Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, TJ Randall

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, @CloudExpo, @DXWorldExpo, SDN Journal

Containers Expo Blog: Article

Billing: A Necessary Evil or a Business Helper?

Billing can, in fact, be very good – for service provider employees, for customers and for service provider revenues

Apparently, some people don't like billing systems much. "Billing systems are boring, complicated and unhelpful." We might need a billing system, those people say, but we don't need to like it.

Yet people do actually like to get money for the services they sell. They think it's important to be remunerated for the products and services they deliver to their customers. They welcome the revenue that flows in from a billing process that matches deliverables to customers and ensures that payments are received. And still, people don't like billing systems.

People like to dream up imaginative pricing schemes to stimulate usage and increase profitability. They devise loyalty schemes, attractive and sophisticated discount plans, and subtle pricing structures, all to encourage service stickiness and growth. Still, billing systems are just not seen as that important, except, of course, to the few people who actually work in the billing department.

Everyone else seems to see billing as a necessary evil - an annoying overhead on top of the smart technology that actually delivers the services.

How else do we explain that in a new services company, decision-makers typically start considering billing needs too late in the process? Sometimes people wake up to the need for a billing system only after they've handled the higher priority tasks of selecting executive office chairs and choosing coffee machines for the break room.

The idea that people see billing as a necessary evil can also explain why it is that when innovators are working out the details of their exciting new technology-based services companies, somehow they conceive the services as being somewhat independent of monetization.

This could also explain the reluctance of product managers to include billing people in their service launch planning processes. Those billing headaches just spoil the fun.

Then there's the embarrassment when the launch planning team realizes that the launch schedule can't be achieved because everyone assumed that billing would be easy. Or the panic when it turns out that the old billing system can't be used to make those new services a reality.

Without getting too psychological, how can we explain this reluctance to deal with and even embrace the necessity of billing? One possibility is that, for many, past experiences with billing systems have been rather unpleasant. New systems arrived late and over budget and did not deliver all the functionality promised. People may have grown up working with systems that could potentially do a lot, but needed teams of experienced gurus to implement any changes. Or, time and again, they found the billing system to be a big road block. They learned that billing systems merely send out bills, but otherwise don't actually contribute much to a positive customer experience. People think that way because their experiences taught them that.

This can be a self-perpetuating cycle. The idea that billing is a necessary evil leads to the view that if it's necessary to have any billing at all, it should be as simple and cheap as possible. When a billing system is added as a hasty afterthought and not expected to do more than consolidate numbers and send out bills, then it can appear sensible to buy the least expensive and simplest solution available. This leads to people buying inadequate systems and having negative experiences with those inadequate systems, which then confirms the notion that billing systems are a pain and more of a hindrance than a help. And so the cycle continues.

This needs to change. MetraTech was one of the first companies to design billing technology from the ground up to support and encourage creativity and innovation in products and services. Since then, other billing vendors have been moving in that direction too, although many have been encumbered by trying to adapt legacy systems designed for an earlier age.

Billing systems should give business users an array of tools and capabilities that make the development and launch of new services quicker, simpler and less risky. We have designed our platform to provide additional capabilities that liberate product teams to innovate in all the areas of price structures, discounting, loyalty, behavioral billing, and so on. The billing system becomes a supporter of new services and innovative ways of addressing the market - absolutely not a hindrance and definitely a help.

Billing is no longer a necessary evil. Billing remains, of course, necessary and will continue to be an essential function in any modern company. But far from being evil, billing can, in fact, be very good - good for service provider employees, good for customers, and good for service provider revenues and margins. We're not asking everyone to love billing as we do. Just give your billing department kudos from time to time, and if you haven't done so already, treat yourselves to a billing system that can be a business helper.

More Stories By Esmeralda Swartz

Esmeralda Swartz is VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud, BUSS. She has spent 15 years as a marketing, product management, and business development technology executive bringing disruptive technologies and companies to market. Esmeralda was CMO of MetraTech, now part of Ericsson. At MetraTech, Esmeralda was responsible for go-to-market strategy and execution for enterprise and SaaS products, product management, business development and partner programs. Prior to MetraTech, Esmeralda was co-founder, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Lightwolf Technologies, a big data management startup. She was previously co-founder and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development of Soapstone Networks, a developer of resource and service control software, now part of Extreme Networks.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, is an accomplished digital business executive with extensive global expertise as a strategist, technologist, innovator, marketer, and communicator. For over 30 years across five continents, he has built success with Fortune 500 corporations, vendors, governments, and as a leading research analyst and consultant.
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
Announcing Poland #DigitalTransformation Pavilion
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors!
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
HyperConvergence came to market with the objective of being simple, flexible and to help drive down operating expenses. It reduced the footprint by bundling the compute/storage/network into one box. This brought a new set of challenges as the HyperConverged vendors are very focused on their own proprietary building blocks. If you want to scale in a certain way, let's say you identified a need for more storage and want to add a device that is not sold by the HyperConverged vendor, forget about it...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous ar...
"We're focused on how to get some of the attributes that you would expect from an Amazon, Azure, Google, and doing that on-prem. We believe today that you can actually get those types of things done with certain architectures available in the market today," explained Steve Conner, VP of Sales at Cloudistics, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Sanjeev Sharma Joins November 11-13, 2018 @DevOpsSummit at @CloudEXPO New York Faculty. Sanjeev Sharma is an internationally known DevOps and Cloud Transformation thought leader, technology executive, and author. Sanjeev's industry experience includes tenures as CTO, Technical Sales leader, and Cloud Architect leader. As an IBM Distinguished Engineer, Sanjeev is recognized at the highest levels of IBM's core of technical leaders.
As Cybric's Chief Technology Officer, Mike D. Kail is responsible for the strategic vision and technical direction of the platform. Prior to founding Cybric, Mike was Yahoo's CIO and SVP of Infrastructure, where he led the IT and Data Center functions for the company. He has more than 24 years of IT Operations experience with a focus on highly-scalable architectures.
JETRO showcased Japan Digital Transformation Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo® at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get...