Online Subscription Services—Opportunities for Any Business

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The online subscription services segment is hot, and almost any business can capitalize on the kind of recurring revenue stream online subscription services bring. Over the last few years, subscription-based services have become a bit of the rage, declared SF Fashion+Tech.

More than a rage, IDC forecasts the software-as-a-service (SaaS) subscription segment to increase revenues at 6X growth rate. Accenture estimates business process outsourcing (BPO), another subscription service segment, will top $300 billion in 2012. SaaS and BPO are just two segments of the online subscription services industry.

The rapid adoption of the Cloud-based commerce is making online subscription services a target opportunity for any company that wants to add a subscription services component to its revenue strategy. Driving the interest is the concept-to-cash model introduced by OneBill, a young SaaS company. Can you tap into this revenue stream?

The growth of subscription services revenue has been so strong that conventional businesses are looking at how they too can catch this wave by adding a subscription revenue component to their existing business strategy. Businesses ranging from healthcare to financial services are looking at it to capture incremental and new revenue.

Concept-to-cash expands on the traditional lead-to-cash model. It enables myriad innovative pricing and revenue opportunities, everything from pay-per-use to tiered recurring revenue programs to conditional offers that can be mixed and matched in a variety of ways to maximize revenue from each customer.

Subscription services are attractive for their ability to reduce the customer's cost by making it possible for them to subscribe to a service rather than buying outright. The lower recurring subscription cost makes the purchase more manageable. Customers that might not have been customers before can become customers now as subscribers to services delivered over the network. Subscription services become a way to reach new markets and completely different customers from the organization's traditional base.

The big obstacle to concept-to-cash subscription services revolves around the underlying subscription management platform. While the subscription services business has rapidly evolved, the underlying billing and management systems have lagged behind, forcing companies to settle for inadequate systems that have been cobbled together from bits and pieces of existing systems. What's missing is an integrated, comprehensive online subscription services management platform that integrates all the business components required to support a subscription services operation even as it continually evolves to offer new and different services.

To date, OneBill Software has emerged as the only unified and comprehensive integrated subscription commerce technology on the market. Built from the ground up as a unified cloud-based platform, it is designed to address the needs of all participants in the subscription service process from marketing, sales, operations, IT, finance, and channel partners.

A few others have started to introduce subscription services tools. One is Zuora, which describes itself subscription billing system. More are likely.

With a little creativity, a CFO can come up with ways for the business to generate recurring subscription revenues, including monetizing social media, which wiredFINANCE will take up in another piece. To fully capitalize on the concept-to-cash subscription concept, however, you will need a modern subscription commerce platform.

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