Four Main Types of Subscription Systems

It’s a good time to be in the market for a subscription billing system – whether you are a small or large company, technology or non-technology company, local or global company, or fixed or usage-based pricing company.

Among other things, this is due to billing systems getting better for the cloud and also becoming more usable, scalable and integrated with modern applications and infrastructure to name a few things.

As I see it, there are four main types of subscription billing systems:

  1. Horizontal billing systems
  2. Vertically-oriented billing systems
  3. Billing systems added to an accounting or payments system
  4. Broad-based billing / business management softwares

Any of these billing system types can be purchased from a third party or developed in-house. They can be implemented in the cloud as a SaaS-based service or as an on-premise software solution depending on the vendor and desired approach.

Ubersmith happened to start as type #2 inside of a hosting startup company and evolved to become type #4 also (adding quoting, provisioning, monitoring, ticketing and portal functionality over the years). All along, we have been able to serve as #1 as any type of company can offer simple or usage-based pricing with our solution.

In addition, we partner and/or integrate with companies that offer accounting or payments systems. Therefore, we have perhaps a unique perspective based on direct experience with all four main types of subscription systems.

The point of this blog post is not to say one approach is better than another as each type has proven to be successful. Further, there are multiple (or many) successful vendors within each type of system.

Do you agree with the four types I’ve provided? Have I missed any? Which type do you use? Are you happy with your current billing system type and vendor?

I’d love to hear any thoughts or questions in the comments below.

Kurt Daniel
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