We are pleased to announce that the Spring 2020 Release is live!
Check out a few of the new features below.
BillingPlatform Change Management
This feature provides the ability to automate the promotion of changes between your BillingPlatform environments, whether that be changes from development or sandbox to production. This solves a critical compliance requirement for any size company, especially enterprises to be able to track and promote changes within your organization.
Configuration changes can include items from the product catalog, workflows, data model customizations, user roles, etc. Here is an example of what this automation will provide:
- With the configuration deployment tool you can bundle items into a single unit and deploy atomically (all or nothing) into UAT and then to production, with no manual rekeying of data
Not only will this new feature simplify operations, it will also reduce data entry errors caused by manual input, and save time in creating, testing and deploying changes to your system.
Operational System Insights
This new feature provides insight into platform processes and system activities carried out by background processes. The feature will provide a real-time view of system statistics and progress on tasks such as:
- preparing bills
- generating invoices
- computing general ledger entries
- exchanging information with external systems
- bulk loader
It also gives users with the appropriate security profile to start, stop, or restart any process.
This real-time view will provide you with vital statistics about all processes running, execution status, and pending work item counts as well as the peace of mind that all critical processes are up and running.
This feature allows you to combine multiple line item credits onto a single credit memo or issue prior billings adjustments as negative charges on the invoice. In addition to crediting specific line items on an invoice, you can also issue partial credits as well as credit taxes, all through an intuitive user interface. All credit line items will be accessible from Revenue Recognition, which will allow for better revenue recognition entries. And finally, this new functionality will allow you to create detailed credit memos and send them as PDFs to your clients, all in a seamless, easy to automate, workflow.
BillingPlatform is now also able to accommodate credits as “adjustments” on invoices. This means a negative charge can be added to invoices, which will lower the amount of the invoice without generating a credit.
These new features will help speed credit processing, increase the agility of operations, and improve customer satisfaction.
This new feature provides the ability to offer customers and prospects discounts through the use of promotional vouchers or coupons, a great way to increase revenue and gain new customers.
Vouchers/coupons can be used to provide discounts by either:
- fixed dollar amount off
- percentage off
- formula calculated amount
And those amounts can be applied to a specific:
- time period
- set of products
- customer-defined criteria
In addition, you decide the effective dates for using these vouchers/coupons: one-time use, set expiration date, or no expiration date.
The new voucher/coupon management capabilities help to attract additional revenue, increase customer loyalty, increase the use of new services, and help to convert prospects to customers.
Taxation Automation via SureTax Connector
BillingPlatform has completed the integration to Wolters Kluwer SureTax, providing a connector to deliver comprehensive tax calculation.
This high throughput solution accurately calculates taxes down to the invoice line item level. The connector has the flexibility to calculate taxes automatically based on tax location rules for a variety of industries including the complexities of communication service providers such as interstate/intrastate transactions and tax-exempt customers.
The mappings between BillingPlatform transactions and SureTax codes are user-configurable, giving you full control over taxation behavior of existing or new offers.
In case you were not aware, with our BillingSync connector, billing and invoicing data can be managed in and connected directly to Salesforce. This out-of-the-box connector gives your sales team the most accurate and up to date information about their customers from lead to revenue.
Further enhancing the tool, we’ve implemented the following:
- Enhanced sync history: now payloads of failed jobs will be stored automatically, so the user can download them for quick troubleshooting and testing
- “Ignore Nulls” checkbox: this provides the possibility to treat null values differently depending on the field being synchronized
- “Run Now” button: this lets you sync a change in a record by pressing a button so the job will run without affecting the rest of the scheduled processes
- History of job mappings modification: old versions of the sync jobs will be stored to easily track changes, allowing users to experiment with new mappings knowing that they will always be able to revert to a previous version
Taxing on Consolidated Invoice Line Items
For customers using a tax service provider, we have added the capability to consolidate individual line items before sending them to the tax engine, thereby lowering the transaction volume run through the tax provider.
By consolidating line items, tax calculations can happen on aggregate totals rather than on individual line items. As with the rest of the solution, the rules to consolidate invoice line items are customer configurable. In addition, the system can be set up to submit the entire invoice as a single transaction, consolidation can also happen along any number of required dimensions to achieve accurate tax rates with minimal transaction volume.
Below are a couple of examples on how to take advantage of this feature:
- Consolidate invoice line items by their location and SKU codes (customer-defined attribute)
- Consolidate usage per invoice but not apply to recurring charges
The end result for you: significant cost savings and less financial data to store in your system.
BillingPlatform is excited to announce the first features to come from the Lab, the Finance Control Dashboard, BillingPlatform Add-in for MS Excel, and BillingPlatform Customer Portal Templates.
Finance Control Dashboard
The dashboard shows the key aspects of your data in charts and graphs and allows you to click to report details and quickly access other areas of the application for management.
In the dashboard you can search across different objects and see the details. For example, you can search for a particular account and see the associated invoices and payments easily in the dashboard’s type-ahead search feature, then drill down into the details with a single click.
This dashboard is completely configurable, allowing you to add or remove components with simple point and click configuration.
If you are interested in a demo of how the Finance Control Dashboard can help you manage your business or test the beta version, contact us today.
BillingPlatform Add-in for MS Excel
This new add-in provides easy access to a tool finance people know and love – Excel. With a single click from within Excel, instantly generate rich billing and revenue reports for month-end, revenue comparison reporting, and more.
BillingPlatform Customer Portal Templates
With our extensible customer portal templates, create a branded, self-service experience and allow your customers to manage their service and stay on top of their invoices and payments.
We have a number of new features in the works that will help you better manage your operation, save time and cost, and increase your efficiency. Here’s a preview:
- Advanced Collections- our new add-on module will provide the capabilities for you to collect on past due debts and minimize bad debt write-off with a platform-native collections module. With this tool, you will be able to:
- Tailor recovery strategies for any customer segment
- Introduce just the right mix of user performed and automated actions to achieve high touch or low touch debtor interactions
- Payment Gateway Framework - This framework will help reduce the technological barrier and speed deployment of new payment providers as well as allow payment providers to plug-in their own integration to BillingPlatform. In addition, chargeback and settlement notifications will be supported. By expanding our ecosystem of payment providers, customers can select from a pre-built connector or select their payment provider of choice and be assured that BillingPlatform has the ability to link to new providers quickly and easily.
- Audit History and Compliance Management - This capability will be appreciated by all as it gives you the insight to know who changed what and when. The audit system will provide both user-centric (what did this user do?) or data-centric (what changes were made to this entity?) reports.
BillingPlatform Innovation Lab Update
As we announced in the last newsletter, we’ve launched the Innovation Lab, an environment designed to explore and develop new ideas to help solve the business challenges faced by enterprises today and into the future.
We’d now like to introduce you to the Innovation Lab Forum where you can learn more about the innovations coming out of the lab, sign up to beta test versions, and share ideas for future innovations.
Start sharing your ideas, and test our new innovations today at the Innovation Lab Forum.
New innovations in the works:
BillingPlatform Add-in for MS Excel 2.0
After the overwhelming response to the Add-in for MS Excel, we’ve enhanced the Add-in to give you the ability to create and run your own personalized reports. The addition of a report builder provides easy drag and drop capabilities to report on specific fields, aggregate results, and add filters. From this data, create charts and pivot tables to create the reports needed to manage your business.
Product & Package Pricing Simulator
The Pricing Simulator will allow you to construct a new pricing plan for an existing product or assemble products into a new package and simulate the revenue impact. You will be able to run the product or package against a set of customers, a set of invoices, or even look globally on how those price changes or repackaging may affect your overall revenue, either on a customer level or across the organization.
Don’t forget, if you are interested in beta testing any of the innovations or have ideas you'd like to submit for future consideration, check out the new Innovation Lab Forum site today.
Optimizing the User Experience
One of our primary areas of focus in 2019 was optimizing the user experience. We’ve heard from many of you that increasing productivity is critical to your success so we have made it easier than ever to navigate and customize the solution.
New usability features include:
- Reducing the number of clicks
- Predictive search and lookups
- Multi-tab browsing
- Drag-and-drop screen layout
- Responsive UI
- Currency and number formatting options
Updated navigation offers faster access to information while reducing the number of clicks to retrieve pages from navigation history.
The enhanced search feature allows for type-ahead search and predictive lookups based on user inputs. In addition, you can configure the fields used as part of the type-ahead search criteria to match your business needs.
Multi-tab browsing allows you to open multiple tabs connected to the same instance of BillingPlatform. Any link can be opened in a new tab, including those in the new Recently Viewed history panel and hierarchical navigation.
You can also configure your screen layout to be multi-column, based on functions to better represent your business objectives.
We’ve enhanced support for multiple-devices, providing a responsive User Interface (UI) that allows for web pages to resize based on device and screen size.
The new currency and number formatting feature allows you to configure the platform’s currency and numeric field formats, to precisely define how currencies and values appear in the user interface, aligning data formatting with accounting and regional standards.
Expanding the Depth and Breadth
of the Billing Platform
Another area of focus is to expand the depth and breadth of the solution to increase your operational efficiency. We understand the important role our platform plays in helping to reduce errors and to stay ahead of the competition. These features are designed to enhance billing processes to improve business automation, deploy pricing tactics that customers will love, and automate payment processing.
Accumulating Usage lets you offer tiered pricing over a period of time, that is, accumulate usage for multiple invoice periods.
In addition to setting the accumulation period, you can also set the pricing structure to either incremental or bulk.
Example: You define tiers as:
- 0-10,000 units sold at $1.00 per unit
- 10,001-20,000 at $0.50 per unit
- 20,001 and above at $0.25 per unit
Under the current incremental tier behavior, the customer has one invoicing cycle to qualify for a cheaper tier, whatever usage they generated in the prior invoice cycles is ignored. So if a customer purchased 15,000 units over two months – 9,000 units purchased in one invoice cycle and 6,000 units purchased in the next invoice cycle – they pay $15,000 = 9,000 x $1.00 + 6,000 x $1.00.
Now, usage can be accumulated over a specified period of time. In the same example of purchasing, 15,000 units over two invoice cycles, the customer pays $7,500 = 15,000 x $0.50.
Because usage accumulations happen over multiple invoicing periods, the system now shows usage accumulated in each invoicing period.
Accumulators can also be set on contract rates, which is helpful for customers who use contracts to store rates or used in hierarchies. This allows you to apply the tiering model on the combined total of usage taken from several accounts measured over multiple billing periods. In this case, usage from child accounts can be accumulated onto the parent account.
Strengthening Subscription Management Models
To strengthen subscription management, we’ve updated some of the more daunting activities that were typically done manually in the past:
- Co-terms. For custumers with multiple subscriptions, they now have the option to renew those subscriptions on the same date regardless of the purchase date,
- Mid-cycle quantity changes. Customers on a subscription plan can change the quantity of their subscription mid-cycle with an accurate reflection of those changes on their invoice.
- Proration. When making changes to subscription renewal dates (co-terms) and mid-cycle changes, rates are prorated accordingly, ensuring customers are accurately charged for the portion of the services they’ve used.
Wondering how this helps?
Co-terms allows a customer to receive all charges from multiple subscriptions on the same date making their spending more predictable.
Mid-cycle quantity changes alleviate you from having to cancel and recreate a subscription for a customer who wants to make a change to a subscription, streamlining invoice presentment, scrutinizing changes on accounts, and improving the overall user experience.
Automation of Lockbox Payments
Do you have an electronic or lockbox payment file that you receive from your bank? If so, you are in luck, BillingPlatform has a payment lockbox feature that automates the processing of those files for payment reconciliation.
Now, receivable reconciliation becomes an automated activity that ensures accurate and matching account balance between your billing and financial systems.
Accommodating New Security Regulations
Security and protecting your customer data are top-of-mind at BillingPlatform. We constantly update our platform to adhere to the latest security standards. Two recent updates have been made to address Payment Service Directive 2 (PSD2) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM).
PSD2 to Payment Service Directive 2 (PSD2)
PSD2 is a regulation passed by the EU that aims to increase online payment security and expand the financial services ecosystem. The goal of PSD2 is to fight fraud by requiring stricter authentication for payments made by EU shoppers.
For those impacted by PSD2, BillingPlatform offers built-in authentication logic that is available on payments through our customer-facing portal or administrative interface.
Our solution extends to bank financial systems to help recover rejected payments and handle any ambiguous billing scenario that would otherwise create friction during the PSD2 transition.
Learn more about PSD2 compliance here.
DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)
BillingPlatform supports DKIM, the security protocol that helps prevent spoofing of outgoing emails by third parties. This means that all emails originating from BillingPlatform (customer welcome email, account statements, credit card expiration notices, etc) are authenticated and authorized as valid through the recipients’ processes.
For information on how to take advantage of these features, contact us.
BillingPlatform Launches Innovation Lab
BillingPlatform is pleased to announce the launch of the Innovation Lab--an environment designed to explore and develop new ideas to help solve the business challenges faced by enterprises today and into the future.
This new lab reinforces BillingPlatform’s commitment to leadership and innovation in order to advance global monetization processes and to accelerate digital transformation for our customers. It is intended to be a source of fresh ideas to solve unmet needs and pain points and to add credibility and integrity to the BillingPlatform solution. In addition to our market research, customers, employees, and industry analysts will be invited to offer ideas to explore.
As working prototypes are developed, customers will get a chance to experience them in their beta version and provide feedback as a critical part of the innovation process. Prototypes that are proven successful through the Innovation Lab will be graduated to a position on the roadmap to become a part of the standard offering.
We look forward to launching our first prototype in the coming weeks as well as rolling out a forum to solicit ideas. In the meantime, if you have suggestions for us to pursue, please contact us.
As we continue to build out the solution to help enterprises transform their billing operations, here is a preview of some of the features we plan to release in the coming months:
- Our expanded Credit Posting feature will allow you to credit multiple invoice line items on a single credit. In addition, the credit memo document can be generated with customer defined document templates and level of detail. This new feature will help to speed the process between issuing a credit and notifying the customer of the credit, increasing the agility of your operation and improving customer satisfaction.
- The Platform Management Console is bound to become a favorite tool. The console will provide visibility into platform processes and metrics, such as progression of invoice close or usage processing, inbound and outbound messaging queues, and status of background processes responsible for many activities within the system all of which are is vital for effectively monitoring billing operations. With this console, you will be able to see that critical processes are up and running, and you will have a real-time view of statistics about all processes such as execution status and pending count of items. The user, subject to their security profile, can have complete control over starting, stopping, or restarting any of the processes.
- With the Automated Configuration Deployment feature, you will be able to automate the promotion of changes between environments. From product catalog entries to revenue recognition rules, from entity changes to workflows, any aspect of the platform modified through configuration can be packaged into reusable bundles and then deployed with a press of a button. Building processes around reusable bundles means the same bundle can be repeatedly deployed across any number of organizations streamlining operations.