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πŸ’° Billing & Payments Knowledge Base for Cloud Providers
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README.md

πŸ’° Awesome Billing and Payments

In a Standford class on Cloud computing overview, the software stack is presented as such:

This knowledge base cover the far second far right perimeter of the cloud stack. It is one of the pillar of the cloud ecosystem, bridging the customers, the products and the business. The other pillar being Identity and Access Management (IAM).

Contents

Basics

Pricing

From monthly subscription to commodity-like on-the-go consumption, and including shopping-cart like funnel, there's plenty of scheme out there to structure your product's pricing.

  • Finding the max revenue price mark for digital products - TL;DR: to find the optimal price that provides maximum revenue for your product you will need to field-test several price points; you then reconstruct the revenue curve and find the peak..
  • Pricing Psychology - Which numbers should you use? How high should it be? Should it be rounded? This guide has 42 tricks to help you choose the best price.
  • Pricing niche products - The most compelling argument against simply picking a price, though, is that it limits how much you can learn about your market..
  • The cup-of-coffee pricing fallacy - Explains why it is a sloppy analogy.
  • Billing is not complex on purpose: it's the price to pay for elasticity. (source) - Or why you're likely to get an endless stream of complaning users if choosing utility pricing scheme: while accurate to the (milli-)cent, this model is frustrating for customers not ready to invest time grasping the underlaying concepts.
  • Reconcile Your Monthly GCP Invoice with BigQuery Billing Export - Behind the quest of this developer to track its expenses, you get a glimpse on cloud billing difficulties. While not explicitely pointed out, pricing cloud resources is hard and the result of quantization, granularity and rounding, between space, time and currencies.
  • Google Ads API: BillingCap enum - Capped actuals: monthly with rollover, an optimized pricing scheme to limit surprises from customers.
  • AWS EC2 T2 Instances Demystified: Don't Learn The Hard Way - An example of really tricky burstable instances which accrues and limits its own amount of CPU usage credits.

Product Catalog

The central repository of all available services, products, variants, options and pricing available to the customer to purchase.

Calculator

Cost Forecast

To provide visibility to customers on metered, utility-like billing pricing scheme, having a way to forecast costs is required.

Marketplace

A marketplace connect supply with demand that lead to a financial transaction. If there is no payment involved, then it is an aggregator, or a hub. Not a marketplace.

Cloud Resources

This sub-section focus on bid/ask mechanism matching resource producer with consumers. Most of the time these are one-sided markets with the big platform trying to amortized under-utilized inventory.

  • Incentive Engineering for Computational Resource Management - Paper exploring the mechanisms for the allocation of processor time and storage that are compatible both with programming practice and with market mechanisms..
  • Pricing of Service in Clouds: Optimal Response and Strategic Interactions - How should the consumer modulate its demand to optimize its profits? (...) How should the provider and consumer negotiate the specific pricing structure they will employ? Covers non-linear models, tiered pricing, elastic demand, consumer et provider strategies.
  • Usage Patterns and the Economics of the Public Cloud - We examine the economics of demand and supply in cloud computing. (...) These results explain why fixed prices currently prevail despite the seeming need for time-varying dynamics. Examining the actual CPU utilization provides a lens into the future. (...) demand fluctuations would be on par with the three classic industries where dynamic pricing is important (hotels, elec- tricity, airlines) and dynamic prices would be essential for efficiency..
  • Present or Future: Optimal Pricing for Spot Instances - Pricing policy of spot resources should be carefully designed and the impact on both present and future should be considered..
  • You always pay the spot market price, not your bid. (source) - Simple explanation of the bidding mechanism.
  • Deconstructing Amazon EC2 Spot Instance Pricing - Cloud providers possessing large quantities of spare capacity must either incentivize clients to purchase it or suffer losses. Amazon is the first cloud provider to address this challenge, by allowing clients to bid on spare capacity and by granting resources to bidders while their bids exceed a periodically changing spot price..
  • GCP Preemptible VMs vs AWS Spot Instances.
  • Look at the 3-month spot price history to estimate cost and to discover combinations of availability zone and instance type with extra capacity. (source) - TL;DR: users are seeking more transparency on the spot market.
  • The Eternal Cost Savings Of Netflix's Internal Spot Market - When you're big enough that creating an internal secondary market for instances makes economic sense.
  • AutoSpotting - Tool that easily and reliably converts (all) your existing AutoScaling groups to cheaper spot instances.

Online Ads

Targeted online advertisements maketplaces have a lot in common with traditional cloud marketplace. Some good inpiration there, from concepts to tech

Accounting

Credits / Coupons / Vouchers

Taxes

Invoice

The invoice materialize a consumed service or purchased product, wiating to be settled by a payment transaction.

Payments

Receipt

A receipt materialize the payment transaction.

Credit Cards

The most popular payment device.

Fraud

There's monetary incentives to exploit your business. Be prepared to fight hordes of fraudsters and shady users.

Credit Cards

The majority of fraud is exploiting the most common popular payment device: credit cards.

Trust Score

Synthetic scrore based on a collection of signals are often the best proxy of user's trustworthyness. Customer support most of the time rely on them to take action when these actions are not triggered automatticaly.

Statistics

Best tools to automate fraud detection.

Billing

UX/UI

Users gets easely angry when it comes to money. UX and UI might helps a lot to reduce frustration.

KPIs

As stakeholder of the billing pipeline, you sat on all the critical data to measure and report on the health of the business.

  • 16 Startup Metrics - The 2 critical metrics being Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) and Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).
  • You're all calculating churn rates wrong - Churn rate is not a meaningful metric, as during the customer lifetime the churn probability is not constant. Most of the time because of your free trial and vouchers.
  • Analyzing Churn Rates, Free Trials, and Other Metrics - I didn't know anything about how to determine pricing or structure plans. My background is software development β€” finding insights in the mixture of churn rates, free trials, and all these other metrics seemed like magic..
  • Churn Prediction - How to use Python in a simplistic way to fuel your company's growth by applying the predictive approach to all your actions.
  • RFM (customer value) - A way to segment users based on Recency, Frequency and Monetary value.

Competitive Analysis

A bunch of resources to keep track of the current status and progress of all companies operating in the domain.

History

Others

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