Event Report: Zuora's #Subscribed15 Shows How Organizations Can Power Their Digital Transformation Initiatives


Subscribed15 Brings Together The Market Leaders and Fast Followers Of Digital Transformation

Subscribed 15 Tien Tzuo
Over 2,000 attendees convened May 20th - 21st, 2015 at the Hilton Union Square in San Francisco for the 5th annual Subscribed Conference.   The early adopters in the subscription economy and those seeking to build for a post-sale, on-demand, attention economy were treated to keynotes from thought leaders, demos of the new Z Insights product, classes at the Zuora Academy, and numerous networking opportunities among the market leaders and fast followers in attendance.   CEO and founder, Tien Tzuo, kicked off the event with a look back at the pioneers of the subscription economy and the humanized digital future ahead.  Customer presentations by the Chief Digital Officer of Arrow,  Matt Anderson; The EVP of Digital Transformation of Schneider Electric, Cyril Perducat; and President of Taser International, Luke Larson; showed how three very different types of companies powered their digital transformation initiatives with Zuora.   A CXO dinner hosted by SVP of Global Services, Keith Costello, showed how CXO's in all functions have embraced the solution as part of the business model shift.  Key analysis of the event include:

  • Delivery of new features to the core Z-Business offering. On stage during the product keynote for Day 2, Guillaume Vives, SVP of Products and Marketing, announced enhancements to the Z-Business platform, Spotlight, and RBM Connect.   New features in the Z-Business offering include the ability to ramp deals, enable multi-action orders, support suspend and resume situations, support new payment gateways across Europe, and configure payment retries.  Spotlight, the reporting solution, adds a new report builder, more best practice template reports, and collaboration features to share with team members. In RBM Connect, the Zuora marketplace, users gain access to a community of developers and technology partners with over 89 applications and integrations

    Point of View (POV):
    Over the past seven years, Zuora has delivered 75 product releases addressing the core subscription economy. The current engine plays a key role in driving the components required to win in digital business.  The system supports the post-sale requirements and addresses the on-demand challenges that most billing systems miss.  Hence, commerce, quoting, pricing, billing, payments, revenue recognition, and GL integration are key features required to deliver on brand experience at the smallest unit cost of product and experience.  RBM Connect is a smart play to provide a marketplace for partners and customers to share ideas and solutions.
  • Showcase of Z-Insights as the future of Zuora.  Z-Insights, to be launched Fall of 2015, is the foundation behind the customer analytics software to help Zuora's customers understand their clients and their behaviors.  Key functionality include subscriber identity, subscriber moments, subscriber segments, subscriber triggers, and subscriber dashboard.  Subscriber Identity gives customers the ability to capture subscriber identity by demographics, user counts, social data, account balance, and company data (see Figure 1).  Subscriber Moments brings together a real-time interaction history around events such as new signups, cancellations, accepted offers, tickets filed, etc (see Figure 2).  Subscriber Segments applies analytics to subsets of customers who may have a propensity to convert from freemium to paid, churn, consider an upsell, reduce usage, etc (see Figure 3).  Subscriber Triggers uses email, notifications, alerts, and messages to help improve customer success.  The solution enables customer communcations via third parties. (see Figure 4).  Subscriber Dashboard delivers a command center and user activity console that can be published to other systems (see Figure 5).

    Fresh off of their March 11, 2015 announcements of triple digital growth and $115M in funding from Wellington Management Company, Blackrock Inc., Azim Premji, and Passport Capital, Zuora made the acquisition of Frontleaf on May 18th, 2015.  Founder and CEO Tom Krackeler will be part of the executive team.  Constellation believes that should Zuora launch this product (in limited availability) as described in the fall of 2015, this will create a game changer for users who will be able to build off of insights to create brand new business models.
  • Emphasis of Academy as a resource to digital transformation.  Academy is Zuora's on-line resource guide and learning center as well as a series of programs and workshops designed to help customers move into the world of the subscription economy.   Foundational course titles include The Subscription Pricing Journey, Defining A Winning Subscription Pricing Model, 4 Ways Subscription Subledgers Can Help YOu Close Your Books, B2B vs B2C Subscription Payment Strategies,  and The Modern CFO from Geek To Guru.  The academy provides courses and guides for topics such as growth and leadership, pricing strategy, customer success, marketing, finance, operations, IT, Connected Devices - IOT, and media.

    Given that most of Zuora's customers are Market Leaders and Fast Followers, the course provide a good reference base for the cautious adopters learning how to enter the subscription economy.  In general, prospects and customers should start with the Subscription Economy 101 guides and them move up.  The course ware does vary in quality but most do provide key concepts and good examples of how to get started and succeed.

Figure 1. Subscriber Identity Brings Together The Composite Customer Profile

Source: Zuora

Figure 2. Subscriber Moments Capture Customer Interactions Over Time

Source: Zuora

Figure 3. Subscriber Segments Group Common Types of Customers

Source: Zuora

Figure 4. Subscriber Triggers Drive Customer Engagement

Source: Zuora

Figure 5. Subscriber Dashboard Allows You To Publish Analytics To Any System

Source: Zuora

Figure 6. The FlickrStream From Subscribed 2015

Source: Copyright © 2001 -2015 R Wang and Insider Associates, LLC All rights reserved.

The Bottom Line: Zuora Customers Represent The Disruptors of Digital Business

A key part of disrupting digital business, requires organizations and brands to make a shift in their business model.  This business model often represents a shift to a post-sale, on-demand, attention economy.  In speaking with over 47 customers at the Zuora event, the common bond is the shift to these new digital business models built on subscriptions.  However, most organizations lack the technology infrastructure to support unit cost pricing models, recurring revenue billing, and subscription pricing.  Existing financial systems and applications can not deliver the solutions required without the massive cost of customization for a product not designed to support these digital business models.  Moreover, this shift to new business models require organizations to understand how to monetize post sale and build long term customer relationships as access to smaller and smaller slices of products and services represent the overall shift from selling products and services to keeping brand promises.  This requires not only a shift in business models, but also a cultural transformation in how relationships are designed around the customer.  As brands and organizations embark on digital transformation initiatives, they will require a different set of technology that will abstract from and integrate with existing legacy systems.  Customers and prospects can expect Zuora and other solutions to provide a key backbone in their efforts to build a digital business.

Your POV

Are you in the midst of digital transformation? Have you shifted to a post-sales, on demand, attention economy? Are you a Zuora customers?  Add your comments to the blog or reach me via email: R (at) ConstellationR (dot) com or R (at) SoftwareInsider (dot) org.

Please let us know if you need help with your Digital Business transformation efforts. Here’s how we can assist:
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  • Sharing best practices
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  • Implementation partner selection
  • Providing contract negotiations and software licensing support
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Copyright © 2001 -2015 R Wang and Insider Associates, LLC All rights reserved.
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