4 tips for turning fragmented systems into an integrated digital billing experience

You have 6 billing systems and 42 billcycles? No problem!

Onething we continually hear from the market is the need to provide an integratedbilling experience. Some of the most advanced companies, in terms of productsand services, are still operating in silos when it comes to the invoicing andpayments of their business customers. Why? Because migrating to a singlebilling system is hard…and expensive…and time intensive.

Andto be frank, sometimes unrealistic. We have countless examples of companieslaunching these big bang consolidation initiatives – which can cost upwards of$500M – with little to show at the end (if the project ever reaches an endstate).

Thealternative or parallel approach is to look at billing integration from anexperience versus a system perspective. At the end of the day, your customersdon’t care what’s happening with your back-end infrastructure as long asthey’re receiving accurate and timely bills. And with a direct tie between lowcustomer satisfaction ratings and poor billing experiences, it’s imperativethat you give your customers and internal teams what they need to operateefficiently – now, not in years.

The alternative or parallel approach is tolook at billing integration from an experience versus a system perspective.

Sohow do you bring together 6 billing systems and 42 bill cycles into anintegrated digital billing experience?

1. Startby defining the ideal digital billing experience – and then workbackwards. 

Whatdo your customers need from you in order to accelerate the bill paymentprocess? What digital tools make it easier for them to access, analyze,allocate, pay, and reconcile your invoices?

Don’tget bogged down in trying to translate what you have today into what customersneed. Trust me – you have all of the right data. You just need to provide yourcustomers with a better way to act on it.

2.Next, use a billing ‘mediator’ to bring together your billing and customerexperts. 

Eachsystem, process and segment comes with its own team of experts, objectives,resulting bill outputs, and most likely, some legacy hang ups. It’s imperativeto have someone overseeing the data integration and guiding all teams towardsthe same end goal.

Althougha digital integration is far less invasive than a physical merging of systems,it still requires an extensive review of the varying data elements. Forexample, while one system may use a 3 tiered billing structure, another may use5 tiers. Or while one may refer to monthly charges as ‘monthly charges’,another may use the term ‘recurring charges’. Although these nuances seemminute, it’s this amalgamation that ultimately results in a consistent and easyexperience for the customer.

3.Caution – be prepared for the system and process rabbit holes. 

Ican’t tell you how many times we’ve heard ‘I didn’t know we had a specificreporting system for that’ or ‘I didn’t realize there was a specific processfor that’.

Billingis complex and its reach extends far beyond the actual billing systems. As youbegin translating all of the varying systems and processes – to ultimatelycreate a unified ‘language’ for your customers and internal operations – you’rebound to uncover some unknowns. Document, document, document and keep your eyeson the prize of ‘what is best for the customer’.

4.And remember, perfection is the ultimate staler – start with a baselineand build. 

Ifyou were your own customer, would you rather have access to 75% of your billsonline now or 0% while you wait for 100%? Yes, business customers are fed upwith the hoops and ladders they have to go through to pay your invoices todaybut believe it or not, they also understand the complexity you’re trying tosimplify.

Itwould be ideal to have all systems integrated and available on day one butsometimes that’s just not feasible. Prioritize the big wins (which systems hostthe majority of data for majority of business base), communicate the evolvingexperience, and get customers on board with your digital journey.

Readyto see the art of what’s possible?  Contact us today to see a live demo of this integrated and interactivebilling experience.


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