Four Features that Automate the Billing Process

May 25, 2017

If you have a complex billing model, your main goal is to automate as much of it as possible so that you can focus less on maintenance and operation and more on innovation and growth. When selecting a billing vendor, it’s important to keep in mind that the billing system should conform to your business, not the other way around. A truly agile monetization platform should simplify complex processes, dramatically reduce operating expenses and increase speed to market. Below are four things to look for.


 

1. Dynamic Rating Logic

For organizations whose products don’t fit into the traditional metered or subscription models, there’s a solution that provides tremendous flexibility without requiring custom code or add-ons. Dynamic rating logic using configurable formulas allows you to charge based on any dimension or logical path.

 

The ability for end-users to formulate complex algorithms for rating is supported by self-aware systems that give the user access to the underlying data. This allows the user to build decision logic around elements of the customer or product, or other components of the surrounding business environment like time or region.

 

Classic examples of logic-based rating are: incentives for off-peak hours, preferred usage discounts, and pricing based on physical dimensions such as length and width. With configurable dynamic rating logic you are free to design and control your strategic product and pricing initiatives with the necessary speed and specificity.

 

2. Advanced Workflow Automation

Workflow allows you to automate key business processes around events, attributes, and/or time. It adds a configurable layer to an information system that transforms it from a simple data repository to an intelligent, aware servant to your business operation. For example, many vendors offer this feature to remind customers when their subscriptions are about to expire, automate dunning flows, apply discounts, etc. But some companies require more advanced automation that can only be accomplished on a truly self-aware, metadata-driven monetization platform.

 

Advanced workflow not only automates simple credit card expiration notifications, rate adjustments, taxes, penalties, etc., but also supports comprehensive business logic, formulas, and rules that can be easily defined without having to hire a developer to write and deploy custom code. This gives your organization the ability to provide advanced automation that can seamlessly execute pricing events based on specific conditions; trigger custom invoice, credit, or CPQ approval flows; or automate sophisticated mediation and charge routing processes. It essentially gives the organization a way to quickly and creatively support and automate any business or system process.

 

3. Business Productivity Toolkit

This feature allows you to easily create extensions to your application without having to write thousands of lines of code with lengthy release cycles. With a business productivity toolkit (or web toolkit), you can rapidly deliver powerful, user interface widgets that greatly enhance end user productivity utilizing simple tags and JavaScript commands.

 

A few vertical-specific examples include:

 

Telecommunications
The ability to simplify a complex assembly of pricing packages across a catalog of thousands of products and services with multiple tiers and rate overrides.

 

Media
The ability to quickly configure percentage-based pricing options across millions of media products for rent to millions of subscribers nationwide.

 

Ports and Logistics
The ability to manage approval processes for hundreds of demurrage invoices in bulk, and calculate time-based rating splits across several cargo containers according to pricing tiers, discount periods, and holidays across an adjustable date range.

 

A powerful business productivity toolkit gives you the creative control to enhance your front-end application to help team members work faster with more accuracy to give your organization and its customers the best service possible, regardless of industry.

 

4. Event-based billing cycles

Companies who have large invoices that contain an array of charges are sometimes bogged down when a customer disputes a single charge on these massive invoices. One solution to this problem is to split a large invoice into multiple smaller invoices and send each invoice out to the appropriate approvers as soon as the product or service is delivered. The problem is that doing this manually can be a long, error-prone process.

 

The good news is that this entire process can be easily automated with a feature called event-based invoicing cycles. This feature allows you to define invoicing cycles based on a single event (or group of events) that signals the close and delivery of an invoice. It also provides the ability to group like charges around a defined filter to essentially split invoices along a defined boundary. Customers will be sent invoices automatically as soon as the particular “event” is triggered, creating a real-time, targeted invoicing process that can significantly simplify and accelerate the order to cash process.

 

Final Thoughts

The above features are just a few examples of how a self-aware, agile monetization platform can significantly influence a business’s ability to be competitively responsive and operationally efficient. In the new world of technology and globalization, the need for speed is greater than ever. Automation gained through advanced information systems is a key component to lowering costs and realizing efficiency. These key components are borne on a metadata platform that enables businesses to rapidly and specifically define the ways in which this new automation behaves within the boundaries of their specific business model. 

Author: Nathan Shinn

Nathan Shinn, co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Billing Platform, is known for his tireless work ethic and innovative vision ensuring the success of his company, clients and employees. As an engineer with over 20 years of experience in high-volume, enterprise information systems, he is closely involved in the technical evolution of the platform. Nathan earned his degree in Computer Information Systems from the Colorado State University, graduating Summa Cum Laude. In the following years, he gained a reputation as one of the industry’s leading authorities on high-volume software systems, Enterprise Billing and Cloud technology.

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