While the billing software provider market is well-established and mature, a new breed of vendors has emerged. These applications address billing but, more importantly, enable organizations to adopt advanced digital business models, maximizing existing investments in front- and back-office systems.
Founded 10 years ago, BillingPlatform represents a later generation of billing systems that support the needs of organizations with mixed business models. Today, many organizations are characterized as having or are in the process of adopting a mixed revenue approach. This supports additional revenue and pricing models beyond the traditional, one-time sales models, either through new product and service extensions (think subscription-based accident detection and roadside assistance from car companies) or acquired businesses that are already using subscription and usage-based pricing models. In these examples, working and integrating with existing front- and back-office systems is of major importance, both from an operational point of view in the customer experience but also to create a single, unified data set that is an important source of analytics to better support the customer life cycle. Due to a flexible, unified data model and extensive connector and integration features, BillingPlatform is emerging as a key technology provider for organizations looking to update business capabilities without replacing or modifying existing enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management systems.
While some vendors in this space presume that all businesses are “digitally native” and use subscription pricing, the vast majority of sales organizations do not fall into this category. Ventana Research asserts that by 2024, division of the subscription management software market between digitally native and mixed business models will converge to platforms that can provide for both.
Organizations often find that existing technology is challenged by the needs of subscription and usage-based business models operated alongside traditional, one-time sale models. Likewise, product and service extensions necessary to remain competitive and serve changing customer expectations challenge the quote-to-cash process. BillingPlatform addresses this dynamic environment by supporting both the computational needs of more complex pricing and providing the orchestration needed to ensure the customer perceives a unified experience, regardless of the diversity of legacy back-end systems supporting internal business and product teams and processes.
BillingPlatform has recently developed more features for configure, price and quote (CPQ) and revenue recognition to support the needs of organizations offering subscription models. CPQ systems provide guardrails as part of the selling and ordering process to ensure that only validated product and service combinations are offered to the customer, that any price adjustment from list is made under an approval process and, most importantly, that there is no need to “walk back” a quote that is not compliant or contains errors. Quotes, on acceptance and closing of the sale, are important components of any order or contract and flow to provisioning, billing, and invoicing. Revenue recognition is of increasing importance to organizations offering subscription, usage, and milestone revenue models, and BillingPlatform tightly integrates revenue recognition rules where needed, even to point of sale as part of the quoting process. Revenue is considered earlier, and the implications can be reviewed in real time rather than as a back-office, disconnected process. In addition to accuracy, it also affords visibility to revenue recognition implications for prospective changes to existing contracts and orders.
In addition to a unified and flexible data model, BillingPlatform also provides a set of prebuilt connectors for common front- and back-office vendors such as Oracle, Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics as well as application programming interfaces to support integration with other vendors and proprietary systems. The software also includes collection capabilities as well as payment gateway features to support the full customer life cycle experience. A BillingPlatform release in September 2022 introduced further enhancements to a range of billing process configuration and integration options in order to make the platform more seamless in digital commerce, configure and sell, bill and invoice, pay and collect, recognize and report, and nurture and grow revenue.
As the shift to a mixed revenue model continues, organizations must ensure technology enhancements are not adopted simply to satisfy the need to advance the quote-to-cash process. The source data in BillingPlatform’s unified data model, for example, can be used to better understand how to remove obstacles from the sales process. The data can also be incorporated in models that predict customer churn and product and service usage. In addition, organizations will, over time, look to vendors like BillingPlatform to help forecast revenue streams, evaluate bundles and pricing incentives, and quickly operationalize successfully tested options into billing and monetization systems.
Organizations do not need to compromise on delivering seamless customer experiences just to advance revenue models for subscription and usage billing. Consider vendors like BillingPlatform that support mixed business models without replacing current front- and back-office systems.