The cloud billing market today is hot, largely because of the high valuation Wall Street and investors give to vendor solutions that enable successful recurring revenue models. These new cloud billing providers are more nimble than their traditional on-premise alternatives and have been developed specifically to handle recurring revenue in elegant ways to help grow business faster to master existing and create new markets.
Your cloud billing platform should get you to market in weeks (versus years) without costing a fortune or consuming the majority of available IT or financial operations resources. Rolling out new subscription or usage/consumption-based offerings is a manual and complex endeavor for systems that aren't designed to handle them. Most on-premise, legacy billing solutions must be considerably customized to accommodate even the most basic recurring revenue models like subscriptions. With cloud billing, your timeto-market will be a fraction of what it currently is for product launches and subsequent releases thereafter. If anyone is complaining about how long it takes to get new or updated products to market, cloud billing can help accelerate the process.
One of the main advantages to $ a cloud billing system is how $$$ easy the simplicity and affordably that comes with the cloud. Cloud software doesn't require hardware purchases or upgrades. There are no hidden software licensing costs. You pay and expense for what you use. Plus, there are no more maintenance or emergency patches to keep your IT team up all night. Backup and recovery should also be included.
Many cloud billing systems are designed to integrate with internal systems so deployment isn't a monumental and time-consuming task. Additionally, several cloud billing systems automate key activation and provisioning processes, making it easier to control the customer experience, including self-service portals and global payment processors and currencies.
While legacy billing systems met marketplace demands years ago, they are not designed to handle today's "I want it now" customer expectations. We live in a world of frequent market and customer changes. The ability to quickly respond to customers and provide a great experience is critical to growth and competitive advantage.
Cloud billing solutions are designed with APIs and integration frameworks that make it easier to provide a unified customer view across self-service apps, eCommerce sites, and sales and support solutions like Salesforce. Whether the user makes a change on the eCommerce site, in a self-service app, or with the aid of a customer support representative (CSR), the change will be immediately reflected in the solution to provide the "I expect it now" experience demanded today. Cloud billing solutions give your CSRs visibility into a customer's history, at any point in time, to properly address inbound support issues.
In order to grow, it's essential to understand the offerings preferred by customers, regions, and markets. But evolving those offerings to accelerate growth can be challenging when each new offer or test requires customizing internal systems, IT resources, and waiting for a massive systems backlog to clear. This was fine when marketplaces moved slowly, but in our current Internet-fueled and customer-driven world, companies must respond to customers' needs and desires quickly or risk losing them to the more responsive competitor.
Cloud billing platforms are unique because they enable you to quickly offer prospects and customers what they want while providing an uninterrupted and awesome experience. New offerings can be available at all customer touchpoints the instant you want them to be, without making coding changes in each system. This enables your business to base its communications on individual customer activities (product upgrades, usage, billing status, plan changes, etc.) to boost customer satisfaction and loyalty.
In a recurring revenue model, focus is on retention, upsell, and cross-sell. These actions require the unified view of your customer that legacy billing systems weren't built to provide. Better customer interactions require provisioning, account management, self-service, support, promotions, and more. For example, provisioning needs to be managed across deployment systems while plans and pricing need to be accessed via a CRM or storefront system. Customer plan changes may require pro-ration (adjustments) to amounts due, restructured term start and end dates, and even updates on who to bill or how to collect payment. In addition, all this data will need to be transferred to financial and general ledger systems for insights on how to grow your business. Cloud billing solutions can support the desired customer interactions and provide insights to engage customers at the appropriate time. Many solutions provide workflows that seamlessly automate previously manual tasks for greater efficiency and lower risk of error.
Risk comes in two principal forms—operational risk and security risk. Operational risk comes from the system being available to change rapidly to support business needs and overall availability for transactions and seasonal spikes. Your operational and security risk rises from accepting electronic card payments, which customers expect. Credit cards are great for one-time purchases but the risk of expiration during the term of the customer relationship is high. How will you get the new credit card number to collect payment? How much will you spend on PCI Compliance to keep card numbers and other information safe?
Compared to legacy systems, cloud billing systems minimize both operational and security risk. PCI compliance can cost several hundred thousand dollars or more each year. Cloud billing spreads that cost over all the vendor's customers. Good cloud billing providers minimize operational risk with datacenters that offer reserve capacity to support traffic spikes. Some offer the ability to release new code and features without requiring scheduled downtime of the system. With cloud billing, you can say goodbye to lengthy development, coding, testing, patching, upgrade, and hardware refresh cycles and expenses. Cloud billing providers have full audit capabilities to provide visibility into who accessed the system, when it was last used, and what changes were made.
When evaluating cloud billing solutions, you want to ensure security, availability, and full compliance with regulations for your industry. An enterprise-grade cloud billing system will do all of the above and provide more agility to engage customers and grow your business than what you have today.
Traditional billing sends invoices to collect payment. It is often the last step in a long chain of systems and decisions, serving as the last roadblock for innovative ideas. Cloud billing providers take a different approach, expanding the concept of billing to monetization. With cloud billing you can manage all your revenue operations in one place, including: your offers, the customers and their entitlements, billing and electronic collections, customer engagement, and the billing operations to ensure everything is accounted for properly.
Aria, the number 1 ranked cloud billing provider, helps enterprises monetize and grow recurring revenue at scale.
Proven by the world's most demanding businesses, including AAA NCNU, Constant Contact, Falck, Hootsuite, Pitney Bowes, Telekom Denmark, and VMware, Aria's billing and active monetization platform helps enterprises modernize their revenue operations with a better way to manage offers, customer accounts, billing and financial processes. With Aria, enterprises get to market faster with a wider variety of products and services, retaining more customers and maximizing lifetime value. To learn more visit www.ariasystems.com.