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Billing and Mediation

20. You might expect to be billed in the same mode that you lease services—over the network—though all ASPs might not offer this option. If they do, they might institute common e-business billing practices such as electronic bill presentment and payment, and electronic funds transfer.

21. Usage-based pricing models require that the ASP track your activity for the relevant equipment such as database, storage, and scanners used to deliver all services. This pertains not only to "per-click" pricing, but is necessary also for pricing models such as "variable/tiered" ones—in which you're allowed a certain amount of usage within the price tier, and pay a premium if you exceed it. Key service components such as average network bandwidth, transactions-per-second, and response times are captured as a matter of course in the application-monitoring process. However, particular usage metrics for billing purposes require actual, not average, data records and monitoring equipment tied to specific pieces of equipment—for instance, scanners (for recording number of documents scanned), databases (for number of transactions), to clients and servers (for number and initiator of retrievals).

22. Tracking usage is complicated. The ASP might have to track multiple metrics for multiple pieces of equipment such as network, client, different types of servers, storage devices, and so on. It might also have to identify the user or department that initiated an activity like a document retrieval. And when the hosted application is bundled with other hosted applications or integrated with your legacy applications, the ASP might track the interrelated activities of multiple applications where certain actions initiate other actions for which you're billed—for instance, a business transaction in an e-business application might involve a document retrieval in a workflow application.

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