Revolutionizing Tech Vendor Relationships: Embracing Outcome-Based Payments

by | Jul 16, 2023 | Software

Today, we are seeing an unprecedented level of technological boom. But at the same time, the world is also grappling with a lackluster economic growth. The tech world saw immense growth previously, but in 2023, reality is biting. As a result, chief information officers (CIOs) are orchestrating a dramatic shift in tech vendor relationships.

Departing from conventional norms, visionary leaders are embracing several out-of-the-box strategies, including:

  • Outcome-based payment structures,
  • Transcending fixed subscription fees and
  • Per-user charges.

This avant-garde approach, while not yet ubiquitous, exerts profound pressure on vendors. Large companies valuing over the $500 billion mark have now shrunk by over 90%. As a result, vendors are proffering adaptable pricing models that resonate with budget-conscious clients. This is not only to cater to a struggling market, but also to provide a lifeline for their own bottom-line.

As the technology industry navigates tighter budgets and demand for value-driven solutions, the allure of outcome-based payments emerges as a catalyst for innovation and long-term success.

Outcome-Based Payments: A Nexus of Innovation

The metamorphosis from traditional pricing models to outcome-based payments is rooted in the quest for innovation and client-centricity. As the threat of low employment rates and high skill requirements continues to badger the industry, its CAGR has dropped to measly 3.2%.

Investors have always relied on the Silicon Valley to pump investments into tech startups for better yields, but that is not the case anymore. However, even in these dark times, there is hope. Unlike their predecessors, these cutting-edge structures are set to liberate tech vendors and clients alike.

This, in turn, is set to foster an unwavering focus on tangible results and shared objectives. Linking compensation to specific business goals, outcome-based pricing is establishing an intricate interplay of mutual success. It is helping vendors achieve such heightened revenue and cost efficiencies at the same time. Here, both parties become unified stakeholders in realizing transformative outcomes.

Concomitant with this profound transformation, value-based models, bearing similarities to outcome-based frameworks, are gaining considerable traction as alternative pricing paradigms. These models measure success in terms of key performance indicators (KPIs). The most prominent ones include:

  • Customer growth and
  • Data utilization for artificial intelligence.

This new approach is opening doors to boundless possibilities in the technology landscape.

Catalysts for Change: Impetus Driving Outcome-Based Pricing

While the concept of outcome-based payments has lingered for decades (especially during the pandemic), its ascendancy to prominence in the technology realm is spurred by various catalysts. Chief among these are the intensified pressures posed by constrained technology budgets and client resistance towards hefty cloud-computing expenditures.

With most cloud providers billing clients based on their usage of computing resources, unforeseen spikes in usage can lead to exorbitant and unanticipated bills, prompting an industry-wide quest for equitable and value-driven alternatives.

A survey conducted by Deloitte reveals the compelling shift in client focus from mere solutions to outcomes and business value. A remarkable 43% of technology vendors’ leaders acknowledge this perceptible shift, indicating a clear trajectory towards outcome-driven engagements.

Additionally, 46% of tech firms face challenges in attaining revenue goals. This is actively compelling them to embrace more adaptive pricing strategies, thus galvanizing the outcome-based revolution.

Success Stories: Showcasing Outcome-Based Triumphs

The veritable triumph of outcome-based pricing is eminently evident through real-world success stories that transcend industry barriers.


One compelling illustration revolves around Granica, a dynamic startup that empowers companies to curtail cloud expenses through storage compression.

Leveraging an outcome-based model, Granica charges customers a percentage based on the actual savings achieved in cloud costs. This resounding success has even enticed established players like Nylas, a provider of email, calendar, and contacts integration, to engage in outcome-based negotiations, attaining mutual benefits and fostering enduring partnerships.


Signify, previously recognized as Philips Lighting, stands as a prominent Dutch multinational enterprise specializing in lighting solutions. Pioneering a paradigm shift in 2017, the corporation unveiled a revolutionary light-as-a-service (LaaS) proposition.

This transformative model discerns payment not by the number of light fixtures installed but rather by the lumens delivered to the clientele. The brilliance of this pricing architecture lies in its confluence of interests, effectively aligning the objectives of Signify and its customers. Both parties are deeply motivated to ensure the optimal performance of the lighting system.

The LaaS offering has garnered resounding praise from customers, exalting its efficacy and appeal. Signify, in turn, has witnessed an unprecedented surge in demand for this groundbreaking product. A testament to its success, the year 2019 witnessed a remarkable milestone, as the LaaS innovation contributed an impressive 10% to the company’s total lighting revenue.


Moreover, venerable organizations such as Bayer, the German agricultural-chemicals and pharmaceutical giant, have embarked on transformative outcome-based pricing models. Here, farmers share additional revenue with Bayer if crop yields surpass projections.

In case of underperformance, they also receive refunds. Enabled by AI-driven insights on crop performance and tailored growing recommendations, this pioneering model reshapes the landscape of agricultural technology, surmounting the traditional one-size-fits-all pricing approach.

The Apex of Complexity: Challenges on the Horizon

Despite the allure of outcome-based payments, formidable challenges arise when attributing specific outcomes to individual vendors. Ascertaining the direct impact of a single vendor on a revenue increase or cost savings improvement can prove arduous and may even lead to legal entanglements.

Furthermore, highly intricate products reliant on extensive systems and external providers might defy a simplified outcome-based pricing structure. Consequently, the backbone technologies of many enterprises might require more nuanced pricing approaches.

It is important to note that outcome-based models that hinge on percentages of revenue or savings can engender unpredictability and introduce financial risk. This concern has been echoed by discerning CIOs who seek stability and predictability in pricing arrangements.

As CIOs and other IT executives chart their course into uncharted waters, the embrace of outcome-based payments heralds a technological renaissance. An unprecedented nexus of innovation, accountability, and shared success emerges, knitting together tech vendors and clients in a symbiotic relationship of remarkable value.


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