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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.

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333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
United States

WWW: acer.com

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March 13, 2024 | Joe Schab

Navigating the B2B Subscription Avalanche

The business landscape is transforming profoundly with the rise of the B2B subscription economy. Companies have embraced subscription-based models to access essential services, software, and products. This shift has reshaped how businesses operate, offering them flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness. However, this accelerating trend comes with challenges, primarily in managing the ever-growing number of subscriptions. Rise […]

The business landscape is transforming profoundly with the rise of the B2B subscription economy.

Companies have embraced subscription-based models to access essential services, software, and products. This shift has reshaped how businesses operate, offering them flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness.

However, this accelerating trend comes with challenges, primarily in managing the ever-growing number of subscriptions.

Rise of the B2B Subscription Economy

The B2B subscription economy represents a significant departure from traditional business models, which often required substantial upfront investments in software, infrastructure, and equipment that led to high capital expenses.

The subscription model, on the other hand, allows businesses to access services and products on a pay-as-you-go basis, minimizing upfront costs and offering more flexibility. That benefit is clearly seen in the growth in the industry. According to Gartner Research, the more than $400 billion “anything as a service” economy is growing by more than 20% a year.

Several factors have contributed to this rise:

  • Cost-Efficiency: Subscriptions enable companies to avoid hefty initial investments and pay for services on a monthly or annual basis instead. This shift in cost structure allows for better financial planning and resource allocation.
  • Scalability: Businesses can scale services based on needs. As companies grow, they can easily add more subscriptions, and conversely, reduce them during periods of downsizing.
  • Access to Cutting-Edge Technology: B2B subscriptions provide access to the latest software, tools, and technologies without the need to separately buy or upgrade them. This ensures that businesses can remain competitive in a rapidly evolving digital landscape.
  • Flexibility: Businesses can quickly adapt to changing market conditions. They can experiment with new tools or services without long-term commitments.
  • Predictable Costs: Monthly or annual subscription fees provide more manageable costs, making it easier for companies to budget and forecast expenses.

Challenges in Managing B2B Subscriptions

Joe Schab of LeaseQuery

Joe Schab

While the benefits of the B2B subscription economy are evident, managing them has become a significant challenge for companies. Between the sheer number of subscriptions to expense management, executives are being forced to navigate these new challenges brought on by SaaS subscriptions:

  • Subscriptions Everywhere: The ease of signing up for subscriptions leaves businesses inundated with a multitude of services and products. This can lead to inefficiencies, as it becomes challenging to keep track of all subscriptions.
  • Billing and Expense Management: Tracking and reconciling multiple subscription bills is complicated. Companies must establish robust systems for tracking expenses and ensure that they are aligned with the value derived from subscriptions.
  • Unused or Underused Subscriptions: In the rush to adopt new tools and services, companies may end up with entirely unused subscriptions. This is a waste of resources and adds unnecessary expenses.
  • Vendor Management: Managing relationships with many subscription providers can be time-consuming. Effective vendor management is crucial to ensure that companies receive the expected level of service and support.
  • Security and Compliance: Data security and compliance get harder as the number of subscriptions grows. Companies must monitor each subscription for compliance with industry regulations and security standards.
  • Contract Management: Keeping track of a variety of contract terms, renewal dates, and negotiation points can be daunting. Failure to manage contracts effectively can result in unexpected price hikes or service disruptions.
  • Integration Complexity: It may be difficult to integrate multiple subscription-based tools and services. Companies must invest in integration solutions to ensure seamless workflows.
  • Employee Training and Onboarding: As subscriptions continue diversifying, employees need training to use new tools effectively. Frequent changes in the software landscape can lead to a constant need for onboarding and retraining.

Solutions to Subscription Management Challenges

To address the issue of managing the B2B subscription economy, executives should consider adopting various strategies:

  • Centralized Subscription Management: Implement a centralized system or software that tracks all subscriptions, costs, and renewal dates. This provides a clear overview of the subscription landscape.
  • Subscription Audits: Conduct regular audits to identify unused or underused subscriptions. Eliminate or reduce subscriptions that do not provide sufficient value.
  • Vendor Consolidation: If possible, consolidate similar services under a single vendor to simplify management and reduce costs.
  • Expense Tracking Tools: Use expense tracking and management tools to automate billing reconciliation and ensure that expenses align with the value derived from subscriptions.
  • Contract Negotiation: Invest in skilled contract negotiation to secure favorable terms and pricing. Negotiate multi-year agreements to lock in rates and reduce administrative overhead.
  • Compliance Monitoring: Implement robust compliance monitoring processes to ensure that all subscriptions adhere to regulatory requirements and security standards.
  • Training and Onboarding: Develop a structured training program to ensure employees are proficient in using subscribed tools and services.
  • Integration Platforms: Consider using platforms that can connect various subscription-based tools, enabling seamless data flow and process automation.

The rise of the B2B subscription economy has revolutionized how businesses access and use essential services and products. The benefits of flexibility, cost-efficiency, and scalability are undeniable. However, the increasing number of subscriptions also brings a set of challenges.

To navigate these challenges successfully, companies must adopt a proactive approach to subscription management. By effectively managing their subscriptions, companies can ensure that they reap the full benefits of the subscription economy while minimizing the complexities that go along with it.


Joe Schab is the COO and president of FinQuery, formerly LeaseQuery. He has spent most of his career helping companies transition from startups to full-fledged, high-growth entities.


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