“To enable business expansion,” says Gotransverse founder and CEO James Messer in his latest article for Forbes, "businesses need to clean their data before they begin the billing process." In this article, Messer addresses the "garbage in, garbage out" problem plaguing businesses as a glut of disorganized and inaccurate data obstructs growth. He explores what's causing these challenges and how to resolve them in order to establish billing practices that keep data clean and enable limitless growth.

We invite you to read the full article on Forbes, but we’ll share the highlights here on the Gotransverse blog.

Let's start with the stakes: Messer reports, "According to IBM, According to IBM, bad data costs U.S. businesses $3 trillion annually.” Further, Gartner estimates the cost to companies is $12.9 million, which includes the impact on revenue and the costs of maintaining and using complex data ecosystems—and the poor decision-making they engender.

Of course, growth itself often compounds these data issues, as Messer notes that greater billing volume means more data to process and, if not done right, more errors introduced. He identifies three layers of complexity that lead to lousy billing data:

  • Aggregation from multiple sources.
  • Data mediation is required to convert consumption into dollars.
  • Complex business rules include volume discounts, free trials, prepayment discounts, local taxes, partner payments, etc.

To address these issues and enable frictionless, scalable growth, Messer suggests companies take two key steps:

Eliminate the GIGO Problem

You’ve heard the phrase, “Garbage in, garbage out,” referring to the idea that if the input data (into any project or initiative) is bad, then the output will be bad, as well. In the billing process, inaccurate billing data (the “garbage in”) is one of the leading sources of revenue leakage, according to Messer.

“To generate accurate invoices, the mediation engine needs accurate customer consumption data. If the data is inaccurate, incomplete, or outdated, the invoices generated will be incorrect and categorized as garbage in/garbage out (GIGO).”

One driver of these inaccuracies is manual or otherwise outdated measures of entering, validating, and cleaning data. These processes are inefficient and liable to introduce errors, leading to “garbage” mediation data that prohibits effective growth.

Practice Good Data Hygiene

So, how can companies break the GIGO pattern and ensure clean data to promote scalable, agile billing? Messer shares several strategies to consider:

  • Pay attention to data quality: “Data is typically aggregated from multiple sources to create a single billing record. Incorrectly normalizing data is one of the primary sources of data errors,” says Messer, encouraging companies to establish a plan to stop “dirty data” in its tracks. “Check critical data entry points and standardize information whenever possible,” he says. Additionally, be sure your billing system is fast enough to keep up with the “noise” that high volumes of data will create.
  • Automate workflows and processes: Automating processes like data transformation, synchronization, cleansing, and classification—for starters—ensures data is cleaner than it can ever be when managed manually. "The goal," says Messer, "is to ensure clean data flows into the system to power repeatable processes without errors."
  • Establish flexible rules: As your business evolves, your business rules—including those around maintaining accurate and complete data for billing and regulatory purposes—will need to evolve, too.

When you have good data hygiene practices, the billing process no longer hinders growth and scale. And as a bonus, Messer reminds readers, "Using reliable data to power billing also delivers reliable business intelligence." With clean input, businesses can mine information on trends in product performance, customer engagement, churn, and much more, enabling better forecasting, targeted research and development initiatives, and more informed decision-making across the board.

Agile Billing at the Foundation of Scalable Data

“Making data accuracy a priority will ensure more accurate billing, reduce revenue leakage, and give you the foundation for better business insights,” concludes Messer. “Data is the fuel that drives today’s business. More importantly, it leads to better business performance.”

And the key to establishing and maintaining data accuracy is embracing a billing platform designed to handle high volumes of complex billing events easily. At Gotransverse, we understand what’s at stake for growing businesses, and we're dedicated to providing our clients with the support they need to achieve all their growth goals—and cleaning up the data is just the start. To learn more, we invite you to take a virtual tour of our platform today. Then, when you’re ready, request a complimentary demo to talk with one of our experts about whether Gotransverse is the correct billing partner for your organization.