Customers are dynamic. Their needs change.
A new set of connected products and services intimately tuned to the needs of dynamic customers is emerging. New relationship-based content, applications and data services are being launched every day by established and emerging companies.
More than just subscriptions, companies such as Google, NetFlix and others are launching new services to existing customers to deepen loyalty and reduce churn. Companies agile enough to re-configure and personalize pricing on the fly are the ones that will retain the customer relationship.
As companies move beyond simple pricing models such as “unlimited” or “all you can eat,” there is an emerging requirement for rapid implementation of activity-based pricing that customizes a consumer’s utilization of a service to an optimum price level.
Companies thinking about launching activity based billing models are embracing concepts such as lean, agile development and perpetual betas as they adapt to the fast incremental cycles necessary to launch new services. Product launch time frames must compress and new services should be launched in weeks instead of months or years.
While product launch cycles are being compressed, developing billing infrastructure to support these activity-based pricing launches has proven to be a problem for some companies because of limitations in ERP and G/L platforms. These platforms are built for selling product in single transactions; they are not designed for monetizing relationship-based, connected services. These platforms lack the ability to manage the Activity-To-Cash cycle – the ability to establish a relationship and capture revenue generated by that relationship.
For those launching new services, it means billing systems, order to cash processes and more importantly a new set of processes called Activity to Cash(TM) must be customized and implemented for each new billing or business model.
My client, Transverse, makers of www.tractbilling.com, has done a great job explaining the Activity to Cash process.
The Activity-To-Cash cycle layers on top of ERP and GL platforms. it nurtures and expands the relationship businesses establish with their customers at the inception of processing an order and then activating, provisioning, assuring, billing and collecting payment for a service. The Activity-To-Cash cycle leverages the capabilities of real-time rating & charging, analytics, and entitlements to monitor how people engage with a service and then allow on-the-fly changes to product and service configurations to further entice consumption and usage by customers.
For example, with entitlements, advice-of-charge can prompt a customer to top up an account and a follow up with a coupon or promotion might entice that person to further engage and consume.
Whether connected products/services digital store fronts or brick and mortar subscriptions, for companies seeking new revenue, the ability to adapt billing to rapidly evolving business models is critical.