6 Reasons to avoid usage-based billing with Zuora

Sarah Goomar

Though popular, Zuora has its limitations. If you’re weighing out options before making a choice, you’ll want to know why

This blog post will explore why Zuora isn’t ideal for usage-based billing. We’ll also consider what actual users say about Zuora’s product offering. Before we dive into each reason, let’s explain what Zuora is. 

What is Zuora?

Zuora is a subscription management platform designed to help large businesses handle the ins and outs of recurring billing. This includes everything from setting up different pricing plans to processing payments. Tracking customer data is also something Zuora touts as a key feature.

Zuora aims to cater to businesses with various subscription needs. However, its primary focus is on larger enterprises with intricate billing structures.

Think of Zuora as a tool that helps companies manage the financial side of their subscription services. 

It's particularly well-suited for those with complex billing requirements. These could be usage-based pricing or tiered plans (or hybrid plans). Yet, with its extensive features comes a certain level of complexity that might not be suitable for every business.

Zuora isn’t exactly ideal for usage-based billing. In the next section, we’ll explore a couple of reasons for this. 

Reasons to avoid usage-based billing with Zuora

While Zuora is a powerful subscription management platform, it isn’t the best fit for every business.

Despite its robust features, certain drawbacks could hinder your experience. Here are six reasons to consider an alternative solution:

1. Steep learning curve and overwhelming complexity

Zuora's extensive features come with a tradeoff — a steep learning curve and a complex interface. Many users find it challenging to set up and manage, especially when dealing with the intricacies of usage-based billing. 

One reviewer noted, "It was a constant challenge to have our internal teams work to make sure everything was set up correctly with Zuora."

Orb advantage: Orb solves this problem with an intuitive web app and UI designed for both technical and non-technical users. Orb's focus on user experience makes it easier to manage usage-based billing, saving valuable time and resources.

2. Unreliable in complex scenarios

Zuora can struggle when faced with intricate billing situations. This is especially true for real-time usage calculations or unusual billing logic. 

A reviewer mentioned experiencing server downtime and issues with inflexible upgrades. They stated: "Sometimes, the server would be down, and upgrades are not flexible for changing builds while integrating across platforms.”

Orb advantage: Orb’s architecture prioritizes reliability, scale, and security. Orb is purpose-built for usage-based billing. It can handle high-volume usage events and complex billing scenarios with ease. The result? A frictionless experience for both your teams and customers.

3. Limited reporting and data analysis

While Zuora collects data, users often find its reporting capabilities cumbersome. They also think it's lacking the granularity needed for in-depth analysis. 

One user expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of "useful built-in AR reporting." The dissatisfaction was such that it forced them to create their solution.

Orb advantage: Orb provides granular reporting all the way down to individual revenue activity. This includes automatic report generation and integration with popular tools like Salesforce and Netsuite. This empowers your finance team with data they can trust and use to improve your financial strategy.

4. High cost and questionable value

Many users find Zuora's pricing expensive, especially considering its limitations in certain areas. 

One reviewer mentioned that Zuora was "pretty pricey, and the teams we worked with were scattered/unable to help often." This raises concerns about whether the perceived value justifies the cost.

Orb advantage: Orb's custom pricing focuses on financial flexibility and control, which translates into better value. Plus, Orb offers a free hands-on demo for users who want to try it out for themselves.

5. Inferior support for complex use cases

Zuora's customer support, while generally responsive, may not be enough for businesses with complex use cases. 

Reviewers have reported difficulties when dealing with intricate billing scenarios. They specifically highlight a potential gap in support for those needing tailored assistance.

Orb advantage: Orb offers better support for businesses that need help with complex scenarios but lack specialized talent. Its design is friendly to developers and employees who aren’t tech experts. 

6. Lack of flexibility that hurts customer relationships

Users have expressed frustration with Zuora's inflexibility. Especially when dealing with non-standard subscription scenarios or changes. 

One user noted, "Zuora is damaging the relationship between our customers with its inflexibility." This lack of adaptability can hinder businesses from trying to accommodate unique customer needs, not to mention the issues it might bring with trying to evolve their pricing.

Orb advantage: Orb allows you to adapt your pricing on the fly, allowing you to meet your customers' needs and preferences without causing friction.

In conclusion, Zuora’s usage-based billing systems can lead to many problems that can be avoided by switching to a better solution. 

Usage-based billing with Orb

Orb is a powerful billing solution designed to make usage-based billing effortless and reliable. It lets businesses focus on their core service while providing accurate and transparent billing.

Here’s how Orb solves usage-based billing for you:

  • End billing errors: Orb's metering infrastructure provides a single source of truth for usage data. You're creating accurate invoices every time. Orb sits directly on top of data warehouses (like Snowflake and Redshift). 
  • Adjust pricing easily: With Orb, you can try out volume discounts, dimensional pricing, and prepaid credits. The goal? Help you find the optimal pricing strategy for your business.
  • Gain actionable insights: Orb connects product usage data with billing. This allows you to monitor customer behavior and make decisions on cold hard data.
  • Empower finance teams: Give your finance team a single source of truth for revenue data. Get granular details down to every revenue activity.
  • Tailored billing: Use Orb's intuitive interface and custom SQL editor to define your own usage metrics and pricing models.

Learn how Orb can help you set up an effective usage-based billing strategy.

June 27, 2024
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