March 3, 2010 | Authored by: Vindicia Team
Having spent nearly all of the last two decades working on billing systems, I’ve been through I-can’t-count-how-many different product selection exercises.
A typical scenario goes as follows:
- Someone in the organization decides that they’ve “had enough” and they start the ball rolling to select a new billing platform.
- A group of internal subject matter experts gather to consider the things a new billing system must do.
- These thoughts are collected in a “Requirements List”, which is watered, fertilized (and rarely, if ever, pruned). The requirements list rapidly grows into a full blown RFP.
- RFP is sent to vendors.
- Shoes are shined, hair is combed, and promises are made that the platform being pitched will do exactly what you’ve asked.
- And then the real work begins…
The problem with this process is that it supposes that anyone out there has a billing system that matches exactly the way your team thinks of billing—and also that your team has nailed with 100% accuracy the needs of the organization not only today, but over the next 7-10 years. I’ve been involved in projects ranging from straightforward SaaS deployments to “Enterprise Software” on up to “custom built” solutions. No single delivery strategies has the corner on the market for success.
Many clients have told me that the one thing that tips the scales in favor of success is expertise. Deploying a billing platform is a process filled with hundreds of small decisions. Should I accept or reject this AVS return code? Which screen layout will increase conversion rates? When should we send email to our customers? How should my retry cycle change based on my product offerings? The key measurement of a services team is not only whether they know the answers to the questions, but do they know which questions to ask? That is the key to maximizing value from the billing system.
My advice is simple: when the experts gather and start watering the requirements tree, make sure they give consideration to the roots of the tree. Make sure the services team of your billing partner can help guide you through not just the technical implementation, but the key business decisions that will have the greatest impact on your revenue.
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