Suppose you run a SaaS company that provides cloud storage and file cleanup services for corrupted graphics files. You want to charge your customers in US dollars on a monthly basis using the following usage pricing metrics:
By cumulative volume of corrupted files submitted for storage and cleanup in the month measured in gigabytes, irrespective of how long they remain stored in any given month and irrespective of whether they ever are retrieved. Charge rate is $0.15 per GB for the first 500GB; $0.10 per GB thereafter.
By count of the number of corrupted files submitted for storage and cleanup in the month, charged at $0.50 per file.
By an add-on amount each month based on average clean up processing time required per submitted file in any given month: charged at $12 for up to 4 seconds average processing per file; $25 for up to 6 seconds average processing per file; $50 for anything above 6 seconds average processing per file.
In addition to any usage, you want to apply a monthly standing charge of $20.
This topic provides a worked example and steps you through the setup required to implement this SaaS UBP model. It goes on to show you how to submit some test data against a test Account and then generate a Bill for that Account and check billing amounts against submitted usage.
Tip: New to m3ter? If you are new to m3ter, this worked example step-through topic assumes no prior knowledge of working with the m3ter. This example is intended to give you a quick start experience of m3ter, demonstrating how easily you can set things up to implement usage-based pricing for your products and services. You can also see how to ingest some test usage data into the m3ter system and generate sample Bills to check your UBP implementation before deploying it to your live production environment.
Products represent a product or service that you offer to your end customers. A Meter, Aggregation, Plan Template, Plan, or Pricing typically all belong to a Product.
To create a Product:
1. In the Console, select Products. The Products page opens.
2. Select Create Product. We'll create a single Product called Revive Graph Standard:
3. Select Create.
The Revive Graph Standard Product can now serve as a container for any Meters, Aggregations, Pricing, Plans, and Plan Templates we'll need for the example.
More Details: Creating and Managing Products
Meters define the data fields that your system will submit to the m3ter platform as usage data:
As well as simple data fields, which collect raw usage data, you can define derived fields that reference and apply calculations to simple fields. For the example, we'll create three data fields and a single derived field to meet the pricing requirements.
You can create Product-specific Meters or Global Meters. For the example, we'll create a single Meter for our example Product.
To create a Meter:
1. Select Usage>Meters. The Meters page opens.
2. In the Product drop-down, select Revive Graph Standard.
3. Select Create Meter.
Here's the Metering set up to support the pricing model we want to use in the example:
For the example, we've created the Store N Clean Meter and added the following fields to capture usage data:
Three Data Fields of type Measure:
GigaByte Store to collect quantitative data on the file storage volume in Gigabytes.
Graphic File Submits to collect quantitative data on the number of files submitted.
Process Time collect quantitative data on the total processing time required to clean files in seconds.
One Derived Field of type Measure:
Processing Average to reference two of the Data Fields and apply a calculation to derive the average processing required per file.
4. Select Create.
We now have a single Meter for the example, which we can use to collect usage data on any Account that consumes the Revive Graph Standard Product. This metered usage data will serve as the basis for the pricing metrics we want to apply to rate Product consumption.
More Details: Reviewing Meter Options and Creating Meters
Aggregations define how to transform into a single number the individual measurements submitted to a Meter Data Field as usage data. For example, you may choose to simply SUM the submitted usage data values. In this way, Aggregations define the usage-based pricing metrics you'll use to set up pricing for your products and services.
For the usage-based pricing model we want to implement in our example, we'll need to create three Aggregations based on the usage data collected by our Store N Clean Meter. Each Aggregation will target a different Meter field to define a pricing metric:
For cumulative volume of graphic files submitted for storage and cleanup, we'll target the GigaByte Store Data Field.
For number of files submitted for storage and cleanup, we'll target the Graphic File Submits Data Field.
For average clean up processing time, we'll target the Processing Average Derived Field.
To create an Aggregation:
1. Select Usage>Aggregations. The Aggregations page opens.
2. In the Product drop-down, select Revive Graph Standard.
3. Select Create Aggregation.
Here's the setup for the first Aggregation:
The Gigabyte Store Aggregation gives us our first pricing metric by:
Targeting the Gigabyte Store field on the Store N Clean Meter and uses the Sum of the Gigabytes stored.
We leave the Quantity per unit setting at 1, since we'll configure a tiered pricing by the Gigabyte using this Aggregation.
4. Select Create Aggregation.
5. Repeat steps 3. and 4. to create another two Aggregations:
Here's the setup for the second Aggregation:
The Graphic File Submits Aggregation gives us our second pricing metric by:
Targeting the Graphic File Submits field on the Store N Clean Meter and uses a Sum of file submissions.
We leave the Quantity per unit setting at 1, since we'll configure a flat rate pricing by file submissions using this Aggregation.
Here's the setup for the third Aggregation:
The Processing Average Aggregation gives us our third pricing metric by:
Targeting the Processing Average derived field on the Store N Clean Meter and uses the Latest value resulting from the calculation built into the field.
We leave the Quantity per unit setting at 1, since we'll configure a tiered pricing by number of seconds using this Aggregation.
More Details: Reviewing Aggregation Options and Creating Aggregations
Plans represent a pricing plan for one of your products or services. A Plan is always derived from a Plan Template and inherits settings from the Plan Template which control billing operations, such a billing frequency and currency. You can override some of these settings when you create a Plan from a Plan Template. To meet the example requirements:
First, we'll need a Plan Template for the Revive Graphic Standard Product. We'll configure the Plan Template:
For monthly billing using a specific billing currency.
To include for a Standing charge to be applied for each billing period.
Second, we can then create a Product Plan based on the Plan Template. The Plan will then inherit the monthly billing frequency and Standing charge billing amount from the Plan Template.
To create a Product Plan Template:
1. Select Pricing> Plan Templates. The Plan Templates page opens.
2. In the Product drop-down, select Revive Graph Standard.
3. Select Create Plan Template. The Create page opens.
Here's the setup for our Product Plan Template:
For the Revive Graphic Standard Plan Template we've:
Chosen US dollars as the billing currency.
Note that if US Dollar doesn't appear for selection in the Currency drop-down when you are creating your Plan Template, you'll need to create it for your Organization:
Select Settings>Organization and open the Currencies tab.
Click Create currency and on the Create page add USD - US Dollar ($) as a Standard currency. You can define the Maximum decimal places for the currency also. Click Create - US Dollar will now be available for selection across you Organization.
Selected a monthly Bill frequency with a Bill interval of 1, which means Accounts put on the Plan will receive a Bill each month for a month's period of usage.
4. Click the arrow to open Advanced Config. This allows you to configure for Standing charge and Minimum spend amounts:
Standing charge settings:
Set a Standing charge of $20 per month as required for the example.
Leave organization-wide config checked to bill in arrears.
Set Standing charge interval at 1 to charge this amount on every monthly Bill.
Set Standing charge offset at 0 to apply this charge from the first Bill.
Enter a Standing charge description if you wish - this will show against the Standing charge line items on customer Bills.
Minimum spend settings:
Omit a Product minimum spend per billing period, since this was not required for the example.
5. Select Create Plan Template. You are returned to the Plan Templates page and the new template is listed for the Revive Graphic Standard Product. We can now create a Product Plan for the example based on this template.
6. Select Pricing>Plans. The Plans page opens.
7. In the Product drop-down, select Revive Graph Standard.
8. Select Create Plan. The Create page opens.
Here's the setup for our Product Plan:
Note that we don't need to do any Template Overrides for Standing charge or Minimum spend amounts we want to apply for the example - we configured the Revive Graphic Standard Template for the required Standing charge amount of $20 per month, and our new Revive Graph Standard Plan will inherit these settings from the template.
9. Select Create Plan. You are returned to the Plans page where our new Product Plan is listed. We can now price this Plan using our Aggregations.
More Details: Reviewing Options for Plan Templates and Plans and Creating Plans
Pricing allows you to configure the cost of usage data under a specific Plan you apply to an Account, and is used to calculate bills.
We can use the Pricing Editor in the Console to quickly price up our Product Plan to meet the pricing requirements for the example.
To price Product Plan:
1. Select Pricing> Pricing Editor. The Pricing page opens.
2. In the Product drop-down, select Revive Graph Standard.
3. Select Add Plans. The Select Plans dialog opens and lists all Plans created for the Revive Graph Standard Product.
4. Check Revive Graphic Standard Plan and select Confirm. The dialog closes and the Plan is added to the Pricing page.
We'll use the Aggregations we created at Step 3 as usage-based metrics to price the Plan in accordance with the requirements set out in the example.
5. Click Add Aggregations. A Select Aggregations dialog appears and lists all Aggregations created for the Revive Graph Standard Product.
Note that you might also see global Aggregations listed for selection. Global Aggregations are not tied to any specific Product and can be used to price Plans across all Products.
6. On the dialog check our three Aggregations:
GigaByte Store Aggregation
Graphic File Submits Aggregation
Processing Average Aggregation
7. Click Confirm. The dialog closes and the selected Aggregations are added to the Pricing page for the added Plan. You'll see that no Active Pricing has been configured for the Plan using any of the selected Aggregations.
8. In the pricing grid, select Create pricing for the GigaByte Stored Aggregation. The Create pricing page opens:
You can read off details of the Aggregation being used to create the pricing at the top of the page.
You can Switch to wizard to follow an alternative streamlined pricing workflow by Pricing Type. For the example workflow, we'll continue with the default advanced pricing format.
9. Work down the form to enter:
Start and End dates for the period the pricing is active for the Plan.
A Description that will appear for any usage charge line items on Bills, such as Storage Charges.
Leave the Apply as setting as the default - Debit.
Pricing type: The pricing requirement was to charge by cumulative volume of corrupted files submitted for storage and cleanup in the month measured in gigabytes - charge rate is $0.15 per GB for the first 500GB; $0.10 per GB thereafter. We can implement this pricing, using a Tiered pricing structure with two pricing bands configured:
10. Select Save. The Create pricing page closes and the pricing using the Aggregation is shown as active in the pricing grid:
11. Repeat steps 8. to 10., using the other two Aggregations we created for pricing the Plan, and use a suitable pricing type and structure for each pricing:
Graphic File Submits Aggregation. The pricing requirement was to charge by count of the number of corrupted files submitted for storage and cleanup in the month, charged at $0.50 per file. We can use a Tiered structure with a single pricing band without limit to impose this flat rate pricing:
Processing Average. The pricing requirement was to charge by an add-on amount each month based on average clean up processing time required per submitted file: charged at $12 for up to 4 seconds average processing; $25 for up to 6 seconds average processing; $50 for anything above 6 seconds average processing. We can use a Stairstep pricing type to impose this pricing:
12. When you have saved the further two pricings, each will also show as Active Pricing for the Plan in the grid:
We now have a Product Plan priced according to the pricing requirements.
More Details: Reviewing Pricing Options for Plans and Plan Templates and Pricing Plans and Plan Templates.
Accounts represent one of your end-customers, and contains the end-customer name and contact details:
When you attach a priced Plan to an Account, this creates a link between them to create an Account Plan. Attaching priced Plans to an Account determines the charges incurred by customers who are put on the Plan when they consume one of your Products.
For this step, we'll create a test Account for the example and attach our priced Plan to it.
To create a test Account and attach Plan:
1. In the main Console navigation, select Accounts. The Accounts page opens.
2. Select Create Account. The Create page opens.
3. Enter the details of the new Account:
Name and Code. Required fields.
Note that when you enter a Name and click in the Code field, a default code is entered based on the name you've entered, which you can then edit as required.
Email Address. In addition to Name and Code, this is also a required field.
Other settings. These are optional fields, such as physical address settings, which you can add later by editing the Account.
4. Select Create Account. You are returned to the Accounts page where the new Account is listed.
5. In the Accounts list, select the NAME hotlink text to open the details page for the test Account. This page opens with the Overview tab selected:
For the worked example, we've created the Revive Graph Customer 1 test Account.
6. Select the Attached Plans tab.
7. On the Active and pending attached plans panel, select Attach plan. The Create page opens.
When you attach a Plan to an Account, you create an Account Plan, which lets you define the specific way in which you want the Plan to be applied to the individual Account. Note that the Account Plan you create when you attach the Plan to an Account is distinct from the Plan itself - you may want to attach the Plan to another Account but to configure the way the Plan is applied to that other Account differently.
8. On the Create page, leave the radio button for Plan as default setting and enter the details of the Account Plan:
Use the Product drop-down to select the Product, which is Revive Graph Standard for the example. The Plan drop-down is enabled.
Use the Plan drop-down to select the Plan, which is Revive Graph Standard Plan for the example.
Use the pop-up calendars to enter Start date and End date, which will define the period the Account Plan is active for the Account.
9. Select Attach. Back on the Attached Plans tab, the Account Plan is shown on the Active and pending attached plans panel:
We now have a test Account set up that will be billed according to the pricing schema we've configured for the Plan for any metered usage of the Product.
More Details: Creating an Account and Attaching Plans to an Account
We'll now submit some test data to our test account for the Store N Clean Meter, which will allow us to generate a Bill and check that the usage charges on the Bill for the submitted test data are correct.
1. Select Accounts. On the Accounts page, select the NAME hotlink text of the Revive Graph Customer 1 test Account we created at Step 6. The Account details page opens with the Overview tab selected.
2. On the Account actions menu, select Account>Submit usage:
A Submit usage dialog appears. To submit usage data measurements for the Account, you must complete two stages using the dialog.
3. Under stage 1: Select a meter, use the Meter drop-down to select the Store N Clean Meter and then select Continue. The dialog adjusts to show stage 2: Define measurements and send:
Note that you can complete stage 2 using either a Simple or Advanced format, where the default is Simple.
For the example, we'll use the Simple format to submit our test usage data measurments:
UID. This field is automatically populated with a unique id for the measurement. For the example, we'll use this as our measurement id.
Timestamp. The timestamp field is also automatically populated using the date/time the dialog was opened, and again for the example we'll use this as the timestamp for the measurement.
Meter. The Meter Code is automatically entered.
Account. The Code of the Account we're submitting the data measurement for is automatically entered.
Data fields. The three Data Fields we set up for the Meter are shown with empty Value fields.
4. Enter some test data Values for each of the Data Fields:
GigaByte Store = 350
Graphic File Submits = 8
Process Time = 29
Tip: Record the Test Data Values! Keep a record of the test Values you've submitted for each of the fields. You can then calculate manually what the respective charges should be when you generate a sample Bill for the Account.
5. Select Submit usage. If the measurement is ingested successfully, you'll see a Result: accepted message at the bottom of the Submit usage dialog.
6. Close the Submit usage dialog.
Important! You must close the Submit usage dialog after each measurement you submit. If you don't, the new measurement values will be submitted under the same unique measurement id and, although an "accepted" message will be returned again the system interprets the second submission as the same data and ignores it.
7. For additional test data measurements, repeat steps 3. to 6. For the example, we'll submit two more measurements:
Second Measurement Values:
GigaByte Store = 650
Graphic File Submits = 12
Process Time = 53
Third Measurement Values:
GigaByte Store = 550
Graphic File Submits = 10
Process Time = 42
8. Go to the test Account details page and select the Bills tab.
9. On the Bills tab, select Run billing. The Run billing dialog appears.
10. In the example, we are using monthly billing and the test data was submitted in March 2023, so we select:
April 1st for Invoice date.
Monthly for Bill Frequency.
11. Select Run billing. The dialog closes and your Bill job is queued.
You can select the Running Tasks button at top-right in the Console. This opens the Running Tasks panel and you can check the status of your Bill job:
12. When the Bill has generated, it will be listed on the Bills tab for the Account. Select the REFERENCE hotlink text to open the Bill in Bill Management.
Before checking a sample Bill we've generated for the Account, we can calculate manually what the cumulative usage charges should be for each part of the usage-based pricing we've implemented:
GigaBytes Stored. The total amounts to 350 + 650 + 550 = 1,550 GiBy. The tiered pricing structure we've set up means the charge for the first 500 at $0.15 per GiBy = $75 plus the charge for the remaining 1,050 at $0.10 per GiBy = $105. Total = $180.
File Submits. The total number of files submitted is 30. At the flat rate of $0.50 per file, the charge = $15.
Processing Average. The total processing time submitted is 124 seconds. The total number of files submitted is 30. Therefore, the average processing time per file is 124/30 = 4.13 seconds. Because this is more than 4, charge = $25.
The Bill for the Account should be the total of these three usage charges = $220 plus the standing charge of $20 per billing period, which amounts to an overall total = $240.
For the example, we can see that the Bill based on test usage data we submitted has been calculated correctly in accordance with our usage-based pricing schema:
Deploying to Production: Having submitted some metered test data against a test Account, generated a Bill for the Account, and confirmed that charges are in accordance with our pricing requirements for consumption of our Product, we can be comfortable deploying our usage-based pricing implementation to live production.
More Details: Submitting Test Usage Data and Running Bills Manually