While automation can yield major benefits, finding the right tool to automate a complex business process can be daunting.
This is particularly true in the case of subscription and recurring revenue management, where you’ll find a dizzying number of solutions claiming to ease the management of subscription businesses.
Many customers discover too late that the system they chose fails to provide features and functions that are critical to their businesses.
Even in subscription management systems that are rated highly by analysts, you will find case after case of customers describing weak and missing features in their reviews of the systems.
All the problems cited below could have been avoided by deploying MaxQ’s Advanced Revenue Management (ARM) solution.
Lacking Core Competencies
The ability to change a subscription should be a core capability of a subscription management system. However, many customers describe the process of making changes to subscriptions in their systems as “cumbersome,” “complicated,”“very difficult,” and “very painful.”
You also should expect your subscription management system to provide comprehensive and flexible contract management. Yet you will find customers complaining that their systems have serious deficiencies in handling contracts.
For example, a customer reveals that the system his company deployed “has no functionality to manage contracts,” while another customer relates that his system “has limited functionality for typical accounting and contract management needs.”
Term Flexibility Lacking
A subscription management system should be flexible enough to handle a wide range of subscription terms and conditions, such as one-month and annual terms, as well as one-time purchases. Subscriptions with mixed terms should also be supported, such as a mix of monthly, quarterly, and yearly terms.
However, many customers find out the hard way that their subscription management system cannot handle the variable pricing, bundling, billing, and payment processes that today’s subscription businesses require.
For example, customers relate that:
- “The system requires a workaround for one-time payments.”
- “The system works well for monthly billing but not for itemized billing that can change month to month.”
- “The system only supports one default payment method per account. “We had to design our own payment method to enable customers to use different payment methods for different subscriptions.”
- “The system did not allow us to add a one-time purchase without making it an ongoing subscription with only one payment.”
- “We had to hack a way to manage our one-time products alongside our subscriptions.”
Offering discounts and promotions is a basic business practice for many companies. Yet many customers describe the inability of their subscription management solutions to support discounts and promotions.
For example, customers relate that:
- “Occasionally, we have an idea for a promotion that we are unable to implement with the provided coupons and cross-sell features.”
- “The system has a complete lack of any ability to provide a ‘the more you spend the greater the discount.’ ”
- “The system has limited capabilities in setting up different billing models, such as tiered discounting. Because the system does not allow us to bill in a custom way, it makes it difficult to create custom deals.” 
- “The system is suited for SaaS business models where the pricing is standard, and there are little to no discounts involved.”
- “The system does not provide a method for generating coupon or discount codes, or limiting the use of codes to certain products.” 
Custom Coding Required
Analysts use words like multitier, multi-attribute, and hierarchical to describe the broad range of subscription, contract, billing, and payment operations a robust subscription management system should be able to perform.
However, customers describe having to perform custom coding and workarounds for billing, payment, revenue recognition, currency conversion, and other operations because their system lacks these capabilities or can handle only a limited range of operations.
For example, a customer says his system does well “with basic billing operations” but requires custom coding “as scenarios grow a little more complex.”
Another customer says his system has “no flexibility for custom schedules” and requires “too many workarounds to get billing completed.”
Having to perform custom coding for these types of features and capabilities can add considerable risk, as well as complexity and cost.
Customers also describe problems associated with integrating their subscription management system with external repositories like data warehouses, CRM systems, and payment gateways like ACH (automated clearing house).
For example, one customer says that “the biggest struggle with my company today is linking the system to our ACH gateway,”while another customer says his company’s system “has no support for ACH payments.”
Mobile access is another key requirement in today’s market, yet a customer reports that his subscription management system provides no mobile access.
The Right Solution
All these problems could have been avoided had the customers deployed a solution like MaxQ ARM, which provides all the features they require as core components out of the box.
MaxQ ARM provides a host of advanced automation features that are either missing or require custom coding in other systems—such as automated proration, contract management, payment processing, and variable billing.
Unlike less sophisticated recurring billing systems that handle relatively simple sets of contracts, MaxQ ARM is especially suited to handling the complex billing and revenue management processes of software, SaaS, manufacturing, services, and other B2B businesses.
Built on the Acumatica platform, which analysts have recognized as the leading cloud-based ERP system today, MaxQ ARM extends Acumatica to provide a broad and rich subscription management solution. Customers who test drive MaxQ ARM and compare its capabilities with other recurring revenue management systems typically find MaxQ runs circles around them.
FOOTNOTEShttps://www.g2crowd.com/products/fastspring/reviews  https://www.g2crowd.com/products/fastspring/reviews  https://www.trustradius.com/products/zuora/reviews  https://www.trustradius.com/products/recurly/reviews  https://www.trustradius.com/products/recurly/reviews