There’s a lot of talk about the digital economy. However, you rarely come across an explanation of what it actually is, and why flexible billing software is essential for the digital age. To start, the digital economy is a term used to describe the ubiquitous use of technology and applications. This includes hardware, software and applications, plus more recent advancements such as the Internet of Things (IoT), machine-to-machine (M2M), artificial intelligence (AI), augmented and virtual reality, cloud computing, blockchain, robotics and autonomous vehicles. And, the common denominator is data – massive amounts of data.
It’s estimated that at the start of 2020, the digital world consisted of 44 zettabytes (ZB) of data. To put it in perspective, the Great Wall of China consists of 3,873,000,000 bricks. If the Great Wall was constructed out of data instead of bricks, China would have 258 walls instead of one. As data continues to fuel nearly every aspect of today’s economy, it’s creating enormous opportunities for businesses. Opportunities to not only better compete but thrive through innovative pricing and billing strategies.
Flexible Billing Software Is A Must In The Digital Economy
Innovation will drive the next wave of digital offerings, and companies know that innovation requires flexibility and speed. To this end, digital transformation has made its way into every part of the business, including business operations. There’s no doubt that billing – especially flexible, cloud-based billing solutions – will be a key differentiator, especially if your business model includes driving revenue from data usage.
Let’s explore the top five reasons flexible billing software is essential for businesses to thrive in today’s fast-paced digital economy.
1) Launch new offerings and services faster
How quickly you launch new offerings can be the difference between success and failure. The digital economy moves at lightning speed, and to remain viable you need to launch new products, services and bundles faster than the competition. Doing this requires an agile billing solution that allows you to quickly launch an unlimited number of offerings. More specifically, you need a system that supports multiple billing use cases. These include one-time charges, subscription billing, usage-based billing or hybrid-based billing in a single solution.
2) Capture new revenue streams
Research from International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates there will be 41.6 billion connected IoT devices, generating 79.4 ZB of data in 2025. As the number of connected devices continues growing, companies can create new revenue streams by collecting and converting raw usage data from multiple sources. However, data from various sources must be consolidated before you can make money from it. To ensure no revenue is left behind, you need the ability to gather and normalize the data – regardless of its origins. This requires an automated billing system that supports usage collection and mediation.
3) Reduce costs
Digital transformation offers companies many ways to cut costs. Topping the list is cloud delivery and cloud services, such as cloud-based billing. Let’s take a look at 3 of the biggest monetary benefits of moving to a cloud-based billing solution.
- Lower capital expenses for hardware and software: Equipment costs generally include computers, monitors, software, data storage, etc. As your business grows so does the need for more equipment and resources. Cloud-based platforms provide the ability to scale up or down without incurring substantial costs.
- Reduce operating expenses: The cost of ongoing maintenance and support can quickly get expensive. When moving to a cloud-based billing system, regular maintenance and updates are handled through your regular fees, plus you get experienced IT staff at minimal cost.
- Eliminate unplanned direct and indirect costs: Say an in-house system goes down. Your goal is to get the system up and running as quickly as possible, which results in an unplanned outlay of cash. In addition, you face the possibility of incurring indirect costs resulting from downtime or market delays. These too can result in lost revenue. Instead of investing money and resources in system upkeep, a cloud-based billing system enables you to invest in your business to keep it moving forward.
4) Make billing a value-added function
From a cost and utility perspective, building common standardized interfaces makes the most sense. Platform as a service (PAAS) billing transforms the very nature of billing into a value-added function. Previously a back-office, post-hoc process, this can be pushed to the front of the customer experience, personalized, and even monetized. In addition, new revenue streams can be explored with less risk. New services can be quickly deployed, and scaling to meet demand can quickly happen at a lower cost.
5) Improve the customer experience
Today’s customer has high expectations and is willing to churn faster than ever before. A single poor experience could result in customers moving to the competition, putting your business at risk. Customers want you to know them, their preferences, and quickly respond to their needs. For example, customers expect notifications when their credit cards near expiration, or if they’re at risk of exceeding usage limits. With a flexible cloud-based billing system you’re able to automate these (and other) types of communications.
Customers also expect complete transparency. A customer portal can provide all the information they need such as real-time access to usage data, account history or upcoming invoices. To deliver an exceptional experience, you need access to customer information, which typically resides in disparate systems. Your billing system should provide seamless integration to your other systems such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM). That way you have all of the customer information needed to deliver the kind of experiences your customers expect.
Billing for the Digital Economy
The digital economy demands companies have systems and infrastructure that are nimble and flexible to support ever-changing global and technology paradigms. From a billing perspective, companies need flexible billing software that is fast and efficient enough to support any combination of products and services, as well as any mix of charging models.
As the only billing solution that supports any product, any service, and any business model, BillingPlatform empowers companies to quickly monetize revenue opportunities and deliver exceptional customer experiences. Reach out to our team today and learn more.