Billing Reimagined: Keys to Billing for the Future

tech

This is the era of disruptive business. Today’s winners are those who rethink their customers’ needs from the bottom up and use technology to meet those needs. For example, AirBnB reimagined the answers to lodging challenges and skyrocketed to the top of the startup multiverse. Uber leveraged smartphones to overturn the taxi industry.

Success in this customer-driven and customer-centric environment also calls for new billing models, as recurring subscription- and usage-based options are increasingly preferred over one-and-done purchases and charges. In order to stay competitive, companies are jumping ship to find a billing system that can handle the needs of a recurring revenue business.

The business of billing is due for disruption, and monster enterprises like Dell, Audi, and HERE trust Aria to help keep them in competition with the upstarts by changing the way they offer and bill for new and existing products and services. Quickly repackaging existing products and services is key to getting to market faster than the competitor. Here’s a breakdown of key factors crucial to success now and in the future.

IOT — The future of computing is the “Internet of Things” (IOT), where everyday devices and objects contain computer chips, sensors, and network connectivity. In a world where your car, your stove, even your tube of toothpaste can be a networked device, opportunities to monetize products multiply exponentially. Making the most of the IOT requires a monetization platform that allows you to customize your billing to the most appropriate use case, including: subscription, metered usage, subscription-plus-usage, overages, one-time sales, recurring charges, and more. When a business can mix and match these pricing models and strategies, it’s empowered to monetize business strategies that may not even exist yet.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) — It’s become a commandment of the new economy that the relationship with your customers comes first and foremost. The key to success in building brand loyalty and CLV is to personalize the customer’s experience in every aspect of their relationship with your business, from website interactions to product contact to support calls. It even extends to often-neglected aspects of the cycle such as billing and dunning. Managing such detailed and specific interactions over many contexts is far outside the scope and capacity of the billing market’s previous leaders, who typically end the customer relationship after payment receipt. The new market leaders understand that CLV is at the core of all sustainable business models and have created the cloud billing solutions that can handle it accordingly.

Revenue Moments — Another exciting aspect of the future business landscape is known s “revenue moments” – referring to the multiple points of interaction between the business and the customer. When handled skillfully and intentionally, each of these “touches” is another chance for revenue or to build CLV and the bond with your customer (see my earlier articles here and here on the limitless possibilities of revenue moments). The challenge is to match billing with each of the very different opportunities afforded by revenue moments. Traditional models are too fixed and clunky to allow this level of responsiveness, but new-age models are built to identify and monetize all the different revenue moments.

Speed-to-Market — Above all, the future is about speed. When a market opportunity is identified, alternate players begin converging to exploit that opening immediately. In order to beat the competition to market, your billing solution has to be part of the solution, not a factor that’s slowing you down. Tom Dibble, CEO of Aria Systems, says, “The time of getting either getting an existing system retrofitted to support a new business model or the time of implementing a system is too slow for the speed at which these companies need to move, because it is too competitive now. Getting something to market quickly is mission critical for them.”[1] You need a platform that makes it possible for enterprises to respond with the agility, intelligence, and finesse associated with scrappy startups.

As you can see, monetization methods and billing software are ready for a revolution. Make sure your company is up-to-speed in both areas. If you have questions or need some advice, Aria is here to help.

[1] http://www.sramanamitra.com/2013/07/24/thought-leaders-in-cloud-computing-interview-with-tom-dibble-ceo-of-aria-systems-part-5/

About the Author

Michael Taft
Michael W. Taft is an author, editor, meditation teacher, and neuroscience junkie. He is currently a meditation coach specializing in secular, science-based meditation training in corporate settings and one-on-one sessions. Michael is the author of several books, including the upcoming The Mindful Geek, and Nondualism: A Brief History of a Timeless Concept, Ego (which he co-authored), as well as the editor of such books as Hardwiring Happiness by Rick Hanson and the upcoming The Science of Enlightenment by Shinzen Young.

The Forrester Wave: Subscription Billing Platforms, Q4 2015

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