Billing and subscription management optimization – Part One

Finding a reliable monthly subscription payment system is a challenge for many organizations, as a result, criteria are used to evaluate all potential options. However, recent data suggests companies value some characteristics more than others.

From February to April 2012, Gatepoint Research invited 1,037 executives to participate in a survey themed Billing and Subscription Management Optimization Strategies, a study that examined high-ranking business officials’ responses to their recurring billing systems. This research revealed some surprising results, 40 percent of respondents said they were using homegrown systems to manage their subscription-based billing. There are plenty of factors that might impact participants’ responses.

Survey observations
Responders reported they were reasonably satisfied with their existing billing and systems, yet they indicated that there is still plenty of room for improvement.

Many businesses have chosen to use a software as a service (SaaS) subscription-based billing platform – an option that provides several benefits. With SaaS systems, organizations gain control over the entire client experience, from customer acquisition to consumer care. The ability to manage automated recurring billing simplifies operations for businesses and ensures clients receive consistent, error-free charges every month.

Researchers found that 40 percent of survey respondents intend to switch to SaaS or cloud-based solutions in the future. Participants preferred flexibility and tiered usage models in their billing and subscription systems, so the choice to go with an option that emphasizes control over the client experience delivers maximum value.

The survey showed nearly 40 percent of responders currently use flat subscription invoicing, so a shift toward SaaS-based subscription payment systems represents a dramatic change. However, making the switch is quick and easy for companies looking to enhance their subscription management. notes there are several questions a business should consider before employing such a system. Companies might evaluate the categories that exist for SaaS applications, how this software can be effectively governed and the associated security standards. While it could take time for organizations to make their decisions regarding this option, research and evaluation may help businesses maximize the value of their investment.

While survey participants showed a willingness to move toward SaaS-based billing platforms, understanding will use these solutions in their organizations offers greater insight into the technology’s value.

High-ranking executives took part in this survey as 68 percent of participants were at the director level or above in their respective organizations. Additionally, 38 percent of respondents were working as vice presidents. All of the participants voluntarily took part in the survey.

While respondents had some of the highest-ranking positions in their companies, there was no consensus about the type of software that they used to manage their current billing needs. Researchers failed to find one billing system that dominated the market among responders, a telling statistic from this study.

There are two conclusions that could be drawn from this result. First, it shows that businesses have shown no preference toward one billing solution. Many options exist, but each has its pros and cons, so organizations might be waiting to find the ideal solution before they update their systems.

Second, businesses may have failed to show a preference as they could maintain flexibility to complete billing upgrades in the near future. Most responders favored flat rate subscription invoicing, but few may enjoy the current options available, which makes it surprising that more companies are not exploring the possibilities of using an SaaS-based billing platform.

See Part Two next week to learn more about the increasing capabilities business executives value from their billing systems along with the potential of these systems.