Tackling The ‘Last Mile’ Problem With Custom Objects

By Apurva Desai May 26, 2020

In our Zuora Central Platform Series, we are excited to share with you the new functionality and how it’s being leveraged across subscription businesses.

As the Subscription Economy continues to grow, so does its complexity. Not every subscription business faces the same set of challenges or has the same set of use cases.

Custom Objects, part of the Zuora Central Platform, tackles the last mile problem through extending Zuora’s data model to capture the unique data needed to manage a subscription business. Zuora is the market’s most flexible subscription platform capable of solving the last mile use cases of all industries and enterprises. All of the data is managed on Zuora’s highly scalable cloud technology and can be made available anywhere in the subscription management lifecycle.

Zuora is raising the bar for enterprise platforms by introducing the most scalable, flexible, and responsive custom data service yet. Subscription businesses need to be agile in their response to unpredictable spikes in customer demand. That’s why we built our Custom Objects on battle-tested, distributed cloud infrastructure that powers the biggest tech platforms such as Netflix, Lyft, and Airbnb. The Zuora Central Platform is capable of powering bigger solutions than even the most mature enterprise SaaS platforms.

Let’s take a look at how businesses are leveraging the power of Custom Objects to tailor fit Zuora to meet their unique last mile subscription business needs:

    • IoT Customer Uses Custom Objects for Asset Tracking and Entitlement: Oftentimes IoT devices, vehicles, and software licenses are provisioned as part of a subscription. Tracking these assets across the life of a subscription has incredible value in enabling downstream entitlements, invoice presentment, device-level metrics, and more. One early adopter is leveraging the power of Custom Objects to coordinate device tracking and entitlements for subscription services on an IoT device. As this customer creates subscriptions, Workflow dynamically creates ‘Devices’ records for their account that contain the features provisioned by the subscription terms. Periodically, a downstream entitlement system queries the ‘Device’ Custom Object to fetch which features should be enabled or disabled on customers’ devices. This has brought down activation times from hours to under five minutes. The solution is currently being used to support an initial batch of over 30,000 devices and will steadily ramp up to support nearly one million devices.

 

    • Auto Customer Uses Custom Objects for Subscription Service to Charging Stations: Many usage-based subscriptions include a prepaid component that gets drawn down as usage is incurred. For example, utilities can be prepaid for the year or monthly data allocations can be purchased for a cell phone plan. Another early adopter is using the Zuora Central Platform to support the launch of a new EV model that includes a subscription service to charging stations. For customers who purchase this subscription, Workflow will provision an allocation of kilowatt hours of charging each month in a Custom Object. As customers charge their vehicles, Workflow deducts that usage against the allocation stored in the Custom Object. Any overages can automatically trigger the billing and provisioning of additional kilowatt hours. This service is anticipated to support over 100,000 subscribers.

 

    • Subscription Delivery Customer Uses Custom Objects to Automate Fulfillment and Delivery Tracking: Subscription services that deliver goods to consumers are becoming increasingly popular. Consumers expect a highly responsive and automated experience for managing their deliveries. With Custom Objects, one early adopter uses the Zuora Central Platform to automate the fulfillment and tracking of deliveries. As consumers create subscriptions, Workflow creates ‘Delivery’ records in a Custom Object according to the subscription terms. As the shipping date approaches, Workflow automatically queries the Custom Object for upcoming ‘Deliveries,’ performs a callout to a shipping vendor, and stores the shipping label and tracking information on the ‘Delivery’ record in Zuora. All this while, an eCommerce portal is showing end consumers their upcoming deliveries and live tracking information as it becomes available on the ‘Delivery’ record.

     
    We are continuing to unlock new use cases with Custom Objects, now available on the Zuora Central Platform. By extending the functionality of the Zuora Central Platform we are providing our customers with a solid technology foundation so they have the agility to extend subscription management capabilities at scale.

    To learn more about Custom Objects visit our Knowledge Center, Developer Center, and Community Forums, and read our latest Zuora Central Platform press release here. Check out other blogs from our Zuora Central Platform Series: Zuora Central Sandbox, Data Query, and Audit Trail.