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March 25, 2014updated 22 Sep 2016 1:16pm

How to get the most out of your cloud billing implementation

6 top tips to ensure your implementation is a success - as told by Louis Hall, CEO, Cerillion Technologies.

By Duncan Macrae

With economic conditions remaining uncertain, businesses are increasingly looking to subscription services in order to tap into recurring business from existing customers; to access a more predictable revenue stream and create a more valuable supplier-customer relationship.

Dubbed the ‘subscription revolution’, this process is transforming traditional businesses and creating new business models. As the revolution gathers momentum, markets become more competitive and businesses look to differentiate their offerings and create value in customer relationships. The need for innovative pricing, billing and product packaging has never been greater.

In the past, subscription services were billed using traditional on-premise billing and accounting systems. Now providers have an alternative solution that is not tied to high CAPEX and lengthy integration projects: Cloud Billing or ‘Billing-as-a-Service’. Awareness of the approach and the business advantages it delivers, from reduced costs to enhanced agility, is growing fast – but how can you choose and implement a solution that taps into those benefits?

CBR has teamed up with Louis Hall, CEO, Cerillion Technologies, a full-service Business Support Systems (BSS) vendor, to offer six top tips for getting the most out of your cloud billing implementation.

Business requirement – today and tomorrow

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Remember you need to think about your business requirements today and in the future. Flexibility is a key element of any successful cloud billing implementation. You may only need to support a single, simple £10 a month subscription today but you might be looking for sophisticated, granular, event-based pricing tomorrow. Seek out solutions that cater for a mix of subscription and usage models and that are designed to manage both B2C and B2B services. That way, you are effectively future-proofing your business.

Scale

Select a solution that can scale to your needs. Everyone wants their business idea to take-off, but when the floodgates open it would be a disaster if your billing system couldn’t take the strain. Make sure that your chosen cloud billing solution can grow with you and support your performance demands as they evolve.

Software updates

Make sure you will benefit from regular software updates. The solution you buy should come with regular software updates which add more advanced functionality – typically monthly but at the very least quarterly. It should also be easy to import and export data, and implementation should be a matter of days rather than weeks or months.

 

Security

Resolve any issues with data security. For many prospective buyers, security will be key. Ask questions around where your data is going to be stored and how secure it is, and make sure you are happy with the answers. Look for providers who can offer flexibility about where your data will be hosted.

The real deal

Ensure you are getting a true cloud billing solution. From the outset, be wary of providers talking about ‘cloud-based systems’. By that, they typically mean that they have taken a standard on-premise billing product and hosted it somewhere in the cloud. They are therefore effectively offering a cloud-hosted system and not a genuine cloud billing solution. It’s an important distinction because a traditional system that is merely hosted in the cloud is unlikely to support the core principles of software-as-a-service (SaaS). If the vendor doesn’t offer access to a free trial, then the alarm bells should be ringing.

Mobility

Choose a system that supports mobility. Finally, to get the most out of your system, make sure you have access to reports and operational metrics whilst on the move. The system should work natively on iPad/tablet devices, allowing you to see how your services are performing and support business decision making wherever you are. After all, if you can’t get the information you need out of the system, it’s unlikely that the system will be effective in supporting your business. And you may end up being left behind by the subscription revolution as a direct result.

 

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