The New Subscription Economy in the Cloud

Michael Vizard

The economy as we once knew it has become a digital entity. Whether it's downloading content in the form of a movie or game over the Internet, or a set of value-added services to enhance your automotive driving experience, businesses everywhere are morphing into providers of subscription services.

This is creating a significant challenge for IT organizations within these companies because building the systems needed to support these new business models is a significant undertaking. In addition, the business models themselves are pretty fluid, and there is no real predictability when it comes to managing processing requirements.

To address these issues, Aria Systems, which this week raised another $20 million in funding, has created a layer of subscription management services in the cloud that companies can leverage to better manage these new business processes. Based on technologies that were originally developed for the telecommunications industries, Aria Systems is now making these technologies available as a service for use in just about every vertical industry imaginable.

Aria Systems CEO Mike Morini says that as a Software-as-a-Service platform, Aria is specifically designed to integrate with the transaction processing systems most companies already have in place using a standard set of APIs. The service also includes a broad range of customer management tools, support for a variety of pre-packaged pricing plans and analytics tools to better understand how certain campaigns are working.

As Morini points out, the subscription economy is nascent. That means companies need access to services that will allow them to experiment with one model one day and something completely different tomorrow. That kind of flexibility can't be achieved by hardcoding a custom subscription service that is managed by the internal IT department. The Aria approach, by contrast, gives customers the benefit of economic scales by leveraging a shared service.

Clearly, the subscription economy and associated business models are rapidly evolving, and multiple platforms will become available to manage it. No one can say for certain where all this will take us. But if there is any one thing that is certain about uncertainty, it requires flexibility.

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