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Zuora review

Call on Zuora software to handle your subscription-based business

Zuora
(Image: © Zuora)

Our Verdict

The versatile nature of Zuora will make it very appealing to businesses that need to speedily adapt to changing subscription-based markets.

For

  • Very scalable
  • Innovative feel
  • Secure

Against

  • No clear indication on cost
  • Quite complex

TechRadar Verdict

The versatile nature of Zuora will make it very appealing to businesses that need to speedily adapt to changing subscription-based markets.

Pros

  • + Very scalable
  • + Innovative feel
  • + Secure

Cons

  • - No clear indication on cost
  • - Quite complex

Zuora is another one of numerous cloud-based software options for businesses looking to carry out subscription management tasks. Headquartered in California, Zuora can provide your business with a solution if you're looking to handle subscription-based services via a neat Central Platform base. This is supplemented by a series of apps, that can be added as they are needed. It gets the job done by helping to automate many of the processes including recurring billing, collecting payments and keeping tabs on subscription metrics.

Created back in 2007 Zuora has developed its products to help companies that are moving towards delivering services, instead of products using automation as one of the main driving forces behind the operation. Zuora has also become a useful option for companies that want to update or replace an existing billing and subscription model, with plenty of new features and functions that will help them adapt to the changing world of business.

Zuora

You can get started with the system by making use of the Zuora Central Platform (Image credit: Zuora)

Pricing

With Zuora having been designed to be an almost modular in style software solution there doesn't appear to be an off-the-shelf product to buy as such. In order to get an idea of pricing you’ll need to talk to the Zuora sales team, who can advise which bits of the package will be best suited to your type of business. The same goes for the app marketplace, which carries lots of add-ons for Zuora, with no indication of pricing available in there either.

Zuora

You can navigate to most core areas in Zuora by using the Dashboard (Image credit: Zuora)

Features

Zuora has been developed to offer what it says is a suite of applications, allowing companies to price, package, bill, collect and recognize revenue for subscriptions. 

That’s a great starting point obviously, but with every business having different requirements Zuora has also created its Central Platform concept, which allows users to customize their system and produce automated processes that are specific to their needs. Zuora can therefore be extended in order to handle pretty much any additional requirement for a subscription-based business. 

The core suite of Zuora tools is a great starting point as it includes Zuora Billing, which lets you automate recurring invoices, apply real-time taxation and more. There’s also Zuora Revenue, which helps with the management of finances, Zuora CPQ for configuring and management of subscription lifecycles along with Zuora Collect that helps tackle the dunning issue amongst other things. 

You can now also make use of Zuora Analytics, which give pinpoint metrics on all aspects of your subscription-based operations. Meanwhile, inside the Zuora App Store you can select options that will enable you to expand the power of the service. You can pick apps that cover a wide range of areas, including billing, payments, finance, commerce and more. 

The obvious benefit of being able to extend Zuora in this way is that it allows you to tailor the service to work in harmony with your specific business. Plus, you’re not going to be paying for things you might not ever use.

Zuora

Zuora is powerful but it does require some time to master properly (Image credit: Zuora)

Performance

There’s no doubt that Zuora is a powerful tool that can tackle anything and everything related to subscription management, plus all of the other component parts that come with it. Therefore, the service has been engineered to handle mountains of data, which it seems to do with aplomb. 

The downside of something so powerful is that it can be tricky to maximize the performance. While the software is great for billing and payments, the implementation needs to be done right initially in order to get the best performance. While some users report that Zuora can be heavy going that seems to be more about the sheer level of features than the way it actually performs those tasks.

Zuora

There are six main areas that you can use to manage core tasks in Zuora (Image credit: Zuora)

Ease of use

Considering just how potent Zuora can be it’s actually surprisingly straightforward to navigate initially, although gets more complex as you delve deeper into its workings. All of your operations can be tackled via the Zuora Central area, which has access to customers, insights, products, billing, payments, finance and reporting sections. You can also dip into analytics from here, which keeps things nice and straightforward. 

Having one main hub for handling everything means that you can quickly control every aspect of customer accounts, keep tabs on orders, manage invoicing and view or update payments. It’s also just as easy to get access to reports within the hub, as well as gaining access to the app area, or Zuora Marketplace as it’s referred to.

Zuora

Zuora can be expanded with a collection of apps for an additional cost (Image credit: Zuora)

Support

You’ll find that Zuora comes with an equally impressive suite of support options. There’s a Community for starters, along with training, documentation and announcement sections all nestling within the support center too.

Zuora

Support comes in a variety of options including community and knowledge base areas (Image credit: Zuora)

It’s also possible to keep tabs on release notes, maintenance and system status inside the support hub. Subscribers to the Zuora system can also raise a ticket with support staff once they're logged in.

Final verdict

Zuora offers a neat take on the subscription management software business by providing a great one-stop facility that can help businesses benefit in several core ways. Efficiency, scalability and plenty of options for expanding its capabilities via a selection of add-on apps make it a really practical solution. 

Generally then, Zuora is great for allowing companies to get to market rapidly, while enabling them to create services that can be quickly tailored to customer needs. It’s also been nicely engineered to minimize disruption while the system is rolled out, which will be particularly useful for any businesses moving from an older, outdated operation. 

While there’s no easy way to find out how much it’ll all cost you, save for a call to the Zuora sales team, what the system promises does suggest it’ll help cut down on administration time. That in itself should see your business make savings and, hopefully, help to justify the sign-up costs.

Other business software options worth looking at include Sage Business Cloud Accounting, QuickBooks, Xero, FreshBooks, Freeagent, GoSimpleTax, TaxCalc, Nomisma, ABC Self-Assessment or Crunch.

Rob Clymo

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.