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SURE! Blog

Challenges of Usage Metering in Subscription Business

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Apr, 2014


Whose challenge is this ? Marketing team is coming up with innovative price plans, Sales is aggressive in acquiring customers,  Technical team is provisioning services, Customer is availing every option of service  extensively but end of the month, capturing usage information (CDR/UDR), mediation and rating, charge generation and invoicing !…..How do we do this? Is this a concern for every subscription based service provider?

To have competitive edge and to sustain in the cloud market place, cloud billing service providers who are offering subscription services need to be flexible in terms of their services, price plans or pricing structure which introduced the concept of Pay Per Use (PPU). But, one must not ignore the pains of a cloud service provider in tracking, collating and calculating the usage of each and every customer, applying respective rate plan, and generating a bill.

In addition to the usage based pricing parameters such as storage space, bandwidth consumption, computing cycles, number of users, modules, services, instances, downloads, alerts, hours etc, every cloud service provider has its own vertical specific usage based pricing charges e.g. in Unified communication & collaboration vertical , they charge based on number of users, or per month per user, Now the challenge here is cloud service provider has to have a continuous watch on the usage consumption of its customer(s) which may prevent from significant revenue loss. Alerting and allowing a customer on the usage limit (threshold) is again one such crucial business process. Cloud service provider follow a manual process or they have a tool in house developed to track such things. This exercise involves  additional human resource  or efforts to their operations .

Manual usage tracking is not much of a painful process for start-ups with less customers. However usage tracking process would become a challenging and painful process for the service providers with Large customer base.  Hence cloud service provider should automate its usage tracking process and keep a weather eye on the individual customer’s usage consumption. This will reduce the revenue loss occurred in manual process.

SURE! has proven experience in collecting the usage records for cloud subscription service providers across the globe. SURE! has deployed its solution along with it’s Metering module which integrates with cloud service providers database servers / control panel /virtualization platform  to collect the usage detailed records (UDRs). This will collect data that is in logfiles, databases or can run scripts written in Java to collect data. The Metering component in SURE! allows collections of multiple usage type and accurate processing of the same. This will plug the loss of revenues through accurate usage collection and processing.

By : Satish Garikipati

Satish Garikipati is a consultant with SURE! (a Magnaquest product). SURE! is an internationally acclaimed player in comprehensive end-to-end Subscription Business Solutions for PayTV, Broadband and Cloud Computing businesses – through deployment of Metered Billing, CRM, Service Fulfillment, Value-Added Services, and Managed Services.

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