Zuora- Monetizing the Business Cloud

January 21, 2009 Guy Marion

zuoraLast night I was invited by Zuora.com, the leader in online subscription billing for SaaS companies, to present at their Z-Commerce Platform product release gig. Speaking to over 100 analysts, prospective and current Zuora clients in San Mateo CA, I described our experience of incorporating their new API-driven SaaS billing system to replace our PayPal system (watch this space- we are releasing soon).

As part of the introduction, Zuora’s CEO Tien Tzuo described their use of Codesion to support their globally distributed development teams. Tien made several points that ring true with us as a company and I think many of our clients:

1. No Servers. Zuora owns no servers- it is a 100% cloud (SaaS) company. They use Salesforce for CRM, Google Apps for email/docs, and Codesion for their hosted Subversion source control and issue tracking needs. This approach has dramatically reduced Zuora’s startup costs and allows them to redistribute headcount to core tasks, such as product delivery and customer service.

2. Why buy the cow when you only need the milk? If it’s milk you’re looking for, then steer clear of owning the cow. Cows need a farm to live on, food to eat, a farmer to milk it, a vet to treat it…sound familiar?

Similarly, new SaaS companies often look at building their own subscription billing system (we almost did), or configuring and maintaining their own source control servers and applications. It is never just the upfront and obvious costs that need to be considered.

A smart software company aims to sell its developers time thousands of times over. So by ensuring that our developers are focused on developing the new Codesion Platform (get ready!), we are multiplying their value and creating profit.

  • $10k of developer time spent on internal projects and server maintenance = $10k cost
  • $10k of developer time spent on building sellable products & apps = $XXX,XXX of PROFIT

We have a great synergy with Zuora. We are one anothers’ clients, we run our businesses in a similar manner, and we focus on improving on our core strengths while outsourcing the rest to others. If you are developing SaaS products or solutions and now need to monetize, then I recommend you check out Zuora (note: an appreciative, not affiliate, link).

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