Zuora Platform - Performance Booster

Scale performance across billing, payments, and financial operations

For customers that have turned on Performance Booster, we’ve seen improvements up to 8x in processing time!

All the stories above illustrate the impact of Performance Booster, and how critical it can be for financial operations. Check out our product leader speaking about Performance Booster below.

If your company has tens of thousands or millions of subscriptions, being able to scale with high-volumes without risking performance is a daily concern.

For B2C or B2Any companies, scaling financial operations across billing, payments, and other workflows becomes critical for the business. You’re sending hundreds of thousands of invoices per day, processing millions of payments as quickly as possible, and taking on other time-sensitive financial operations. There is very little room for error and latency.

Financial operations in Zuora can be separated into four main buckets:

  • Processing high-volume billing to ensure accurate invoices
  • Processing high-volume payments to maximize cash flow
  • Processing high-volume customer sign-ups or cancellations
  • Processing time-sensitive workflows

What we find is that companies are often rushed to complete these high-volume operations by a very strict deadline. You might need to close the books at the end of the month or handle high volumes for an upcoming new marketing launch. Regardless of the situation, it requires IT teams and operations to scale at any moment without additional resources.

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How Zuora Can Optimize Performance

We’ve worked with hundreds of our customers to optimize performance as their business scales. Here are four stories:

Story 1: Optimize Billing Operations

Company: Media Company with over 1 million customers

For this company, every customer gets billed on the same day of the month as when they sign-up. Between 30,000 and 40,000 invoices are sent every day.

Challenge: It took ~10 hours every single day to process all invoices. The Billing Operations team scheduled the billing process each night and checked for errors in the morning. Any error required the team to run the overnight process all over again — it was time-consuming and costly.

Result: By boosting performance in Zuora, the time it took to manage billing everyday reduced from 10 hours to an average of ~30 minutes.

Story 2: Optimize Payments Operations

Company: Membership Company with 2 million customers

This company processes hundreds of thousands of payments twice per month. In the event that payments are not fully processed before the 15th or 30th of the month, the company cannot support its minimum cash flow and net working capital. Everything from Accounts Payable to employee paychecks are impacted.

Challenge: Processing payments takes time. Each payment requires a company to make a callout to a payment gateway, wait for the request to be accepted, and then process that single payment. Most payment gateways process under 100 payment transactions per minute. Given the volume of customers, that meant each payment operation can take the entire day!

Result: This company can now process 150,000 payments in a 75 min window — that’s 2000 payment transactions per minute!

Story 3: Optimize API Transactions

Company: Gaming Company with 3X Customer Growth Overnight

This company saw a spike in sign-ups on the weekend of a new game launch, going from 100,000 customers to over 350,000 customers overnight.

Challenge: With a few hundred thousand subscribers signing up in a very short time period, there may be impacts to the sign-up and payment flow. Timeouts due to API limits lead to a poor customer experience and can greatly limit the number of potential sign ups.

Result: This company doubled their API concurrency limits with Zuora before the big launch, and was able to smoothly handle the peak volume of sign-ups.

Story 4: Optimize Time-Sensitive Workflows

Company: Software-as-a-Service company with 2 million customers

This company manages all finance workflows — such as billing, payments, and refunds — in Zuora. Refunds were processed through an automated two-step workflow: first, a payment refund transaction was processed through a payment gateway, and second, the customer was deactivated from their software subscription.

Challenge: The two-step refund workflow took up anywhere from several seconds to multiple minutes (!) due to the volume of customers and its complexity. That can be really frustrating for a customer. Because refunds impact a customer’s experience, this company wanted to ensure this workflow can be completed in near real-time.

Result: This company added the refund workflow as a prioritized operation in Zuora, and can now complete the refund transaction in under 1 second.

Best Practices to Optimize Performance

If one of those stories sound like you, let’s help you optimize performance. Here’s a few best practices to get you started:

1. Identify your operational window for time-sensitive processes.

If you need to process all payments in a 5 hour window each month, that doesn’t change as volume increases. Know your critical time-sensitive windows that are not adjustable, and optimize against that.

2. Understand bottlenecks in the process.

Identify whether there is an opportunity to reduce the amount of time spent on dependent operations. Some companies with usage-based pricing have to spend time loading usage records. Some companies require an extra step to capture a digital signature on invoices.

3. Plan ahead of peak periods.

If your marketing team is planning for a big launch next month, verify ahead of time that you can handle the sign-up volume without creating timeouts and a poor customer experience.

4. Track trends for peaks, and consider smoothing over time.

You can use the new System Health Dashboards in Zuora to track your bill run, payment run, API, and workflow performance. Consider updating processes to spread out high volumes at peak periods across multiple dates to minimize spikes.

5. Set up alerts in Zuora to track performance.

You can easily set up alerts in Zuora. For example, set up an alert for your development team to be notified when APIs are failing.

Add the Performance Booster in Zuora

The companies above also took advantage of the Performance Booster in the Zuora Platform. Performance Booster is a technology we designed to specifically optimize high-scale operations within Zuora.

Performance Booster optimizes performance in four ways:

1. Optimize Bill Run Times

Our billing parallel processing engine takes large bill runs and breaks them into separate operations, allowing you to process more bills in parallel.

2. Optimize Payment Run Times

Our payment parallel processing engine takes large payment runs and breaks them into separate operations, allowing companies to process thousands of payment transactions per minute.

3. Double API Concurrency Rates

Based on Zuora’s standard API concurrency rates, we can double these limits to help you drive more throughput for peak periods and launch events.

4. Reduce Workflow Queue Time

For critical, time-sensitive workflows, we can prioritize these workflows in the “queue” across all workflows running through Zuora (for you and all other Zuora customers) to ensure they are optimized.

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