Just about anything and everything exists in ‘the cloud’ these days. According to Gartner’s recent report on Cloud Computing, the business transition to an “all-in cloud” strategy is on the rise and “by 2020, anything other than a cloud-only strategy for new IT initiatives will require justification at more than 30% of large-enterprise organizations.”

But most business applications claim to be cloud-based, and not all “clouds” are created equal. How do you tell the cloud billing vendors apart?

1. Elasticity

The best cloud billing platforms are natively architected to be elastic. An elastic architecture typically has a nominal amount of fixed capacity to handle the steady state load on the system, while incremental capacity can be added or removed on a pre-determined schedule or in response to load conditions on demand. This affords capacity at an industry leading cost structure by having minimal infrastructure costs during nominal loads and supporting bursting during high demand. Clients only pay for what they use, not for unused resources.

Cloud Does Not Equal Elastic: While a good cloud infrastructure can provide the tools needed for elasticity, it is critical to understand that not all cloud providers are elastic. Many of the leading cloud applications in the market today are not built with an elastic architecture that is designed to scale quickly and easily. For example, Salesforce® is perhaps one of the most well-known cloud business platform in the world. However, it is a prime example of a cloud solution that is currently NOT elastic. Not only are users locked into tiers based on pricing models, but the underlying infrastructure of the platform does not allow for agile scaling to accommodate burst processing or unexpected growth.

2. Configurable/Extensible

Inherently, cloud billing platforms should have ‘out-of-the-box’ configuration capabilities to handle 97% of the use cases for processing any combination of one-time, recurring and usage-based charges from quote through to revenue recognition. Continuous customization for basic and even sophisticated use cases is unacceptable. An extensible platform is one that future-proofs the business from changes in technologies, business models and pricing paradigms in the coming years.

As an example, we’ve recently spoken to a Fortune 1000 hardware and software company about the limitations of their legacy billing systems. They can’t easily launch new products and services because not only does it take months to customize the back-end systems for the slightest change, but costs hundreds of thousands of dollars in development and millions of dollars in lost opportunity. Today’s leading cloud billing providers prevent this sort of wasted time and money by ensuring their platform is configurable and extensible.

3. Technology Agnostic

The best-of-breed cloud billing platforms leverage other top of the line applications and an extensive ecosystem of expert services providers. API libraries, web hooks, intelligent workflow triggering systems and pre-integrated connectors provide vital communications between existing operational infrastructure platforms and newer, nimbler cloud-based processes.

Additionally, the leading cloud billing platforms are cloud-agnostic, working across all providers such as Amazon Web Services™, GE Predix™, IBM Bluemix™ and others to give clients geographic flexibility, proximity and provider preference in cloud vendors.

4. Modern Architecture: Microservices and Containers

Cloud billing platforms can be constrained by the underlying architecture—it’s why many of the very well-known software providers struggle with scale. True cloud billing platforms adopt modern application design paradigms and deployment options including microservices and containers. Companies including Amazon and Netflix developed this architectural approach to be as responsive as possible to customer needs while maintaining high levels of software quality, system availability and reliability. Cloud billing providers adopting this approach enable unprecedented agility and scale, critical to supporting digital business transformation.

Gotransverse—The Leading Provider

It’s important to know what to look for as you’re making mission critical infrastructure decisions that will last the test of time. Gotransverse’s cloud billing platform, TRACT®, is the only dynamic billing and agile monetization platform that stands-up to the scrutiny of technology giants like GE and IBM while satisfying the requirements of up-and-comers like Clickatell and SmartZip.

Contact us today to see how Gotransverse can bring intelligent billing to your smart business.

Learn how Current by GE is transforming its business with Gotransverse’s TRACT platform here.