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3 tips for creating a scalable subscription business architecture
Business Strategy5 min read

3 tips for creating a scalable subscription business architecture

The mindset revolution

Differentiating subscription billing systems

When we speak to our customers and prospective customers one of the things that often comes up in conversation is the mindset evolution that goes with choosing the systems they work on. 

Day one, most tech professionals are laser focused on finding a system that can automate finance processes effectively, which is understandable. However, over time, as a company grows, it becomes clear that the billing mechanism needs to exist as part of a more connected ecosystem that considers the evolving user experience, if it's going to help a business to scale.

It's not that a system designed primarily for subscription billing will stop your business from growing at all, but without interconnecting capabilities such as customer self-service and the customer journey with seamless automation and a holistic overview, it can't proactively enable scalability.

Where the former will require you to come up with ways of making things work and checking that everything are accurate, a system that has that connectivity inbuilt simply lets you get on with taking the world by storm. 

In this article, we share our three top tips for creating a scalable subscription business architecture.

How your technology communicates with users, provides feedback,
and supports the evolution of your business is critical
for the scalability of the subscription ecosystem.

Reframe your thinking about billing

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Think about your billing system as a part of the entire customer journey rather than an isolated part of your business.

When most companies start thinking about implementing a subscription billing system they know there's a need for automation and they tend to zero in on the billing platform that's best known for automated invoice generation. 

That's understandable, but subscription businesses thrive on key capabilities such as customer self-service, changing subscription levels and customer-winning strategies such as discounts and differentiated pricing. The recurring nature of customer relationships in subscription businesses means that over time all those variations complicate the billing process. 

At scale, your team can't sign every customer up and check every invoice manually. If they do, it will be subject to the human interpretation of offer terms (which will be inconsistent) as well as human error. You could implement bespoke customizations, but again that's costly, time consuming, error prone and over time will result in an unwieldy system as the requirement list continues to grow.

For that reason, you need a rule-based business platform that automates end-to-end processes.

Choose a flexible engine 

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Often we find that customers come to us with a list of individual needs, looking for a system that checks as many boxes as possible. Again, this is not an unreasonable position to take. However, if you step outside that way of thinking, you once again start to see that the best system is the one with a holistic approach based on the entire user experience.

Individual capabilities can't operate in silos, they have to have relevance as part of a flexible engine that can adapt for individual use cases. That's the only way it can meet both the business and customer needs today and in the future, accounting for all the unknown entities you will encounter going forwards, from specific customer requirements to changing market conditions. 

keylight has always been a truly configuration-based and expressive subscription engine where there’s no need for custom-built solutions in key capabilities for the customer journey and scalability. The unified subscription logic, including rules and conditions, runs end-to-end from commerce, billing to accounting processes, meaning your requirements can safely grow and evolve with almost unlimited flexibility.

Look for modern technical foundations

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How your technology speaks to you, reports back to you and supports your business's evolution is game changing. 

For example, we know that in the modern world data is king, but all data is not created equal. You don't just want transaction information about your customers’ subscription activities, you want information to be contextualized so teams can understand the customer journey. Here's what you need:

arrow4Getting the information you need

To do that, you need technology that's created with understanding the user in mind (both customer and team member). At keylight, our API-first approach allows the front-end, user facing side of your subscription platform and the back-end system to talk to one another seamlessly. We use GraphQL API, which allows developers to ask for and get the exact information they need per data query in a structured way. An API-first approach makes the system easy to work with, enabling you to get what you need for your subscription requirements.

arrow4Putting data in context

Furthermore, as keylight collects dynamic, event-driven customer interactions instead of static transactions, your teams can see how customers interact with their subscription. That means users can understand the evolution of the business relationship with each customer for improved responsiveness, scalability, and agility instead of taking actions based on hypotheses.

arrow4An informed strategy

Thanks to the flexible engine, you can then use that data and context to do complex things in the back-end of the system as part of an informed strategy for growth. For example: orchestrating rules and collecting structured data to optimize functionality and personalize user experiences without interrupting or making the user experience itself complex. 

A world of new opportunities

A scalable subscription architecture for success

Having been in the market for more than eight years, keylight has evolved from system integrator to a powerful platform in its own right. In that time we have helped multiple companies to transform into scalable organizations that can easily grow with changing user requirements whilst offering exemplary customer experiences, and ultimately achieve commercial growth.