You’ve heard us say over and over that agile billing is the model of the future. As simple subscriptions give way to more sophisticated methods designed to maximize customer lifetime value, forward-looking enterprises are implementing the intelligent billing platforms that can handle these more complex rules, provide detailed, real-time tracking and reporting and support both rapid growth and flexibility.

Overhauling your billing system may seem like a tall order, but in reality, the shift is more straightforward than it seems — especially if you create and follow a thorough execution plan.

We’ve put together a list of 21 steps, broken down into three phases —strategy, implementation and rollout — to adopting, implementing and launching an intelligent billing solution designed to meet your changing business needs. You can see all 21 steps here, but we’re breaking them down phase by phase in a three-part series here on our blog, beginning right here with Phase 1: Strategy.

Steps 1 Through 7: Strategy

Select the Right Team and Partner

While selecting and implementing a new system shouldn’t be a full company endeavor — although it may seem like it is — you do want a strong team leading the charge. Include an executive sponsor who will champion the issue among company leadership and a strategic project manager who can make sure everything is going according to plan. The crew should also include a member of the technical team as well as employees with deep visibility into the organization’s current billing platform’s strengths and shortcomings. Be sure to include people from Finance, IT, Operations, and Product to get the range of perspectives and expertise that will ensure nothing critical is overlooked, and the sense of ownership will ensure the project stays at the top of the priority list.

Define Your Usage-Based Billing Model

Next outline how your usage-based billing model will work. Will you be using tiered pricing? Tapers? Allowances? Time-based pricing? Stored value? There are many ways to structure a usage-based billing model, and the right structure for your organization will be dependent upon your customers’ needs, growth opportunity and what makes sense for your particular products and services.

Choose Your Agile Billing Solution

You’re looking for a platform that can not only support a wide array of configurations, but one that can integrate with existing systems and that is flexible enough to grow and change with your organization. You’ll also want to look for a vendor who will stick with you through the implementation process, supporting configuration, rollout and any technical training required to get the most out of your new system.

Establish a Flexible, Adaptive Product Catalog

While old-school billing systems tend to struggle under the weight of too many offerings and variations, your intelligent billing platform should empower you to create a product catalogue that can accommodate any number of products and billing configurations, scaling without creating SKU sprawl. As an added bonus, the catalog also automates product recommendations for cross-sell and upsell opportunities and pricing variations for complex orders.

Determine a Method of Rating Usage Data

Based on your particular usage-based models, leverage your platform’s rules-based rating engine to ensure near-real-time conversions of usage data to billing information and invoices. That way, internal teams can more efficiently track customer activity, and customers can check in on their own account status anytime.

Plan the Automation of Your Billing

No matter how talented the team, manual processes lead to delays, errors and data inconsistencies that make for messy reporting. But by automating your billing calculations, you can ensure accurate, reliable and timely reporting, keeping your back office organized and your finances audit-ready at all times.

Design the Integration for Native Invoicing

Building invoicing directly into your platform streamlines billing and chargeback processes, ensuring the final step of every transaction goes smoothly, making payment and collection frictionless, reinforcing the positive customer relationship, building loyalty and encouraging referrals.

Steps one through seven will ensure your switch to an agile monetization platform begins with a strong strategy in place, and in the coming weeks we’ll cover the key steps to implementation and rollout. But, of course, the most important step to implementing a smarter billing platform is having the right vision in place. The right strategic partner can help you define the goals, requirements and measures of success for your new hybrid business model and billing platform. Gotransverse was cited as a leader in The Forrester Wave™: Recurring Customer and Billing Management, Q3 2017, achieving the highest score in the recurring billing and payments management criterion. Contact us today to explore what’s next for billing in your organization.