Next up in our “Back to Billing Basics” series, let’s look at mediation: the process of converting raw usage data into information that’s usable for calculating invoice charges. This process is what allows businesses to bill on a variety of usage-based, consumption-based, and pay-as-you-go models, turning raw usage data into timely, accurate invoices customers can easily interpret and pay. But, like so many complex billing processes, mediation is easier defined than done. In a recent article for Forbes, Gotransverse founder and CEO James Messer breaks the process into five main steps.

  • Aggregation: Breaking a single event, like a communication or streaming video, into multiple events that the billing system can process.
  • Correlation: The process of compiling the aggregated data to define a single event.
  • Validation: Confirming (or validating) each individual event field, including time, date, usage, and more.
  • Augmentation: Converting all this data into a format the billing data system can read.
  • Transformation: Creating transactional records to be used for billing the customer.

So, what does all this mean in laymen’s terms? Essentially, usage data may come from many sources and in many forms. But none of that raw data will mean anything to customers (or the finance team, for that matter) if it’s printed directly onto an invoice. It must first be cleaned up and transformed into a standard format that is easily digestible for the billing platform, billing team, and customers. Once the mediation process is complete, raw usage information is ready to be rated — converted into pricing in dollars and cents (or any number of global currencies and formats) — and added to customers’ accounts and invoices to make payments and revenue recognition as smooth as everything leading up to them.

How Do Businesses Mediate Usage Data?

There are a few options when it comes to mediating data.

The process can be done by hand if the data is simple enough and the volumes are low enough, but with any amount of growth, manual mediation will be too cumbersome, inefficient, and error-prone, costing the business both money and customer favor. It can also be programmed in, but that too has its limitations when adding new types of usage data and with growth.

Legacy billing systems may be able to handle more complex mediation needs, juggling a few data sources and configuration rules, but they, too, will fall short or become extremely costly in sophisticated and high-volume situations, ultimately hindering the business’ growth.

Usage-based billing is unique in the immense volume of events that need to get processed in near real-time. Outdated systems and processes simply can’t keep up with the demand. Rather, the best mediation approach for a growing, evolving business is to automate the process with the help of an agile billing system. The result: streamlined data processing, minimized revenue leakage, and a frictionless billing process. We recently did a deep dive on the benefits of automated mediation, but here are the highlights:

  • Configure (and update) business rules to convert data into the right format for the rating engine — with no specialty billing expertise required.
  • Follow your data through every step of the mediation process with end-to-end traceability and transparency.
  • Process high volumes of events with ease, whether you’re seeing long-term growth or a particularly busy week.
  • Prevent errors in data processing — and catch and repair the ones that do occur before they grow from minor glitches to gnarly billing issues.

The completely customizable Gotransverse mediation engine brings all these advantages to the mediation process, automating and streamlining billing operations in order to improve revenue management and enhance the customer billing experience. Learn more about how our mediation engine — and so many other features — empower our clients’ growth by taking a virtual platform tour. Then, when you’re ready, request a demo to find out whether Gotransverse is the right billing partner for your organization.