Welcome to the Zuora September 2013 Release (R168, R168.1). This release includes new features, enhancements, and resolved issues.
|✓||Billing Period Options for Rate Plan Charges: Now you can choose from a range of billing periods for each new product in a subscription. No need to modify the Rate Plan Charge of the product to change the billing period. You asked. We delivered.|
|✓||Chart of Accounts enhancements: We continue to extend our Chart of Accounts feature. This go-round, we've added Z-Finance permissions and a new SOAP API object to create, update accounting codes.|
|✓||Z-Force Data Sync: Last release, performance. This release, usability. We enriched your user interface experience with more Sync Mode options and new Sync History filtering options.|
|✓||More, expanded support for REST APIs: We continue to grow. We extended our custom field support to more REST APIs.|
A convenient new feature in this release alerts you to any failures that may have occurred during a bill run. This helps you to check whether all invoices have been generated or not, and ensures that you don't miss out on any revenue that is due.
A new tab has been added to the Bill Run detail page, which appears if any failures have occurred (you won't see it otherwise). This tab displays a list of the accounts that produced errors, and the individual subscriptions of those accounts in which the billing run error occurred.
After a bill run has finished, go to Billing Operations > Bill Runs, and click on the name of completed bill run. If any errors have occurred, at the bottom of the page you will see a third tab called Failed Accounts or Subscriptions, to the right of the Generated Invoices and Selected Customer Accounts tabs.
We are constantly improving Zuora to help you save time, and this new feature enables you to quickly and easily identify and correct bill run issues yourself without the need to contact Zuora support. Of course, we are always there if you need us.
We are pleased to announce a new feature that could save you a lot of time if you have many customer accounts with multiple subscriptions.
Performance Issues on Large Bill Runs
In previous releases, bill runs which processed large numbers of accounts (e.g. 5000) that had multiple subscriptions each, and invoiced each subscription in an account separately, could take a considerable amount of time. This was due to the fact that when generating multiple invoices per account for large numbers of accounts, any errors that occurred would terminate the processing of all subscriptions for that account, and negatively impact the overall bill run completion time.
Significant Speed Increase
In this release, our engineers have included a performance enhancement that tells the system to skip any errors and continue processing bill runs if the generation of individual invoices fail. In tests this has resulted in performance increases of 30%-80% depending on the number of accounts, saving a huge amount of time.
How to Enable the Feature
This feature is optional, and you need to enable it yourself. It is designed to increase performance for Zuora users who have many accounts with multiple subscriptions each, and only for those users who already enable the "Invoice The Subscription Separately" option for subscriptions. If you don't invoice your customers for each subscription separately, have a large number of accounts, or haven't experienced any performance issues, then you are advised not to use this feature.
To activate this feature you need to look for the option entitled 'How should errors be handled when generating multiple invoices for a single account via bill run?' and enable the new billing rule "Skip error and continue processing".
In previous releases, when creating a subscription you could modify aspects of any Product Rate Plan Charge such as Price, Quantity, Trigger Condition, etc. You could not, however, modify the Product Rate Plan Charge Billing Period.
In this release, it is now possible to change the Billing Period of each individual Product Rate Plan Charge as it is added to a subscription. These changes will not affect the Rate Plan Charge of the product in the product catalog. This choice can be offered to a single customer, or to all of your customers, who can themselves choose the billing period that suits them when first subscribing to a product. Once the subscription has begun, the chosen billing period cannot be changed.
Easily Override Billing Periods
For a particular subscription, the billing period of a product's Rate Plan Charge can be set in a number of ways:
Subscribe()method in the
RatePlanChargeSOAP API and specify the custom billing period in the call.
More Options For Your Customers
You can also open up the option for custom billing periods to all your customers, by adding a new pick list selection box to the user interface of your website. In this way, your customers can choose the billing period that suits them, at the time they subscribe.
Amend Existing Subscriptions Too
Also, it is now possible to add additional products, possibly with each having a different billing periods, to an existing subscription. This can be done either via the Zuora UI, or through a SOAP
amend() call. Behind the scenes this creates an
Amendment business object of type
NewProduct, which in turn adds a new product to a particular subscription.
You must be on WSDL version 50.0 or higher to use this SOAP feature. See The Zuora WSDL for information about downloading the current version.
It's Your Choice
Both user interface and API enhancements are optional. Their introduction does not automatically affect any existing implementations. Should you choose to allow your end customers to modify their billing periods, simply implement the new pick list in your user interface, or include both BillingPeriod and SpecificBillingPeriod fields in your SOAP API calls.
Find Out More
To learn more about this and other useful features, visit the billing section of the Zuora Knowledge Center.
New Z-Finance permissions for Chart of Accounts
These permissions are automatically applied to Z-Finance Administrator and Z-Finance Standard User roles, and to any existing custom Z-Finance roles.
Note: These permissions are available only if you take advantage of Z-Finance.
See Managing User Roles for more information.
We continue to extend our Chart of Accounts capabilities. In this release, we have added the
AccountingCode SOAP object. You can now create and manage accounting codes through SOAP calls:
You must upgrade to WSDL version 50.0 to start using this new SOAP object.
See AccountingCode for more information.
The Payment Method Updater (PMU) enables merchants to automatically incorporate changes made to a customer’s Visa or MasterCard data, including:
The PMU has an enhanced user interface that makes it easier to view batch statuses. Use data sources to export PMU data, including exporting your old Updater data. Lastly, we made CyberSource Account Updater faster and more reliable.
See Payment Method Updater Console for more information.
The export feature for Invoice Item Adjustment (IIA) has been removed due to its inaccuracies. Now use datasource to export your IIAs, which provides more detailed and accurate data exports.
When clicking the Export Invoice Item Adjustment link on the Billing Operations > Invoice Item Adjustments page, you are redirected to datasource with a default setting for IIA data export.
See Invoice Item Adjustment Data Source for more information.
All three options are inactive by default. Previously, each payment profile had the option of one payment processed notification for electronic payment and two refund processed notifications for electronic refunds, consisting of one credit balance refund processed notification and one payment refund processed notification. These notifications are for electronic payments and refunds, but were not marked as "Electronic". In this release, we added an "Event Parameters" section to show notifications explicitly, and set the default value to "Electronic" in the "Payment Type". Additionally, we added three new notifications that by default are inactive, listed in the above bullet points.
To activate external payments processed notifications, go to Z-Payment Settings--> Setup Profiles, Notifications and Email Templates, go to the Edit page, and check the box "Active". We added a new section "Event Parameters", with a "Payment Type" field set to the "External" option to mark an external payment notification. We also provide another default email template, "External Payment Processed Default Email Template", for this notification. You may have up to one External or one Electronic notification per profile. The rule is the same for the refund notifications discussed below.
To activate external credit balance refund processed or external payment refund processed, go to the Z-Payments Settings > Setup Profiles, Notifications and Email Templates pages and then go to the Edit page for the respective action. You can activate the notifications on the detail page of each profile in the "Event Parameters" section, with the "External" option chosen in the "Refund Type" field. There are also new email templates: "External Payment Refund Processed Email Template" and "External Credit balance Refund Processed Email Template." Lastly, you can edit or remove the notification, or add a newly configured, customized email template for the notification after the removal of the old notification.
Note: If there is one external payment processed notification in the profile, updating the event parameter of the electronic payment processed notification from electronic to external will fail.
See Notifications and Callouts for more information.
Z-Force Data Synchronization just keeps getting better. In this release, we've given you more Sync mode options, and improved Sync History usability with new filtering options.
On-demand Sync in controlled release. Contact Zuora Global Support to learn more about enabling if for your tenant. Real-time Sync is in the works and coming in the near future. Keep your eyes open for its debut.
Sync Mode Enhancements
Easily switch among Sync Modes and select the one that best fits your needs.
Sync History Enhancements
See the following for more information:
For Release 168, the WSDL version is now 50.0. See The Zuora WSDL for information about downloading the current version.
REST API calls can now be made directly to Zuora via AJAX calls, via the Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) mechanism, enabling Zuora customers websites to directly accept credit card information without storing this information on, or transmitting it from, your servers. .
REST API calls via CORS
Our iFrame solution was designed to help you quickly and easily integrate Zuora payments into your sites without storing credit card information on, or transmitting it from, your servers. . However, some of you have asked for more customization and configuration options than the iFrame solution can provide, and we listened. With this new release, our REST APIs are accessible directly from your customer's browser, via the CORS mechanism.
Find Out More
For full details on how CORS works and how you can begin to implement customer calls to the Zuora REST APIs, visit the Zuora CORS REST page.
The Zuora REST API and related Java and Ruby Sample Code Libaries s are designed to help you easily build web-based subscription storefronts. For more about what can be achieved using our REST API, see our REST API Knowledge Center page and REST API reference page.
To learn about our REST-based software development kits, and links to extensive Java and Ruby code samples, see our REST Sample Code Libraries page.
Previously there were only a few business objects that custom fields could be added to using the REST API (Products, Product Rate Plans, Subscription and Accounts). With this new release we have greatly expanded the number of objects that support custom fields.
Here is the full list REST API calls that have been enhanced so that you can use custom fields with them:
The format is
<HTML method> /<API name> -- <object name(s)>
POST /accounts -- account, subscription
GET /accounts/summary -- account, subscription
PUT /accounts -- account
GET /products -- product, product rate plan, product rate plan charge
POST /subscriptions -- subscription
GET /subscriptions -- subscription
PUT /subscriptions -- subscription
GET /invoices -- invoice, invoice item
GET /payments -- payment
GET /usage -- usage
To learn how to use custom fields, check out our Knowledge Center article: How Do I Use Custom Fields.
The following issues were resolved in this release.
Previously, a SOAP API call or REST API call to amend() UpdateProduct would allow RatePlanCharge.Quantity to be set to any value, regardless of whether this quantity was contained within a specified price tier. Setting a value outside of any specified price tier would result in any query of the price of the RatePlanCharge to return a value of zero.
This issue was resolved in this release. If any value other than one specified in a price tier is set by an API call, an error is thrown.
During Updater batch processing, if the status of a batch was in a processing state during a production release, the batch would be frozen in the processing state.
This issue was resolved in this release. During a production release your batches are put on pause, and the processing is resumed automatically after completion of the production release.
Some objects have custom required fields for which information must be specified in order to for instances to be made of them.
In previous releases, no error was returned if a POST call to create an instance of such an object via the REST API failed to specify any of the required custom fields.
This issue was resolved in this release. Now, if the required custom fields are not specified in the REST API call, the request will fail and produce an error message such as:
'txt__c' is required.
The R168.1 includes internal fixes.