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Zuora launches billing and customer care on Salesforce cloud platform

The Force.com Platform for Service Providers now boasts a Zuora cloud-based billing computing solution

“It’s time carriers realize that spending $250 million on a billing system that takes years to adjust to new market demands is no longer a feasible model; they have to move billing and customer care to the cloud to keep up, and that’s what we are enabling,” said CEO Tien Tzuo of Zuora, which today revealed an OEM agreement with Salesforce.com to provide Zuora’s subscription billing and commerce services on Force.com

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Zuora’s Tzuo contends the time has come for a move away from traditional billing, CRM and customer care systems that require long implementation cycles, are managed on-premise and are designed for specific one-to-one transactions.

“Operators can no longer afford to retool billing systems. It took AT&T years to catch up and compete with MCI when Friends and Family rolled out. You don’t have that luxury when competing with Google or Amazon in today’s environment,” said Tzuo. “Traditional systems are failing to accommodate subscription-based billing and today’s ‘freemium models,’ as well as the dynamic nature of streaming music, video downloads, social networking, file storage or any variety of newer data services.”

Zuora argues that billing and customer care should be moved to the cloud (through a SaaS model) so that “clicks not coding” are the means by which operators get the infrastructure and maintenance they need for new products and services.

“Because SaaS enables interoperability with existing systems billing systems, ERP and accounting systems, you can get CRM up and running in days, or even minutes in some cases. It makes no sense to continue with the types of systems that do not flexibly integrate into switches, Web sites, field force tablets and everything else involved in the order-to-cash cycle,” said Tzuo. Those more flexible systems are needed to manage today’s more complex subscription lifecycles, which include frequent pricing changes, product add-ons, usage and overage measurements, varied pricing tiers and geographic considerations (regional and international).

“You can’t effectively manage [such] subscriptions with legacy systems,” said Tzuo. “There’s also the complexity of billing when there are dynamic credits and refunds to issue, or proration that has to take place, as well as ad-hoc invoicing.”

And as all of that is happening, operators need capabilities to conduct sophisticated analysis of usage, churn rates, and uptake rates on a per-service basis.

“Only with multi-tenant solutions for cloud billing can operators compete,” said Tzuo.

With today’s announcement, Zuora’s billing and customer care in the cloud Customer Care in the Cloud is designed to offer a multi-tenant cloud architecture for scale, security, compliance and interoperability with PCI Level 1 security, SAS70 Type II compliance, and full disaster recovery capabilities.

Barrett Xplore, Open Range Communications and Vocalocity are among the telecom service providers using the new joint cloud solution, Zuora said.

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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