- Find a robust and flexible billing solution to support company growth
- Implement a dynamic balance that could be recharged automatically
- Develop a system of phone rates/tables for a new line of business
- jBilling 3
- Implemented a fully automated, scalable, and flexible billing system
- Provided a customizable plug-in architecture to develop a new line of business
- Improved business standards while still allowing for custom billing situations
Sococo Supports Growing and Complex Business Models with jBilling
Founded in 2007, Sococo is a technology company that provides communications for IP-connected devices. Sococo’s communication solutions break down barriers by creating a real-time communication environment that enables distributed teams to connect. Sococo’s flagship product, Team Space, is a virtual work environment that enables teams to solve problems quickly, efficiently, and cost effectively. Sococo is a privately held company that is based out of Mountain View, California.
In 2009, as Sococo began to rapidly grow and evolve, it discovered its manual billing process could no longer keep up. The company wanted to implement a new service for phone lines, which would significantly increase the intricacy of its billing and would make a manual system unworkable.
“jBilling was one of the few systems that fit with our unique requirements.”
“Any billing ecosystem is fairly complex. There are payment processes and gateways, subscription billing systems, and servers that can be on your side or hosted, and so on,” says Joshua Moyers, Vice President of Engineering at Sococo. “We needed an automated solution that could handle all those components, plus dynamic balance, and the ability to store and operate on custom phone rate tables based on the providers we connect with."
With these key criteria in mind, the Sococo team began to search for a solution that would meet their company’s needs.
As Sococo explored its options, it quickly became evident that most of the existing billing software could not handle a dynamic balance or deal with phone rate tables. “Those components are custom software that you have to build most of the time,” says Moyers. “If you’re going to use a payment processor like Braintree, which is what we use, they provide very rudimentary APIs for dealing with subscriptions. The problem is that these subscriptions are typically on a per month or a per year basis. No one really lets you charge per minute and have a customer balance per customer.”
When Sococo found jBilling, the team decided almost immediately that it was the system they had been looking for. “When we started to implement our legacy phone system connection, we knew that jBilling would be the right solution for us,” says Moyers. “We had a situation where we needed to connect to the phone networks as well as have a rechargeable dynamic balance. jBilling could handle these requirements where other billing systems couldn’t. The system also enabled us to easily cover costs and make it simple for the end user.”
“One of the reasons why jBilling we found jBilling appealing is because it is open source and written in Java. It gave us control over our billing solution.”
Sococo also appreciated the fact that jBilling is a highly customizable system. “I value that we can get access to and write plug-ins for jBilling,” says Moyers. “It’s very customizable. Plus it has a large, valuable code base that we can hook into. There’s a nice chain of command style plug-in system that allows us to handle events in a custom way and turn features off and on.”
During implementation, the Sococo team enjoyed working with the jBilling team to ensure that the system would meet their needs. “The jBilling team was always very accommodating,” says Moyers. “They are experts who can immediately point to the right API calls that we are looking for, or the right event type, or a particular detail of the event system. In fact, that’s one of the main reasons we’ve continued our contracts. It’s extremely helpful to have direct access to those who know the intimate details of the system.”
Since implementing jBilling, Sococo has been able to efficiently automate billing, technology that has been particularly useful for recurring services. “All recurring billing is done through jBilling,” says Moyer. “We have a per user, per month model in some cases, and a per user, per space model in others.”
Moyers also points to the dynamic balance and plug-in architecture as crucial benefits of the new billing system. “jBilling has enabled us to have area codes that get routed to an area, and country codes that get routed to a specific per minute price. These items are then charged against a dynamic balance for a customer when they’re initiating a phone call,” he says. “We also utilize the plug-in architecture and built-in jBilling functionality to tell us whether or not the customer’s balance is getting low. This has given us the ability to recharge a dynamic balance on the fly when phone calls are in progress or ask them to recharge if their balance is too low.”
“An added benefit was that jBilling provided telecommunications features we needed right out of the box.”
Overall, jBilling has given Sococo the flexibility it needs in a billing system, a benefit that extends to both its staff as well as customers. “jBilling gave us the ability to use a back-end portal, which allows our customer service and account management team to enter custom orders and other information for customers as needed,” Moyers says. “During our trial process, we also grant people credit for phone services. If it’s a particularly large customer, then jBilling allows us to give them currency without charging. It’s nice to have the flexibility to use jBilling in a variety of ways to help us successfully bill our customers.”