Zuora, which focuses on billing and finance for subscription-based businesses, has launched Z-Business, a suite that melds billing, accounting and commerce as a service.
The cloud player positions itself as an ERP system for subscription based businesses. Typically, ERP systems struggle with subscription based revenue. Zuora has jumped into the void to focus on what it calls the subscription economy, which is based on companies such as Zipcar, Netflix and Pandora where subscriber retention is critical.
Zuora, which will unveil its suite at its Subscribed conference in San Francisco Monday, calls Z-Business a relationship business management suite. In short, Z-Business is focused on garnering subscribers, maintaining a relationship and keeping churn low. Z-Business consists of Zuora's core applications---Z-Commerce, Z-Finance and Z-Billing--and comes in an enterprise flavor and one for smaller fast-growing companies.
The latest component of Z-Business is Z-Finance, which serves as the subledger for subscription revenue. Z-Finance is designed to complement ERP systems such as NetSuite, Oracle, SAP, Sage, Workday and others. Z-Finance includes accounting close, audit controls, revenue recognition reporting and summary journal entries. Z-Billing launched in 2008 and Z-Commerce was introduced in 2009.
Customers using the Z-Business growth edition include Box, Cloud9, Marketo, Ning, Splunk and Yammer. All of those companies are software as a service based. Zuora's Z-Business growth edition includes standard billing, payment options and integration with Salesforce.com
The enterprise edition of Z-Business includes higher end capabilities for large companies. These enhanced capabilities include multiple channel subscriptions, complex models, taxation customization and the ability to manage various flavors of revenue recognition.
Pricing begins at $100,000 per year for the Enterprise Edition and $30,000 per year for Growth Edition, with pricing tiers based on invoice volumes
With the move, Zuora is trying to make relationship business management (RBM) a key phrase. There's a bit of sprawl going on with new acronyms among enterprise players. For instance, Oracle has talked of social relationship management.
In any case, RBM is designed to enable dynamic pricing, link with finance, billing and CRM services and manage processes.
Zuora in Nov. 2011 raised $36 million in venture capital from Index Ventures, Greylock Partners and Workday co-CEO Dave Duffield. Zuora is also a key Workday partner. Since that capital raise, Zuora has been expanding globally with operations in Australia and Asia Pacific and adding industry executives from the likes of CA, Oracle and Splunk.