Launching a new billing system is no easy feat – it’s a critical system that if poorly implemented can be a giant headache. For example, you can launch a system that’s highly customized to fit the individual preferences of one billing operator, but proves difficult for anyone else to use or understand. Another example would be a new billing system that looked good on paper, but once launched is so rigid that it requires manual processing for complex scenarios, resulting in long hours of labor when trying to close the books.
Now imagine you finally find the billing management platform that addresses your business requirements and is flexible enough to change with evolving needs. Full speed ahead, right? Not so fast! Pause and take time to carefully craft a plan to ensure that the requirements and timeline for the project are clearly defined–or you could find yourself dealing with workarounds, re-work, and delays. Insist on a solid plan for taking you from the current billing system to the new solution.
Defining a launch methodology is a crucial first step – offering a framework for planning and execution of the deliverables.
Using a proven methodology in system deployment helps ensure:
- The scope and goals of the project are defined
- Expectations are clear when everyone is following the same plan
- Tasks can be easily prioritized
- Deliverables can be completed on a predictable timeline
- Efficient team dynamics where everyone understands next steps and dependencies
Without a methodology in place, it is likely that critical planning steps get bypassed, such as ensuring that everyone has a shared understanding of the project lifecycle. As a result, it is easy for frustration to crop up and continue to increase as the project moves forward. You run the risk of creating a system that doesn’t fit your needs. Without clear guidelines for system goals and process, updates will need to be made several times and the process draws out, tying up time and resources.
The right methodology, in contrast, will smooth a delivery cycle and reduce stress.
Our Unique Deployment Methodology
BillingPlatform employs a highly collaborative deployment model to ensure your billing system meets all of your needs once it’s launched. While other billing providers often require their customers to employ outside consultants and a few technology partners, BillingPlatform offers our in-house team of experts to guide you and help to simplify any complex billing scenario. Our professional services team prides themselves on being the go-to providers for the industry’s most difficult billing use cases. This kind of track record can only be accomplished with a solid launch methodology.
Our customers are not required to know or understand the intricacies of product and software development. That’s why we’re here. At BillingPlatform, we embrace a hybrid methodology that incorporates features from the traditional waterfall methodology, including critical milestones for planning, and agile delivery, including collaborative build cycles and a constant feedback loop. This constant feedback means that we handle the technical aspects of the system, ensuring that you get the system you want.
Above you see common project methodologies that BillingPlatform combines into our hybrid launch methodology, which is illustrated below.
Phase 1: Definition and Analysis
Our process begins with Definition and Analysis. At BillingPlatform, we work to understand our client’s current processes, the pain points, what the desired outcome is, and how we’re going to achieve it. We prefer to illustrate this through documenting user stories that describe outcomes in plain language.
When the documentation is complete, we obtain sign-off and use the user stories as a baseline for the tasks that need to be completed during the project. This allows us to confirm scope, assumptions and the project plan, including dependencies.
During this phase of project definition and problem analysis, we discuss three main areas of impact–People, process, and technology. It’s important to make sure that all stakeholders, from management to end users, are involved at this step. Having everyone on the same page goes a long way toward alleviating frustrations, ambiguity, and issues down the road.
Phase 2: Construction
Next, we move into the Construction phase, where we begin to complete the tasks that were documented in the Definition and Analysis phase. For BillingPlatform, this phase is where our system is configured and tested to meet the unique needs of each client. We break this work into configuration sprints, working on changes in groups rather than making the entire list of changes at once.
Throughout the entire process, we meet with our clients to ensure that we’re not wasting time– ours, or the client’s– working on something that just isn’t right. Regular check-ins and demos as milestones are completed ensure the project is on the right track.
Once configuration is complete, we present a final, overview demo to the client for sign-off and approval.
After the system has been presented and approved, we begin end-to-end testing of the construction. This is where we check that the client’s system works as expected and integrates properly with any connected systems.
Finally, we move to user-acceptance testing. During this step, we ask the employees who will be using the system daily to provide hands-on testing and to offer any feedback or final guidance. The daily users are best equipped to judge the project’s success and how the system will perform in real-world scenarios.
Phase 3: Transition
When testing is complete, we move into the Transition phase. We hold technical knowledge transfer sessions to bring everyone up to speed on what changes were made and how to manage the implementation going forward. If we run into any issues that must be fixed in this phase, we go back into construction mode and retest before re-entering Transition. It’s better to step back and rework, than to fix one thing on the fly and unintentionally introduce new problems.
The Transition phase is also where we train the trainers, working with those in the company who will oversee BillingPlatform. We have found it is most effective to train and make experts of a handful of our client’s employees–giving them the tools to train other colleagues. This is beneficial because our clients know best how the individuals in their own organization learn. Once trained, your on-site experts will be on hand to answer questions as the transition moves forward, and these experts can show new team members in the company how to use the system.
After the Transition phase, our model briefly moves to a post-deployment support phase, incorporating any requested adjustments and answering any questions as they arise, before we consider the project complete and we move into everyday, ongoing support.
Build a Solution for Your Success
Following the methodology defined in the three phases described above simplifies the process of launching your new billing system. BillingPlatform has successfully implemented billing management platforms for some of the most complex business scenarios in many industries ranging from telecommunications to software to airport operations. Our methodology is proven to yield dramatic results for our customers. We can help you manage expectations, meet deadlines, reduce the stress of a major transition, and ensure your new billing system’s success.
Interested in learning more? Discover how BillingPlatform can help Software as a Service companies maintain the most efficient and successful billing practices, download our Enterprise Guide to Billing for SaaS. Contact our team today