Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Stackify Blog, Aruna Ravichandran, Dalibor Siroky, Kevin Jackson, PagerDuty Blog

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, @DXWorldExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Everything-as-a-Service Demands New Approach to Accounts Receivables

Today’s increasing service complexity is best handled by an integrated complete solution for monetization

When we first built our MetraNet billing platform our customers (large enterprises and service providers) generally offered services that were clearly defined in terms of character and scope, with fairly stable setup charges, usage charges, and periodic recurring charges. Back then, with some exceptions, it was normal to issue regular periodic invoices that consolidated all of those charges. The invoice would then trigger an entry in the service provider's Accounts Receivable (AR) ledger. That in turn, again with a few exceptions, would constitute the point at which Revenue Recognition would take place. The few exceptions (for example, an invoice for a payment in advance for a service set-up charge) would be handled by adding a matching journal entry in Deferred (or unearned) Revenue until such time as the services had been delivered. The adjustment could be handled automatically (triggered by a flag from order management or billing) or manually.

Things have moved on from there and the metadata driven character of MetraNet has enabled MetraNet to support new requirements fluidly and easily. A few years ago, we developed a capability to handle the increasingly more complex requirements of services-related AR. In discussions with customers on AR, it is becoming clear that the additional power and flexibility delivered by our approach to AR will no longer be an exceptional need - it will be an everyday requirement for most service providers.

I have written a lot recently about "Everything as a Service" (XaaS) and the closely linked concept of the "Internet of Things." These labels are helpful in crystallizing in our minds what has been going on for some time. We are observing changes on multiple fronts. Products and devices increasingly become tools for the delivery of services. Services can be delivered by Agents that interact with other Agents to deliver more complex service bundles, or strip out service components to recombine them with other components to create new services. It's conceivable that Cloud Service Brokers will evolve into brokerage networks, collecting and representing services for adaptation and resell in a way that compensates multiple contributors along the value chain. At the same time services providers have to do all this while continuing to operate, and be seen to operate, within the regulatory rules.

Periodic invoices just seem so slow for this kind of environment!

As invoicing becomes more flexible and more complex, the way we handle Accounts Receivables needs to keep up. MetraTech's AR solution (MetraARTM) abstracts accounting securely from the dynamic business modeling of the billing system and enables solid and auditable integration with our customers' accounting systems.

What is special about MetraTech's metadata-driven approach? For one thing, it provides a flexible and pragmatic way around the all-or-nothing choice usually available with traditional systems. The traditional approach forces a choice between Invoice Accounting and Line Item Accounting. Invoice Accounting doesn't provide sufficient granularity when reselling supplier services, selling or re-selling regulated services, or in any case where different parts of the invoice have varying contractual or legal demands for prioritization. On the other hand, Line Item Accounting becomes completely unwieldy and difficult to scale when used on enterprise accounts or for any high-volume, event-based service.

Within MetraAR we have built on our innovative patent-pending "Demand for Payment" (DfP) technology. This enables a service provider to select the most appropriate level of granularity for managing receivables. Rather than being forced into an all-or-nothing choice, a service provider can segment different components of the invoice into separate DfPs without having to go down to the line item detail. For example, perhaps you are reselling cloud services from different vendors. One vendor has a net 30-day contract with you and the other a net 45. You would want to distribute payment against the receivables associated with the Net 30 supplier, but you don't want to track the hundreds or thousands of line items that wound up on your channel partner's wholesale invoice. Instead you can group all the charges into a single Demand for Payment and manage that group as one entity.

It doesn't stop there. Each Demand for Payment can be further split as needed to handle partial payments, payments on account, disputes, and any other events that affect receivables. A single customer payment can be apportioned across multiple DfPs in whatever way is required.

The MetraNet billing platform already provides a complete and flexible system for handling subscriptions to the most complex accounts. With the added MetraAR functionality, we provide even more scope for handling those "exceptional" needs that are rapidly becoming normal everyday business. It is now even easier to set up custom payment plans, reassign and consolidate debt, and manage external debt. The use of DfPs enables Aging to be managed more accurately, with a range of aging algorithms that ensure that priority is given to the right accounts for collection and follow-up.

Our customers realize that today's increasing service complexity is best handled by an integrated complete solution for monetization, rather than a fragmented approach using separate point products. At the same time, the solution needs to work smoothly with financial accounting systems. The latest evolution of MetraNet with MetraAR does all this, and does so in a way that enables the service provider to introduce more complexity only where complexity is really needed, and to keep things simple where simple is the smarter way.

More Stories By Esmeralda Swartz

Esmeralda Swartz is VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud, BUSS. She has spent 15 years as a marketing, product management, and business development technology executive bringing disruptive technologies and companies to market. Esmeralda was CMO of MetraTech, now part of Ericsson. At MetraTech, Esmeralda was responsible for go-to-market strategy and execution for enterprise and SaaS products, product management, business development and partner programs. Prior to MetraTech, Esmeralda was co-founder, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Lightwolf Technologies, a big data management startup. She was previously co-founder and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development of Soapstone Networks, a developer of resource and service control software, now part of Extreme Networks.

Comments (1)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
How is DevOps going within your organization? If you need some help measuring just how well it is going, we have prepared a list of some key DevOps metrics to track. These metrics can help you understand how your team is doing over time. The word DevOps means different things to different people. Some say it a culture and every vendor in the industry claims that their tools help with DevOps. Depending on how you define DevOps, some of these metrics may matter more or less to you and your team.
For many of us laboring in the fields of digital transformation, 2017 was a year of high-intensity work and high-reward achievement. So we’re looking forward to a little breather over the end-of-year holiday season. But we’re going to have to get right back on the Continuous Delivery bullet train in 2018. Markets move too fast and customer expectations elevate too precipitously for businesses to rest on their laurels. Here’s a DevOps “to-do list” for 2018 that should be priorities for anyone w...
If testing environments are constantly unavailable and affected by outages, release timelines will be affected. You can use three metrics to measure stability events for specific environments and plan around events that will affect your critical path to release.
In a recent post, titled “10 Surprising Facts About Cloud Computing and What It Really Is”, Zac Johnson highlighted some interesting facts about cloud computing in the SMB marketplace: Cloud Computing is up to 40 times more cost-effective for an SMB, compared to running its own IT system. 94% of SMBs have experienced security benefits in the cloud that they didn’t have with their on-premises service
DevOps failure is a touchy subject with some, because DevOps is typically perceived as a way to avoid failure. As a result, when you fail in a DevOps practice, the situation can seem almost hopeless. However, just as a fail-fast business approach, or the “fail and adjust sooner” methodology of Agile often proves, DevOps failures are actually a step in the right direction. They’re the first step toward learning from failures and turning your DevOps practice into one that will lead you toward even...
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
While walking around the office I happened upon a relatively new employee dragging emails from his inbox into folders. I asked why and was told, “I’m just answering emails and getting stuff off my desk.” An empty inbox may be emotionally satisfying to look at, but in practice, you should never do it. Here’s why. I recently wrote a piece arguing that from a mathematical perspective, Messy Desks Are Perfectly Optimized. While it validated the genius of my friends with messy desks, it also gener...
The goal of Microservices is to improve software delivery speed and increase system safety as scale increases. Microservices being modular these are faster to change and enables an evolutionary architecture where systems can change, as the business needs change. Microservices can scale elastically and by being service oriented can enable APIs natively. Microservices also reduce implementation and release cycle time and enables continuous delivery. This paper provides a logical overview of the Mi...
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous ar...
The enterprise data storage marketplace is poised to become a battlefield. No longer the quiet backwater of cloud computing services, the focus of this global transition is now going from compute to storage. An overview of recent storage market history is needed to understand why this transition is important. Before 2007 and the birth of the cloud computing market we are witnessing today, the on-premise model hosted in large local data centers dominated enterprise storage. Key marketplace play...
The cloud revolution in enterprises has very clearly crossed the phase of proof-of-concepts into a truly mainstream adoption. One of most popular enterprise-wide initiatives currently going on are “cloud migration” programs of some kind or another. Finding business value for these programs is not hard to fathom – they include hyperelasticity in infrastructure consumption, subscription based models, and agility derived from rapid speed of deployment of applications. These factors will continue to...
Some people are directors, managers, and administrators. Others are disrupters. Eddie Webb (@edwardawebb) is an IT Disrupter for Software Development Platforms at Liberty Mutual and was a presenter at the 2016 All Day DevOps conference. His talk, Organically DevOps: Building Quality and Security into the Software Supply Chain at Liberty Mutual, looked at Liberty Mutual's transformation to Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and DevOps. For a large, heavily regulated industry, this task ...
Following a tradition dating back to 2002 at ZapThink and continuing at Intellyx since 2014, it’s time for Intellyx’s annual predictions for the coming year. If you’re a long-time fan, you know we have a twist to the typical annual prediction post: we actually critique our predictions from the previous year. To make things even more interesting, Charlie and I switch off, judging the other’s predictions. And now that he’s been with Intellyx for more than a year, this Cortex represents my first ...
"Grape Up leverages Cloud Native technologies and helps companies build software using microservices, and work the DevOps agile way. We've been doing digital innovation for the last 12 years," explained Daniel Heckman, of Grape Up in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Toyota Production System, a world-renowned production system is based on the "complete elimination of all waste". The "Toyota Way", grounded on continuous improvement dates to the 1860s. The methodology is widely proven to be successful yet there are still industries within and tangential to manufacturing struggling to adopt its core principles: Jidoka: a process should stop when an issue is identified prevents releasing defective products
We seem to run this cycle with every new technology that comes along. A good idea with practical applications is born, then both marketers and over-excited users start to declare it is the solution for all or our problems. Compliments of Gartner, we know it generally as “The Hype Cycle”, but each iteration is a little different. 2018’s flavor will be serverless computing, and by 2018, I mean starting now, but going most of next year, you’ll be sick of it. We are already seeing people write such...
Defining the term ‘monitoring’ is a difficult task considering the performance space has evolved significantly over the years. Lately, there has been a shift in the monitoring world, sparking a healthy debate regarding the definition and purpose of monitoring, through which a new term has emerged: observability. Some of that debate can be found in blogs by Charity Majors and Cindy Sridharan.
It’s “time to move on from DevOps and continuous delivery.” This was the provocative title of a recent article in ZDNet, in which Kelsey Hightower, staff developer advocate at Google Cloud Platform, suggested that “software shops should have put these concepts into action years ago.” Reading articles like this or listening to talks at most DevOps conferences might make you think that we’re entering a post-DevOps world. But vast numbers of organizations still struggle to start and drive transfo...
Let's do a visualization exercise. Imagine it's December 31, 2018, and you're ringing in the New Year with your friends and family. You think back on everything that you accomplished in the last year: your company's revenue is through the roof thanks to the success of your product, and you were promoted to Lead Developer. 2019 is poised to be an even bigger year for your company because you have the tools and insight to scale as quickly as demand requires. You're a happy human, and it's not just...
"Opsani helps the enterprise adopt containers, help them move their infrastructure into this modern world of DevOps, accelerate the delivery of new features into production, and really get them going on the container path," explained Ross Schibler, CEO of Opsani, and Peter Nickolov, CTO of Opsani, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.