Unlocking the Complexity of Billing in SaaS

One of the core tenets of SaaS is to be able to meter tenant usage and then bill your customers. However, there are a lot of challenges in handling that.

The first challenge is to implement proper metering of the usage. In some cases, it may be tracking usage in the application, in other cases, you may want to charge customers based on the infrastructure type and may need to collect the usage over the month. Some of the infra usage is not straightforward, for example, tracking networking ingress/egress usage across a variety of configurations is not trivial. Then you have to aggregate across different dimensions. You may have different plans for different tenants, you may have free trials, discounts, custom pricing for your enterprise customers, everything adds complexity.

The next challenge is to integrate your tenant database with the billing system. You can’t have tenant management data in one data store and billing data in another data store with no connection on how the tenant id in the tenant management store maps to the billing system.

If that was not enough, you have to worry about SOX compliance, auditing the bills, monitoring the billing pipeline. You have to make sure you store the raw data so that if you have to recalculate in case of errors or failure to comply to any promises, you can recalculate the new bills for your customers. You have to store the data safely to avoid any financial loss, and keep it around for any future audit.

Then there are different billing channels from direct payment to marketplace, and you don’t have much choice but to meet your tenants based on their preferred channel of payment. All of these channels bring their own additional operational challenge.

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To learn more about all the core capabilities that we need to deliver a SaaS offering, see here
To learn more about how users can leverage a SaaS platform like Omnistrate to address many of these challenges, please see here.