mistakes high” is an old adage in the radio control airplane hobby. It means, fly high enough so that if you make a mistake, you can continue flying with room to still make mistakes. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee...
With the proliferation of both SQL and NoSQL databases, organizations can now target specific fit-for-purpose database tools for their different application needs regarding scalability, ease of use, ACID support, etc. Platform as a Service offerings make this even easier now, enabling developers to roll out their own database infrastructure in minutes with minimal management overhead. However, this same amount of flexibility also comes with the challenges of picking the right tool, on the right ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
As someone who has been dedicated to automation and Application Release Automation (ARA) technology for almost six years now, one of the most common questions I get asked regards Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). Specifically, people want to know whether release automation is still needed when a PaaS is in place, and why. Isn't that what a PaaS provides? A solution to the deployment and runtime challenges of an application? Why would anyone using a PaaS then need an automation engine with workflow ...
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn’t require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbuilding of data centers ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies adopt disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevO...
Recognizing the need to identify and validate information security professionals’ competency in securing cloud services, the two leading membership organizations focused on cloud and information security, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) and (ISC)^2, joined together to develop an international cloud security credential that reflects the most current and comprehensive best practices for securing and optimizing cloud computing environments.
SYS-CON Events announced today that FalconStor Software® Inc., a 15-year innovator of software-defined storage solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. FalconStor Software®, Inc. (NASDAQ: FALC) is a leading software-defined storage company offering a converged, hardware-agnostic, software-defined storage and data services platform. Its flagship solution FreeStor®, utilizes a horizonta...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
In most cases, it is convenient to have some human interaction with a web (micro-)service, no matter how small it is. A traditional approach would be to create an HTTP interface, where user requests will be dispatched and HTML/CSS pages must be served. This approach is indeed very traditional for a web site, but not really convenient for a web service, which is not intended to be good looking, 24x7 up and running and UX-optimized. Instead, talking to a web service in a chat-bot mode would be muc...
More and more companies are looking to microservices as an architectural pattern for breaking apart applications into more manageable pieces so that agile teams can deliver new features quicker and more effectively. What this pattern has done more than anything to date is spark organizational transformations, setting the foundation for future application development. In practice, however, there are a number of considerations to make that go beyond simply “build, ship, and run,” which changes ho...
SYS-CON Events announced today that AppNeta, the leader in performance insight for business-critical web applications, will exhibit and present at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. AppNeta is the only application performance monitoring (APM) company to provide solutions for all applications – applications you develop internally, business-critical SaaS applications you use and the networks that deli...
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that (ISC)²® (“ISC-squared”) will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Two leading non-profits focused on cloud and information security, (ISC)² and Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), developed the Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) certification to address the increased demand for cloud security expertise due to rapid growth in cloud. Recently named “The Next...