Billing & Payments for Data Centers

Data centers have traditionally been recurring billers that required their customers to select from a menu of tiered services – services that required upfront subscription commitments. Virtualization, software-defined-networking, and related cloud computing technologies have increasingly tilted the balance towards dynamic providers offering platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). These services could scale on demand and charge accordingly – the utility model with usage-based, metered billing. However, unlike a traditional utility that offered a single product, data centers have a large number of services and need a complex product pricing catalog for merchandising.

 

Capabilities of interest for data center providers include:

Revenue Management

  • Manage a large number of subscription services with varying add-on options, bundled plans, pre-paid/post-paid plans, etc.
  • Easily implement pricing strategies based on consumption such as metered billing, tiered pricing, peak usage pricing, etc.
  • Increase customer acquisition with online self-signup – activate billing as soon as services are provisioned
  • Offer plan upgrades and cross-sell
  • Hierarchical billing (master billing) enables multiple accounts to be rolled up into a single invoice for bill-presentment or payment
  • Maintain enterprise accounts with traditional invoicing and paper checks/ACH payments
  • Track and manage commissions across a reseller or affiliate channel
  • Affordably customize to your advanced requirements

Customer Retention

  • Intelligent, branded customer messaging for a variety of conditions – avoid “bill shock”, service interruptions for non-payment, etc. with timely and automated customer communication
  • Customer self-service portal embedded into your website – minimize routine billing enquiries and disputes with clear presentation of detailed usage charges
  • Auto-updater to get replacement credit cards for expired and cancelled cards
  • Free trail periods, and promotional offers
  • Intelligent payment recycling strategies for managing declined payments

Integration

  • Self-service portals that can be embedded into your website
  • Custom distributed “agents” to collect raw usage data for metered billing, including SNMP, log files, or databases
  • Outbound event notifications (“push notifications”) to enable your systems to automatically react to billing events (e.g. add new services, or de-provision delinquent accounts)
  • Full-featured, modern REST API makes integration a snap
  • Import/export to ERP / accounting systems