Zuora held a successful user meeting just prior to Dreamforce that I attended and I was most impressed by its size and the new product introductions. The event, “Subscribed,” is a couple of years old in name but older than that in practice and the company packed a lot of enthusiastic customers and partners into the Ritz Carlton. The choice of location was smart, in the financial district at the other end of town from the Moscone Center, which gave some distinction from the larger event later in the week. But my greatest interest was in product messaging.
Zuora CEO, Tien Tzuo, filled the last slot (for now) in his product universe and deployed a nifty description to how the product line comes together and why it matters. The product focus was on Z-Finance, which joined Z-Billing and Z-Commerce in a holy trinity of back office applications aimed at subscription companies. The description is “Subscription Business Management,” which I like as it elevates the discussion from simply how do I do my subscription billing to how to I manage a subscription business which is much different from a product business — especially when the subscription business is inside of the conventional business.
Z-Finance gives financial executives the tools they need to examine their subscription data and manage their businesses accordingly while being able to dump the proceeds into the conventional GL in a way that makes sense to the traditional side of the house. It’s smart really and no simply feat. So now Zuora provides its customers with the ability to simply and quickly configure, administer, bill, collect, analyze and reconcile the subscription business.
The importance of Z-Finance is two fold. There is no doubt that pure subscription companies would need it sooner or later, but Z-Finance is also a key piece of technology that will help conventional companies exploring subscriptions to understand better how subscriptions fit into their business models. This expands Zuora’s market significantly, so bravo for Zuora.
Truth check — Zuora is a client and I recently published a small book, “The Subscription Economy—How Subscriptions Improve Business.” Fortunately, my messaging was congruent.
(Cross-posted @ Beagle Research, LLC.)