ChartMogul, the market leader in Subscription Analytics, is excited to unveil the world’s first Subscription Data Platform, available to all new and existing customers. We believe this reflects a new trend in the development of the subscription economy.
Subscription business models are increasingly popular. They offer consumers a choice. They can opt for products and services on demand, upgrading or canceling with a few clicks. Administering subscription plans and pricing presented new challenges for businesses. Building subscription billing in-house created frustration because subscription billing is complicated and time-intensive.
Dedicated subscription billing providers like Zuora, Recurly, and Stripe sprung up to satisfy the market’s needs. With these products, businesses can quickly experiment with monthly or annual plans without the hassle of processing payments or managing renewals. Startups launching today and established businesses shifting to subscription business models overwhelmingly choose to buy a subscription billing platform instead of building and maintaining in-house.
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Still, every subscription business is unique in its own way — pricing and plans, payment terms, the systems they use, the discount structures, and edge-case billing scenarios.
Subscription businesses face unique challenges when it comes to analyzing and using their revenue data. We believe that the next major product category for the subscription economy is focused on solving this problem.
What is a Subscription Data Platform?
For the past 5 years, ChartMogul has been the market leader in Subscription Analytics — our subscription analytics solution is used by thousands of businesses around the world. It works by connecting to a billing system like Stripe, PayPal, Apple’s App Store, Google Play, and custom billing sources via open APIs.
ChartMogul then calculates metrics like MRR, churn, and LTV and renders those metrics in a beautiful and intuitive dashboard. Our customers analyze these metrics, often with additional filters, in order to understand the dynamics of their business and to take appropriate action.
Calculating and analyzing metrics isn’t the only challenge for subscription businesses. The ingestion, cleaning, and management of the underlying data from different primary sources requires a thoughtful solution so that revenue metrics, like MRR, are reliable and trustworthy.
Subscription businesses today generate subscription data in many places. For example, they might use Stripe, PayPal, or Recurly for browser-based subscriptions; App Store Connect and Google Play for mobile app subscriptions; and additionally have other subscriptions managed offline in Excel or Quickbooks.
Even a modern B2B SaaS startup rarely has 100% of their billing data in a single system. Those that do sooner or later run into the problem of having messy data in those systems (e.g. a special one-off set up for a big customer, or corrective charge or refund issued to undo a mistake). Due to how subscription billing systems are architected, it isn’t possible to undo or edit historic data. This means that the data in these systems very quickly becomes unusable for accurate reporting and analytics without some level of data cleaning.
Over the years we’ve introduced several features designed to help with this process, the ability to connect subscription objects, so if a customer moves from paying with one system to paying with another we don’t see a churn followed by a reactivation, but rather a continuous subscription relationship. Or the ability to correct MRR values where it’s impossible to automatically calculate the correct values due to messy billing data.
These features were just the beginning. Around a year ago, after talking to hundreds of customers, we realized that underlying subscription data needed to be a core focus of our business.
So for much of the past year, we’ve been building out what we call the ChartMogul Subscription Data Platform. This is a whole suite of powerful new functionality designed to make it easy to sync all your subscription data into one place, normalize and clean it, so accurate reporting and reliable decision making can take place.
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This is just the beginning
We believe a Subscription Data Platform will become an essential part of every growing subscription business’s tech stack. Data teams can quickly gather all their subscription billing and payment data into a single system, clean it, and send it to where it’s needed. This might be to a CRM like Salesforce.com or a data warehouse powered by Amazon Redshift where it can be combined with other datasets for further analysis, or simply be accessed via ChartMogul’s Subscription Analytics or Revenue Recognition products.
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