SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Dana Gardner, Peter Silva, Kevin Jackson, Jessica Qiu

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, SOA & WOA, Virtualization, Web 2.0, Big Data Journal, SDN Journal

Cloud Expo: 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 CMO of MetraTech. She has spent 15 years as a marketing, product management, and business development technology executive bringing disruptive technologies and companies to market. Esmeralda is responsible for go-to-market strategy and execution, product marketing, 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. Esmeralda was previously co-founder and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development of Soapstone Networks, a developer of OSS software, now part of Extreme Networks (Nasdaq:EXTR). At Avici Systems (Nasdaq:AVCI), Esmeralda was Vice President of Marketing for the networking pioneer from startup through its successful IPO. Early in her career, she was a Director at IDC, where she led the network consulting practice and worked with startup and leading software and hardware companies, and Wall Street clients on product and market strategies. Esmeralda holds a Bachelor of Science with a concentration in Marketing and International Business from Northeastern University.

You can view her other blogs at www.metratech.com/blog.

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.


@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
Disruptive macro trends in technology are impacting and dramatically changing the "art of the possible" relative to supply chain management practices through the innovative use of IoT, cloud, machine learning and Big Data to enable connected ecosystems of engagement. Enterprise informatics can now move beyond point solutions that merely monitor the past and implement integrated enterprise fabrics that enable end-to-end supply chain visibility to improve customer service delivery and optimize supplier management. Learn about enterprise architecture strategies for designing connected systems tha...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, will discuss the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. The presentation will also discuss how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics to discuss are barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold.
Whether you're a startup or a 100 year old enterprise, the Internet of Things offers a variety of new capabilities for your business. IoT style solutions can help you get closer your customers, launch new product lines and take over an industry. Some companies are dipping their toes in, but many have already taken the plunge, all while dramatic new capabilities continue to emerge. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Reid Carlberg, Senior Director, Developer Evangelism at salesforce.com, to discuss real-world use cases, patterns and opportunities you can harness today.
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices – computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors – connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be!
Noted IoT expert and researcher Joseph di Paolantonio (pictured below) has joined the @ThingsExpo faculty. Joseph, who describes himself as an “Independent Thinker” from DataArchon, will speak on the topic of “Smart Grids & Managing Big Utilities.” Over his career, Joseph di Paolantonio has worked in the energy, renewables, aerospace, telecommunications, and information technology industries. His expertise is in data analysis, system engineering, Bayesian statistics, data warehouses, business intelligence, data mining, predictive methods, and very large databases (VLDB). Prior to DataArcho...
Software AG helps organizations transform into Digital Enterprises, so they can differentiate from competitors and better engage customers, partners and employees. Using the Software AG Suite, companies can close the gap between business and IT to create digital systems of differentiation that drive front-line agility. We offer four on-ramps to the Digital Enterprise: alignment through collaborative process analysis; transformation through portfolio management; agility through process automation and integration; and visibility through intelligent business operations and big data.
There will be 50 billion Internet connected devices by 2020. Today, every manufacturer has a propriety protocol and an app. How do we securely integrate these "things" into our lives and businesses in a way that we can easily control and manage? Even better, how do we integrate these "things" so that they control and manage each other so our lives become more convenient or our businesses become more profitable and/or safe? We have heard that the best interface is no interface. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Co-Founder & CTO at Octoblu, Inc., will discuss how thes...
Last week, while in San Francisco, I used the Uber app and service four times. All four experiences were great, although one of the drivers stopped for 30 seconds and then left as I was walking up to the car. He must have realized I was a blogger. None the less, the next car was just a minute away and I suffered no pain. In this article, my colleague, Ved Sen, Global Head, Advisory Services Social, Mobile and Sensors at Cognizant shares his experiences and insights.
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) ir...
Can call centers hang up the phones for good? Intuitive Solutions did. WebRTC enabled this contact center provider to eliminate antiquated telephony and desktop phone infrastructure with a pure web-based solution, allowing them to expand beyond brick-and-mortar confines to a home-based agent model. It also ensured scalability and better service for customers, including MUY! Companies, one of the country's largest franchise restaurant companies with 232 Pizza Hut locations. This is one example of WebRTC adoption today, but the potential is limitless when powered by IoT. Attendees will learn rea...
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, will share some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, deploy, and manage applications integrating voice, video and data. He is the co-founder ...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to create new business models as significant as those that were inspired by the Internet and the smartphone 20 and 10 years ago. What business, social and practical implications will this phenomenon bring? That's the subject of "Monetizing the Internet of Things: Perspectives from the Front Lines," an e-book released today and available free of charge from Aria Systems, the leading innovator in recurring revenue management.
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges.
There’s Big Data, then there’s really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. In her session at 6th Big Data Expo®, Hannah Smalltree, Director at Treasure Data, to discuss how IoT, Big Data and deployments are processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other mach...
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Erik Lagerway, Co-founder of Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice s...
While great strides have been made relative to the video aspects of remote collaboration, audio technology has basically stagnated. Typically all audio is mixed to a single monaural stream and emanates from a single point, such as a speakerphone or a speaker associated with a video monitor. This leads to confusion and lack of understanding among participants especially regarding who is actually speaking. Spatial teleconferencing introduces the concept of acoustic spatial separation between conference participants in three dimensional space. This has been shown to significantly improve comprehe...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, will discuss single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridsto...