Real World Windows Azure: Interview with MetraTech CEO Scott Swartz on Metanga

MSDN: Tell us about your company and the solution that you have created.

Swartz: I started MetraTech in 1998 and Metanga is our new Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering. Metanga is a multi-tenant SaaS billing solution designed to help ISVs monetize today’s customer and partner relationships as they move to a SaaS model. We’ve always said that billing should fit a customer’s business model, not the other way around.  Our unique flexibility enables us to be easily integrated with other software components to create a complete solution.   Our MetraNet billing solution, available as on-premises software or as a managed service, enables customers to build innovative models across 90 countries, 26 currencies and 12 languages.

MSDN: What are the key benefits of using Windows Azure with Metanga?

Swartz: Billing is a mission critical application, so the fact that we can provide disaster recovery, scalability and the ability to respect data residency requirements make building natively on Windows Azure a no brainer. Multi-tenancy and the cloud also offers elasticity allowing us to support large and small clients alike without the inherent compromises we’d have to make in a traditional data center. Additionally, the Windows Azure platform offers incredible technology such as Windows Azure AppFabric caching and Windows Azure Storage that enables us to build a far better service for our clients.

MSDN: Could you give us an overview of the solution?

Swartz: Simply put, Metanga enables ISVs to make more money. Selling shrink-wrapped software and support has traditionally been a straightforward model. But the game is changing, and as ISVs deploy more of their solutions in the cloud, they are faced with new financial challenges. In order to provide a complete and positive online customer experience, the billing system needs to provide the financial information on the state of supporting agreements from all parties to the relationship portal(s). Customers expect to buy SaaS applications differently and managing metered charges, subscriptions, upgrades and downgrades, channel partners, commissions, notifications and entitlements are all part of a new model where the customer drives an ever-changing contractual agreement. ISVs could try to build all that as a part of their application, but’s it’s time consuming and costly. In turn, if they use manual billing methods they may lose 2-4% in revenue leakage. We offer a faster and simpler path for an ISV when it comes to cloud monetization.

MSDN: Is this solution available to the public right now?

Swartz: Yes, we just officially launched the application on Windows Azure; customers can enroll from our site and request a sandbox environment. Our team will give customers a walkthrough of the API and training documentation and then set them them try out the system. We’re available at any time to assist in the setup of products or prices, or if someone needs help.

Click here to learn more about Metanga and Windows Azure.


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