“I love feature provisioning. I wish I could do this more often!” said no engineer. However, entitlement management is crucial for SaaS or digital service businesses (such as OTT, ePublications, or e-learning) to ensure customers can access what they paid for. Many companies build these systems in-house, relying on engineering teams to handle feature provisioning and access control. 

As we navigate the era of efficient growth, building scalable processes, and achieving more with your current team, it’s crucial to evaluate whether your current entitlement management system is effectively serving your needs. Maintaining a home-built entitlement management system can be a resource-intensive process that takes the focus off your core product and service offering and can potentially slow down your Go-To-Market efforts.

In this article, we’ll explore five common warning signs that your in-house entitlement management is failing and why addressing these issues is essential for your business’s success.

Critical warning signs your entitlement management system needs improvement

1. Lack of cross-functional visibility on feature provisioning and entitlements

In most subscription companies, the engineering team owns feature logic and entitlement mapping. At the same time, Go-To-Market (GTM) functions such as sales, customer success, and marketing are the primary users of these systems. This creates a chasm in between, with the lack of a common language for entitlements across the organization. 

Things to consider:

  • Do you have accurate visibility over feature flags and entitlements for all your plans and add-ons?
  • Do you maintain a clear record of each customer’s entitlements, including multiple subscriptions and custom entitlements?
  • Are feature names consistent across your organization, or do different teams use different terms, leading to confusion?

If you can’t answer a strong ‘Yes’ to all these, you’re not alone. As Josh Groves, co-founder of Pod2, described, “We ran into challenges trying to scale entitlements. Entitlements were captured in various systems—through emails, phone calls, and post-it notes—all over the place.”

Why this matters: The lack of a single source of truth for entitlement and feature usage data can negatively impact your business on multiple levels. Remember that marketing campaign that wasn’t effective because it targeted the wrong cohort of customers? The BI dashboard you never rely on? The irate customer wondering why they’ve been revoked access to a custom feature they’ve been using for years? Well, they’re all connected.

2. Engineering resources are strained by entitlement management

When you are in the early stages of business, feature provisioning and access management might seem like just another step on your checklist—you think, ‘How hard can it be to create a feature flag?” 

But as your business grows, so does the complexity of entitlement logic. The more custom logic you maintain, the more guardrails and safety nets you need to ensure your customers’ business workflows aren’t disrupted. You also need audit logs to capture who makes changes to entitlements and so on.

Before you realize it, the entitlements engine could consume 1-2 Full Time Employees, or you might have to branch out a division of your engineering function to fully run business operations (BizOps). Despite this due diligence, these efforts don’t contribute to your core product roadmap and may possibly distract from it.

Things to consider:

  • How much of your engineering bandwidth is currently spent building and maintaining feature flags, provisioning, and entitlements?
  • How long does it take for you to introduce a new plan, add-on, or product line, considering the code changes, internal approvals, testing, and deployment?
  • Is your engineering team delivering your product roadmap as planned? If not, what’s holding them back?

Why this matters: In the competitive markets we operate in, time is of the essence and time is money. Diverting these crucial resources into maintaining in-house systems is like asking your best players to sit on the bench during a crucial game.

3. Go-to-market teams face frequent delays due to engineering constraints

Ironically, the engineering team spending a good proportion of the time with entitlements doesn’t always mean life gets easier for your GTM teams. Sure, something that used to take two weeks to resolve might become one week with process improvements, but that still doesn’t empower your GTM teams to go above and beyond.

Challenges with managing provisioning in house

Things to consider:

  • Can your sales reps offer certain premium features to fast-track a deal without relying on the engineering team?
  • Can your Customer Success or Ops teams offer a limited-period trial for features and automatically revoke access if customers don’t choose to pay or upgrade?
  • Can your support rep temporarily increase usage limits for a customer and resolve a ticket in real-time?

With Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), your teams should be able to view and update entitlements themselves without depending on the engineering team or setting calendar reminders.

If not, the best they can do is spin the timeless classic—‘ Let me check with the dev team and get back to you. We appreciate your patience in the meantime.’—and pray it doesn’t lead to an escalation. 

Why this matters: Your customer experience goes way beyond your product offerings. Delays impacting their businesses can cause you to lose your champions, making it very hard to regain their trust. Also, without automated checks, it’s easy to lose track of temporary promotions, leading to prolonged free access and decreased revenue.

4. Hesitancy or inability to implement pricing and packaging changes faster

To better monetize features and optimize your packaging strategy, you need to observe feature usage data closely, analyze patterns, experiment, and iterate. But when your entitlement logic is entangled with your billing logic, making quick changes to pricing and packaging becomes challenging, stifling your spirit of experimentation.

Things to consider:

  • How easy is it for your product teams to launch beta features for a specific set of customers and validate hypotheses?
  • Can you run packaging experiments without duplicating or bloating the product catalog?
  • How long does it take for you to roll out a packaging change (e.g., moving a feature from plan A to plan B)?

Why this matters: Pricing and packaging changes are key to navigating changing consumer demands and maximizing revenue potential, as Netflix and Peloton demonstrated. Hence, it’s imperative to constantly assess your ability to quickly respond to such needs and stay innovative.

5. Entitlement management system struggles to scale with rapid growth

Until OpenAI launched ChatGPT in 2022, Artificial Intelligence sounded like a vision for the distant future. Fast-forward a couple of years, and AI apps are disrupting the digital landscape. When your business experiences significant growth, whether you’re launching a breakthrough AI app or simply expanding your customer base, your entitlement management system must scale to support this growth.

Things to consider:

  • How well-positioned is your in-house system to accommodate the entitlement information of hundreds of product SKUs?
  • Can your current system meet the infrastructural needs that come with scale, such as computing entitlements for thousands of customers at runtime with low latency and high availability?
  • Can your infrastructure handle peak loads and ensure uninterrupted service during high-demand periods?

Why it matters: Your business’s success depends on many factors, such as category and market shifts. But when the right opportunities arise, you should be able to capitalize on them and not be held back by operational roadblocks.


In-house entitlement management systems might work initially, but as your business grows and evolves, they often become a bottleneck. Recognizing these warning signs can help you transition to more scalable, efficient solutions. Doing so ensures that your engineering resources are focused on innovation, your GTM teams are empowered, and your business can quickly adapt to market changes. Don’t let your entitlement management system prevent you from achieving your full potential.

Discover how Chargebee Entitlements help you overcome these challenges