When a company outgrows its existing billing system, leadership has two options: maintain it through updates and add-ons to help it meet the growing business’ needs or replace it with a new system altogether. While businesses looking to make financially responsible decisions may be inclined to adjust their current systems rather than shelling out for a new platform, we think that instinct merits further thought.

First, let’s take a look at some of the business scenarios that are likely behind this need for an update. Your business may simply be experiencing a growth in client volume, but we’d be willing to bet you’re also facing some of the consumer-driven market pressures to evolve your pricing models and rapidly introducing new offers to keep ahead of the competition. Further, you’re probably feeling the pressure to keep up with (and stay ahead of) rapid changes in consumer preferences, technology, billing regulations and business best practices in your field.

All of these instigators have a few things in common: they mean you’re managing greater volumes of data and more complexity in billing, and you need to be able to make changes quickly — and probably frequently — in order to keep customers happy and prevent gaps in revenue, reporting or compliance.

It may be tempting to manage these updates in-house, but first, consider the kind of IT resources that would require. Making changes to traditional and homegrown systems — introducing new products, offerings and pricing models — generally requires a billing specialist. That means either hiring (and retaining) engineers or taking current employees off their regular work and temporarily “repurposing” them to manage those changes. Additionally, these updates take time to create and implement, meaning invoicing, billing and reporting will require manual intervention while IT gets the system up to speed. This results in delays, errors (even the most skilled humans make mistakes, especially when juggling large quantities and configuration of data) and missed revenue opportunities. Even if the only changes required are in service of additional capacity to accommodate a growing client base, the expense and inconvenience are fairly significant, as you’ll need to add more servers to handle capacity, once more experiencing invoicing delays in the process.

Between the upfront talent and equipment costs and the opportunity costs of missed revenue, disgruntled customers and distracting employees from their core work in order to focus on system updates, the price tag for maintaining the existing system adds up quickly. And, finally, given the pace of change and growth in the market, these changes won’t be one-off occurrences. You’ll more than likely find yourself needing to make frequent adjustments to your system in order to stay ahead of the curve, incurring these expenses over and over again. And eventually, you’re liable to end up with a system so patchworked and fragmented that it’s no longer reliable or compatible with the rest of your business systems.

An Upfront Investment Pays for Itself

While the price tag on a new billing system may seem intimidating, for many companies, it’s actually a more effective long-term solution than trying to save money by adding new features and band-aids to the existing system.

SaaS billing platforms — your alternative to DIY and traditional on-premises solutions — are designed specifically to handle the growing volume and complexity of a business’ billing needs. Here are just a few ways the upfront investment pays for itself in ease of use, maintenance and updates.

Agility

Business growth invariably comes with changes in pricing models, payment methods, product offerings, reporting rules and more. While a traditional system requires manual updates every time the business makes a change, SaaS solutions are designed for agility, adjusting to changing requirements and needs with minimal configuration or business interruption.

What’s more, these systems are designed to help businesses stay up to date on both billing best practices and government regulations, with vendors keeping platforms and processes current so businesses can use their resources on driving growth instead of juggling logistics.

Elasticity

The cloud-based aspect of SaaS billing solutions offers a wide range of advantages, not the least of which is elasticity. As a business’ capacity needs grow and fluctuate, traditional billing systems require costly hardware updates. And when you add a server, you pay for its entire capacity 24/7, no matter what percentage you’re actually using. With SaaS-based billing, on the other hand, you have a more elastic platform that can grow and shrink with your needs. Since you only pay for what you use, there’s no more need to think twice before using whatever you need.

Integration

As a DIY system ages (and sprawls with manual upgrades), it becomes more and more difficult to integrate with existing business platforms. This leads to more and more manual intervention and increasing the risk of errors, including gaps, redundancies, and missed messages between platforms. Effective SaaS platforms, however, are designed to promote seamless integration among systems. When every piece of the business operations framework is on the same page and speaking the same language, both the back and front office run far more smoothly and effectively.

While it may seem tempting, in the face of business growth and change, to make do with what works, this often isn’t the most cost-effective choice. Rather, implementing a system early on that’s designed to evolve and change with your business will save significant time, energy and resources in the long run. Here at Gotransverse, we pride ourselves on helping our clients set up strong foundations for ongoing growth. When your organization is ready to build that foundation, we invite you to take a tour of the Gotransverse platform and call us to schedule your complimentary, personalized demo.