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Subscriptions

← Billing Automation

Generally, subscriptions serve business models in which customers pay for using a product or service at regular intervals.

JustOn supports these business models using specific subscription records that represent the periodic billing plans for a contracted product use.

Setting Up Subscription Management Options
Managing Subscriptions

Understanding Subscriptions

Businesses love recurring sales, so they offer business models in which customers must pay at regular intervals. These models usually base on contracts that allow the periodic use or access to a product or service and have customers pay a recurring price – examples include media publishers, phone companies, internet providers, software manufacturers.

Enter subscriptions: vendors use them to combine the contracted conditions – products, prices, terms, renewals, etc. In this sense, subscriptions make up the billing plans for contracts.

As a result, businesses benefit from a predictable, constant revenue for the duration of their subscribers' contracts.

Subscriptions in JustOn

JustOn implements subscriptions using a dedicated object that represents the periodic billing plan for a contracted product use. See the subscription as a "blueprint" for the future invoice: It combines the account information (buyer name, address, etc.) with the details of the products to be charged, like product name and description, price, price model, applicable discounts, etc.

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Creating invoices from subscriptions

Technically, a subscription is a trigger for an account to be considered in an invoice run – that is, each account for which you want to automatically create invoices is to be assigned a subscription. The invoice run will create one invoice for each active subscription.

In the context of subscriptions, you manage the items (your products and services) that will figure as invoice line items on the created invoices, as well as the applicable pricing models – including price tiers, automatic price increases, and installments.

For details, see

Automatic Subscription Build
Subscription Items
Item Pricing
Price Models
Price Tiers
Subscription Price Increases
Installments

Find other important subscription concepts explained below.

Start Date and End Date

The start date and end date generally define the subscription's validity period.

In order to be considered by the invoice run, the subscription period must – at least partially – match the invoice run period. This also applies to the start and end dates of the subscription items as well as to the transaction date.

If there is no start date set, JustOn includes the subscription in the next invoice run.

The subscription start date or end date do not affect the subscription status. See the status as an additional, independent "switch" to make a subscription subject to the invoice run.

How do subscription period, item period and invoice (run) period map?

You can define subscription start and end dates, start and end dates for subscription items, as well as start and end dates for invoice runs. So how do these dates play together? Which date decides whether an item is invoiced or not?

General
The basic rule is: an item is subject to invoicing if its period is – at least partially – within the subscription period and the invoice run period (and if it is not yet invoiced, of course).
That is:
  • An item start date may be before the subscription start date or before the invoice run start date – as long as its end date is within the subscription period and the invoice run period, it is going to be invoiced.
  • An item end date may be after the subscription end date or after the invoice run end date – as long as its start date is within the subscription period and the invoice run period, it is going to be invoiced, too.
  • If both start date and end date of the item are outside the subscription period or the invoice run period, the item will not be invoiced.
Recurring
For recurring items, in addition, the billing period and the billing unit specify the interval after which an item is considered in the subsequent invoice run. Based on this data, JustOn determines
  • the billing factor, which is to be applied to the resulting invoice line item – as a multiplier for the specified price, and
  • the start date of the next service period – the (earliest) date on which the recurring item is invoiced again.

Remember that the billing types Recurring Prorated and Recurring Prorated AVG support the partial calculation of months defined as the billing period – according to the actual number of days.

period_map
Subscription, item and invoice period mapping

Status

Unless otherwise defined upon creation, new subscriptions have the status Draft. To be considered in an invoice run, they must be set Active.

You can use the status Inactive to (temporarily) exclude a subscription from the invoice run. This may be helpful, for example, if a customer is momentarily short of cash and wishes to pause a subscription without canceling it.

The subscription start date or end date do not affect the subscription status. See the status as an additional, independent "switch" to make a subscription subject to the invoice run.

Activating Subscriptions
Configuring Active Subscription Status

Cloning

Cloning a subscription creates a copy of the current subscription, including the attached items. In addition, the following information is set by default:

  • the subscription name Autogenerate,
  • the status Draft,
  • the account, invoice template, contact data etc. as copied from the original subscription.

Upon cloning, you can modify this data as required.

Cloning a Subscription

Subscription Filter

To limit the scope of subscriptions that are subject to an invoice run, you create one or more subscription filters.

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As opposed to other filters, subscription filters are presented as radio buttons. If there is one subscription filter, it is always selected. If there are multiple subscription filters, users are prompted to select one of them for the invoice run.

If you need a filter for one specific use case, we recommend to create two, however – one that limits the set of subscriptions as required, and another one that returns all subscriptions. This allows for still choosing between all subscriptions and the filtered subset.

With respect to subscription filters, be aware of the following specifics:

  • For subscription filters, the field Use Case is empty.
  • If there is no subscription filter, JustOn considers all active subscriptions with active items whose start date is within the invoice run period for the invoice generation.
  • If there is one subscription filter, it is always applied in the invoice run.
  • If there are multiple subscription filters, you are prompted to select one of them for the invoice run.

    If you need a filter for one specific use case, we recommend to create two, however – one that limits the set of subscriptions as required, and another one that returns all subscriptions. This allows for still choosing between all subscriptions and the filtered subset.

  • If there are filter groups, you can select a filter group to preselect relevant filters, narrowing down the number of available filters.

Configuring Subscription Filter

Auto-Renewal

Generally, subscriptions represent contracts. As contracts usually apply for a certain period of time, may involve automatic renewal and define cancellation terms, JustOn allows for applying these criteria to subscriptions.

Auto-Renewal Concepts

You can configure a subscription that has an end date to be extended before it expires. If you enable the automatic subscription renewal, JustOn schedules a job that will run daily and extend all auto-renewal subscriptions when the corresponding date is reached.

The following settings control the automatic subscription renewal:

Field Description
Auto-Renewal Defines the number of days or months (like 30d or 12m) to extend the subscription, setting up the subscription for automatic renewal.
You can modify the picklist values (always using the pattern x(d|m)) according to your requirements, see Modifying Picklist Values.
Cancellation Terms Defines the cancellation period in days or months for a subscription. If empty, a value of 0 is taken by default.
Renewal Date Specifies the next renewal date. If the subscription is set up for automatic renewal, the date is automatically calculated like:
End Date - Cancellation Terms + Grace Period.
If the subscription has no end date, the field is empty.

The grace period is controlled via the corresponding global setting. Click to enter Setup, then open Custom Settings > Global Settings > Manage > Edit, and set a value for Grace Period. If left empty, 0 is used by default.

For the automatic subscription renewal to run, the following conditions must be met:

  • Subscription is set Active.
  • End Date is set.
  • Auto-Renewal is set.
  • Renewal Date is set and less or equal to the current date.
Item behavior on subscription renewal

Generally, the subscription renewal does not affect item date settings.

Items without end date
Items without end date will be invoiced in accordance with the (renewed) subscription period and the specified invoice period.
Items with end date
Items with an end date set will be invoiced up until their end date. The subscription renewal will not extend the item's activity period.
This means: JustOn invoices an item as long as a (renewed) subscription period and an invoice period cover the item's activity period. Once an item's end date has passed, however, the item will no longer be subject to invoicing – irrespective of its parent subscription's (renewed) period settings.

For details, see How do subscription period, item period and invoice (run) period map?

Configuring Subscription Auto-Renewal

Item Merge on Renewal

Optionally, the renewal process will merge items where suitable. Think, for example, of the following scenario: You sell licenses, and a customer orders additional licenses of the same kind. In this case, you want the quantity of the resulting invoice line item for licenses to increase instead of adding a new invoice line item for identical licenses.

Technically, the merge operation terminates the merged items, setting an end date, and creates a new item. It determines the End Date of the merged items like Next Service Period Start - 1 day, and sets the Deactivation Reason field to Merged.

Upon creating the new item, the merge operation derives the Start Date from the merged items' Next Service Period Start. To set the Quantity value, it totals up the individual quantities of the merged, terminated items.

The following conditions must be met for merging:

  • The two items must have identical OrderNo values and the billing type Recurring.
  • The existing item must be active.
  • The Next Service Period Start date is after the Start Date and before the End Date.
  • The following item properties must also be identical:
    • Next Service Period Start
    • End Date
    • Price
    • Billing Period
    • Billing Unit

Enabling Item Merge

Subscription Update

Certain business cases require automatically updating existing subscription fields or subscription item fields after the subscription has been built (applying one of the subscription builder use cases). This may be necessary, for example, after the value of a source object field has changed.

The automatic subscription update depends on the checkbox ON_UpdateSubscription on the source object. It controls whether the already generated subscription – linked by ON_Subscription on the source record – is to be updated. In addition, you define the fields to be updated – either using a list of fields in ON_FieldsToUpdate or using a data mapping.

Once set up, selecting the checkbox ON_UpdateSubscription triggers the automatic subscription update. The subscription builder "simulates" the use case NEW and copies the fields selected to be updated. After completing the update, the subscription builder deselects the checkbox ON_UpdateSubscription and sets a date in ON_LastSubscriptionUpdate.

Enabling Subscription and Subscription Items Update

Cancellation

Canceling a subscription clears the renewal date and updates the end date if

  • the old end date is empty – the new end date will be

    Cancellation Date + Cancellation Terms

  • the cancellation date is after or equal to the renewal date – the new end date will be

    old End Date + Auto Renewal

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JustOn continues to process canceled subscriptions in the invoice run until their end date is reached. Canceled subscriptions without end date, however, are ignored.

Canceling a Subscription