June 12th, 2017 by Oren Smilansky

One often cited advantage of the subscription economy is that it puts power into the customer’s hands, allowing him or her to decide, on a monthly or yearly basis, whether or not a service is worth the ongoing investment. If a software or service–say, something like Netflix or Hulu– isn’t living up to the user’s expectations, that customer can choose to opt out by canceling the scheduled payment before the next billing cycle.

But, as I can attest to from personal experience, it gets harder and harder to keep track of the different services the more they pile up, and things can quickly become a complicated mess. (More than once have I signed up for a complimentary month of Hulu, only to realize, maybe four months later, that my credit card had been charged repeatedly for an inactive account.)

This isn’t just a problem in the B2C world. For businesses–especially those on tight budgets–it is also a growing area of concern, which is why several startups have formed to help businesses oversee their various SaaS accounts. Among these are Meta SaaS, Cleanshelf, and Cardlife. The goal of these services–which, yes, you also have to pay for on a monthly or annual basis–is to help businesses monitor the activity and usage associated with each of their contracts, and decide which of them are and aren’t paying off.

An interesting idea, and no doubt useful to companies who hold a portfolio of technologies, but it also raises a question: Will these SaaS management providers recommend that users cancel their own services if they fail to deliver?

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