Zuora’s March Release: New Features Allow Z-Customers Scale Quickly and More Easily

March 16, 2010

by Clement Wang


Continuing our constant drumbeat of improvements to the product, we are rolling out our March release this week.


Custom Fields: As with any enterprise system, reporting and integration are key components to a successful deployment. Our custom fields feature allows customers incredible flexibility to tailor their Zuora implementations to integrate with the other components of their overall IT infrastructure, including provisioning, web-ordering, CRM, and financial systems. In addition, it provides key levers to help track and report on key metrics. This is a feature that has been in use in beta for a while now, and we are making it available for general availability this release. These custom fields are fully supported via API or the user interface, providing maximum flexibility and automation. Some examples of how this feature is used include:


  • Scott at EMC has deployed custom fields to track and report on marketing and promotional campaigns
  • Alex at Reed Business Information uses custom fields to tie back key data to other systems that they’ve integrated, including their CRM system, their provisioning system, and their ERP system.


Greater Insight into Subscriptions: One of the areas where we get great feedback from customers on is our ability to model subscriptions and all the things that happen during the life of a subscription. Our product captures and stores all this data – key metrics like the TCV (Total Contract Value) and MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue), as well as the full change history of the subscription. With this release, we are making it much easier to view that information about subscriptions through new subscription views that allow a user to instantly see the key metrics on all charges on a subscription, when each charge has been invoiced through, the trigger dates, as well as the full change history.


Customizable Billing Automation: Different enterprises have different flows for processing and verifying billing. Many Business to Business merchants invoice with complex pricing who may have high error rates from things like incorrect data entry or usage metering problems will want to verify all invoices before posting them to the accounting system and sending them out to customers. This allows errors to be caught before communicating to customers (which is always easier than backing out errors after the fact and dealing with customer complaints). A good example of this from our customer base is CoreMetrics. Others who have simpler charge models and low error rates may want to automatically post bills after they are generated and send them directly to the customer in a single step (like our customer Box.net does). With this feature we allow customers to tailor the workflow to their business process to achieve exactly the right level of automation. Those that want to fully automate have the ability to this, while those who want to include those checkpoints in their process can do so as well.


4 Ways to Prorate: Businesses have different rules when dealing with proration of partial periods (in cases where a customer upgrades in the middle of a billing period for example). For example, some want to prorate by the number of actual days in a month (e.g. 31 days in January), while others prorate using 30-day months. These choices are often driven by rules in accounting systems or other integrations. Either way, having the flexibility to calculate charges exactly the way you define is an important capability that we’ve implemented in this release.


For more information on these new features, check out our New Feature page: