Three ways Orb helps engineering teams ship billing fast

Christina Hsu

78% of companies surveyed shifted their pricing and/or packaging strategy in 2023, but price changes are still a resource intensive and drawn-out process. Have you ever had to drop your engineering priorities to correct data errors and make one-off price changes across platforms? Legacy billing infrastructure is not ready to capture the granular metrics and usage data required for price changes. Built by developers, Orb is designed to help you focus your time and energy on innovating products, not on billing.

Take a closer look at three ways Orb is built to help you ship billing fast and work the way you expect:

1. Get set up quickly with a better developer experience

One of the common questions we hear from developers is - how long does it take to get Orb up and running? Orb is designed to help you set up your billing and make plan changes efficiently. First, we built predictable APIs that are easy to use. For example, your team can use aliases, such as customer IDs, directly from your own system to interact with Orb’s APIs instead of Orb’s identifiers. Request idempotency support means you don’t have to spend time removing customers who may be double-subscribed.

Second, Orb’s APIs are built to ingest raw events quickly. For example, instead of sending an event every hour for the total number of monthly active users, you can send an event for each user interaction, and then you can query monthly active users directly in Orb. Designed to handle high event throughput and scale reliably in real time, Orb ensures that you don’t waste any time on upfront aggregation.

Third, Orb offers idiomatic SDKs in multiple languages, such as Python, Node.js/Typescript, and Go, instead of using painful HTTP requests to set up Orb. If you prefer to work in a different language, you can use our OpenAI spec to spin up one quickly. The SDKs are autogenerated from our OpenAPI spec, meaning they are automatically updated as they change. Check out the SDKs in the demo video.

2. Integrate Orb with more confidence and accuracy

Orb’s test mode helps your team confirm that the system is set up accurately. By ingesting events, customer information, and creating workflows in test mode, you can mitigate any risks of accidentally charging customers while the system is still getting set up. It is also much cleaner than ingesting test data that may later accidentally create noise in live mode.

Unlike other solutions in the market, Orb offers backfill to simplify your migration. You can backfill event data and set up subscriptions as of a historical date when you migrate customer data to Orb. By constructing historical invoices and matching them up to your existing system, you can confirm data fidelity and deploy with confidence.

In billing, every detail matters. It is important to capture the right data to ensure that you have everything needed to generate accurate invoices. If there is a system lag or downtime, you can report events to the Orb API up to 12 hours after the moment that the billable event took place – instead of worrying that the invoices might not reflect the usage correctly. This is especially important if the lag occurs close to the end of the billing cycle. Check out the demo below.

In order to make sure that the system stays up to date, Orb offers webhooks to enable needs like resource lifecycle changes and usage alerts. This powers use cases like entitlements setups in your services and usage threshold notifications.

3. Model sophisticated plans and metrics with future price changes in mind

Usage-based billing and pricing leverages different types of metrics to unlock more revenue, and Orb built the modeling capabilities for extensibility. From day 1, you can compose their own SQL query to run over raw events if they need different metrics from the ones out of the box.

This flexibility extends to computed properties, where you can apply SQL clauses to manipulate event properties dynamically. For instance, you can multiply a property by a constant factor or combine two properties. This means that Orb can accommodate and support sophisticated pricing model changes – and implement them quickly because they are executed over raw events instead of having to recalculate and reingest event data.

Once you compose the metrics, the Orb web interface provides a preview of computed properties. Orb will also keep your metric value automatically up to date throughout the billing cycle. Your team just needs to define it, and Orb executes it in the context of a customer and billing period. Check out the demo below.

When it comes to pricing, Orb supports seven pricing models out of the box that you can use to build pricing plans. Orb also supports custom pricing models to meet specific requirements if you have unique pricing models.

If you want to update pricing, Orb enables you to schedule plan changes instead of migrating customers manually. For example, you can add or delete new pricing for customers and control when the changes go live. Check out the timeline below for an example of how the change is visualized.

By integrating with the rest of the business and engineering tools quickly, enabling teams to easily set up the nitty-gritty details of usage-based billing, and anticipating future price change needs efficiently, Orb can help you ship billing faster.

If you’re ready to embark on a journey to ship billing fast, explore the sandbox or get in touch with us.

December 22, 2023
Best Practices

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