by Clement Wang
Another month, another Zuora release – this month’s release is chock full of new customer-driven features. Highlights below:
Subscription Preview: Subscriptions can be complicated, especially if you have complex usage charges (like our customer LiveOffice), deal with non-standard subscription terms, or prorations. If you’re not careful, you’re invoice may not match the expectation that your sales team has set with your customers. Our Subscription Preview feature is designed to eliminate entry error and allow users to tell exactly what the invoices will look like before the subscription is locked in. Users may enter pro-forma usage data, and preview across the whole subscription or only a select number of periods where they are most concerned.
Product Catalog API Improvements: Our industry-leading Z-Commerce API platform set is one of the our key advantages, and with the May release, we continue to enhance our API’s by adding greater control and visibility into the Product Catalog. This is especially important to Roland Flanagan of Online Marketing Group (another of Zuora’s customers), who will use the new features to allow their customers to dynamically add one-time or recurring charges to existing subscriptions.
Improved Payment Interface: We take a lot of pride in the fact that our user experience is best-in-class in our space. Along these lines, we continue to evolve based on feedback we hear from customers – this time from dozens of user tests from a broad cross-section of our customer base. With the May release, we’ve overhauled our payment entry interface, defaulting key data to the 90% use case, so that in most cases payments can be entered with a single click. This overhaul will also pave the way for our expanded payment operations functionality that we’ll be introducing over the coming months.
API Access to Subscription Charge History: We’re proud of our robust subscription model, as it’s the only one that tracks the entire subscription lifecycle, including the initial subscription order, and any amendments or changes that occur during the life of a subscription. In a subscription business, these changes are important as they will typically represent upsells, and an increasing relationship with your end-customer. With the May ’10 release, we now expose the entire subscription charge history to allow calculation of the value of a subscription at any point in time. Ben Saren of Citysquares.com will use this to calculate today’s MRR, which represents the current monthly recurring revenue net of any changes that may take place in the future.
Support for Processing ACH Payments vis Chase/Paymentech: This feature was requested by several of our customers, including Robert Maynard of PrivacyMaxx. Being able to offer flexibility in the types of payments you accept from your customers can be a key differentiator, and to that end, we’re enhancing our support for Chase/Paymentech to allow processing of ACH, or electronic check payments. Ask and we shall deliver – look for some additional payment processing functionality to come in the next few months as well!