There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about Enterprise 4.0. This new phase in the evolution of global business promises to transform the way companies operate, from internal processes to every single customer interaction. But what does “Enterprise 4.0” mean, exactly, and what practical implications will it have on businesses?

Let’s take a step back to look at the promises of Enterprise 4.0 in the context of what’s come before, and then we’ll dig into what these promises mean for one of the most critical business operations: billing.

Enterprise 4.0: How’d We Get Here?

If we look at Enterprise 4.0 as the “next” evolution in business, we’re begging the question, what were the first three evolutions?

Futurist James Canton aligns Enterprise 1.0 with the Industrial Revolution, when automation innovations from the automobile to mass production changed the way businesses operated — and the way customers interacted with their favorite manufacturers. MIT’s Andrew McAfee aligns Enterprise 2.0 with the mid-2000s emergence of Web 2.0 and the use of social platforms that enabled organizations to increase connectivity within their teams and between employees and customers, beginning that transition from purely transactional sales to long-term customer loyalty. Enterprise 3.0 introduces the analytics power that helps us take all the data we’ve begun collecting and cull the noise into useful, actionable insights that help make business operations more efficient, more agile and more attractive to top talent.

Enterprise 4.0, then, takes this new, data-driven business culture to the next level, using artificial intelligence, IoT, big data analytics, virtual reality and other tech innovations to fully automate business processes, empowering organizations to tailor their offerings to customers’ demands more efficiently and effectively than ever before.

Businesses that successfully embrace Enterprise 4.0 can propel sales growth by enhancing the customer experience, mining usage and behavioral data to satisfy customer demands almost before they’re made and launching new products and services faster than ever in order to stay ahead of the competition.

What Does Enterprise 4.0 Mean for Billing?

The foundation of any business transformation has to be monetization. After all, without effective ways to monetize products and services, even the most innovative new initiatives will be fruitless.

But from AI and IoT to XaaS, the technology underpinning Enterprise 4.0 is enabling companies to reinvent their business models — adding usage-based offerings to simple subscriptions, repackaging products and services and transforming billing processes — to maximize both revenue and customer engagement.

Here are just a few of the new tech-driven capabilities at play:

  • Usage and behavioral data analytics: by tracking and analyzing the products, services and even individual features and components customers are using most often — as well as how they’re using them and in what combinations — businesses can identify exactly how to repackage their offerings to most effectively attract new clients. And they can see and fill any holes in their offerings that might be driving otherwise-loyal customers to other providers.
  • Real-time data processing at scale: Traditionally, whatever data a business was handling — behavior, usage, rating, revenue reporting or what have you — was handled manually. Or, at best, by a simple platform that could handle modest volumes of fairly simple data. Today, businesses are looking to grow rapidly, increasing their user volume by providing more varied and more complex offerings, meeting clients where they are and satisfying their unique needs. Most of those legacy systems simply can’t handle the added volume and complexity, but today’s agile billing technology enables companies to bill by the billions.
  • Increased Connectivity through IoT: Customers are taking full advantage of IoT capabilities, increasingly using their mobile devices and connected systems to manage their professional and personal lives. And savvy businesses are doing the same, empowering customers to access their products and services—and, more importantly, pay for them—from a variety of devices and through a variety of methods. This added and growing connectivity means customers want to be able to interact with brands when and how it’s most convenient for them, and cutting-edge brands are heeding the call.

From catalog configuration to order management to revenue reporting, Enterprise 4.0 is poised to automate and enhance every step of the billing process. As a result, customers will be more apt to develop long-term relationships with brands, and those brands will be equipped to maximize revenue potential at every turn.

Of course, when it comes to embracing Enterprise 4.0, the mind-set is only half the battle. Businesses looking to lead the charge will need to embrace the tech that makes these new capabilities and optimizations possible. To learn more about how Enterprise 4.0 is transforming billing — and the systems that will empower the transformations — we invite you to take a tour of the Gotransverse platform and call us today to schedule your complimentary, personalized demo.