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        Ventana Research Analyst Perspectives

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        The Subscription Management Value Index Classifies and Rates Vendors



        I am happy to share insights gleaned from our latest Value Index research, an assessment of how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements. The Ventana Research Value Index: Subscription Management is the distillation of a year of market and product research by Ventana Research. Drawing on our Benchmark Research, we apply a structured methodology built on evaluation categories that reflect the real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal to Office of Revenue vendors supporting the spectrum of subscription management. Using this methodology, we evaluated vendor submissions in seven categories: five relevant to the product experience ﹘ Adaptability, Capability, Manageability, Reliability and Usability ﹘ and two related to the customer experience ﹘ TCO/ROI and vendor Validation.

        This research-based index evaluates the full business and information technology value of subscription management software offerings. I encourage you to learn more about our Value VR_VI_Subscription Management_LogoIndex and its effectiveness as a vendor selection and RFI/RFP tool.

        This Value Index research evaluates the following vendors that offer products for Subscription Management platforms as we define it: Aria Systems, BillingPlatform, Chargebee, Cloudsense, Conga, FastSpring, FinancialForce, Gotransverse, LogiSense, Maxio, NetSuite, OneBill, Oracle, Ordway, Vindicia, Recurly, RecVue, Salesforce, SAP, Zoho and Zuora. Six of these 21 suppliers responded positively to our requests for information and provided completed questionnaires and demonstrations to aid our analysis of their subscription management products. Along with briefings and information where provided, all online material that was generally available was used for the analysis. This report includes products generally available as of 2023.

        The following vendors declined to actively participate or did not respond to our invitation: Aria Systems, Chargebee, CloudSense, FastSpring, LogiSense, Maxio, NetSuite, OneBill, Ordway, Recurly, RecVue, SAP, Vindicia and Zuora. We were unable to contact LogiSense, so they did not decline, nor did they actively participate. To organizations considering products from these vendors, we recommend extra scrutiny as part of the software assessment because they did not make their technology available for the Value Index evaluation process.

        Unlike many IT analyst firms that rank vendors from an IT-only perspective or focus on a specific type of subscription management, Ventana Research has designed the Value Index to provide a balanced perspective, rooted in an understanding of business drivers and needs. This approach not only reduces cost and time but also minimizes the risk of making a decision that is bad for the business.

        Using the Value Index will enable your organization to achieve the levels of efficiency and effectiveness needed to optimize subscription management.

        We urge organizations to do a thorough job of evaluating Subscription Management software offerings in this Value Index as both the results of our in-depth analysis of these vendors and as an evaluation methodology. The Value Index can be used to evaluate existing suppliers, plus provides evaluation criteria for new projects. Using it can shorten the cycle time for an RFP.

        The Value Index for Subscription Management in 2023 finds BillingPlatform first on the list, followed by Oracle and FinancialForce.

        Companies that rated in the top three of any category ﹘ including the product and customer experience dimensions ﹘ earn the designation Value Index Leader. The Value Index leaders in Product Experience are:

        • BillingPlatform.
        • Oracle.
        • FinancialForce.

        Leaders in Customer Experience are:

        • Conga.
        • Oracle.
        • BillingPlatform.

        Value Index Leaders across any of the seven categories are:

        BillingPlatform and Oracle, which have achieved this rating in five of the seven categories.

        • Conga, in four categories.
        • FinancialForce, in three categories.
        • Salesforce, in two categories.
        • SAP and Zuora, in one category each.

        The overall performance chart provides a visual representation of how vendors rate across product and customer experience. Vendors with products scoring higher in a weighted rating of the five product experience categories place farther to the right. The combination of ratings for the two customer experience categories determines their placement on the vertical axis. As a result, vendors that place closer to the upper-right are “exemplary” and rated higher than those closer to the lower-left and identified as vendors of “merit.” Vendors that excelled at customer experience over product experience have an “assurance” rating, and those excelling instead in product experience have an “innovative” rating.

        Ventana_Research_VI_Subscription_Management_2x2

        Note that close vendor scores should not be taken to imply that the packages evaluated are functionally identical or equally well-suited for use by every organization or process. Although there is a high degree of commonality in how organizations handle subscription management software, there are many idiosyncrasies and differences that can make one vendor’s offering a better fit than another.

        After more than a decade of technological advances, all the products we evaluated are feature-rich, but not all the capabilities they offer are equally valuable to users. Moreover, the existence of too many capabilities may be a negative factor for an organization if it introduces unnecessary complexity. Nonetheless, an organization may decide that a larger number of options is a plus, especially if some of them match its established practices or better support a new initiative that is driving the purchase of new software.

        Features, functions and vendor assessments are not the only deciding factors. For example, an organization may face budget constraints such that the TCO evaluation can tip the scale to one vendor or another. This is where the Value Index methodology and appropriate weighting can be applied to determine the best fit of vendors and products to an organization’s specific needs.

        Our firm has made every effort to encompass in this Value Index the overall product and customer experience from our Subscription Management blueprint, which we believe reflects what a well-crafted RFP should contain. Even so, there may be additional areas that affect which vendor and products best fit an organization’s particular requirements. Therefore, while this research is complete as it stands, utilizing it in your own organizational context is critical to ensure that products deliver the highest level of support for your projects.

        You can find more details on our site as well as in the Value Index Market Report.

        Regards,

        Stephen Hurrell 

        Authors:

        Stephen Hurrell
        Director of Research, Office of Revenue

        Stephen Hurrell leads the Office of Revenue software research and advisory expertise at Ventana Research, now part of ISG and guides leaders in the applications and technology for buying and selling products and services to maximize revenue. His topics of coverage include digital commerce, partner management, revenue management, sales engagement, revenue performance management and subscription management.

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