Celebrating its 10th year in business, Inform Billing has come a long way since forming in 2010 with a handful of customers and just one developer working alongside director-owners Shaun Bodsworth and Darren Salisbury. Now with a team of 30 and close to 300 customers, the business is proud to say that four of their initial customers are still partners 10 years later.
The anniversary couldn’t come at a better time – 2019 was Inform Billing’s strongest ever year in terms of sales growth and comes straight after bagging the prestigious CNA ‘Best Billing Solution’ title for the second time in just three years. The financial figures are impressive and are the tell-tale of an accelerating growth agenda: In its 2020 financial year Inform Billing expects to hit £1.7 million revenues, reflecting a 24 per cent increase in turnover on 2019 and a 49 per cent hike in profit. This builds on 25 per cent growth on the last financial year, bringing their three-year growth rate to 103 per cent.
The 10-year milestone signals a new chapter of innovation, diversification and technology partnerships. Shaun Bodsworth, Managing Director at Inform Billing explains: “Our main focus is on developing partnerships and integrations with complementary applications, to offer more joined up solutions and to simplify the billing process,” he stated. “Our investment over the past seven years in cloud-based platforms enables us to apply the same level of flexibility and functionality to bill new technology services. We eagerly anticipate the advent of full fibre, 5G and digitalisation.”
Inform Billing has so far invested over £2 million into its Eclipse NG billing platform and continues to plough 45 per cent of revenues into the ongoing development of the software in line with the demands of the market. The next generation of its Eclipse software is what Bodsworth wryly describes as “a six-month project that overran by five years.” A victim of its own success, the business had to balance continual growth and customer onboardings with developing a hugely complex and powerful software application. Its eventual launch in 2017, shortly followed by the first award win, represented a turning point in how the business saw itself and was perceived by others. “Until then we had always been seen as a challenger,” stated Bodsworth. “It meant a lot to be externally recognised as a serious and respected player in the channel.
Eclipse Next Generation is unrecognisable from the application that kicked off the business a decade ago, when Inform Billing began its commercial life. Back then, it was the acquisition of intellectual property rights for Eclipse and a small customer base that precipitated the launch of Inform Billing on 1st February 2010. Bodsworth and co-founder Darren Salisbury set about refocusing the software back onto the channel prior to a bold relaunch.
Salisbury was Managing Director of Pan Telecom which created a billing platform for in-house use, made available to a handful external customers including Bodsworth who was then Commercial and Operations Director for a telecoms reseller. After GCI acquired Pan Telecom, the software ticked along for many years as GCI did not see billing services as part of its strategy. This enabled Bodsworth and Salisbury to acquire the software and partner on a new venture.
Their combined knowledge of billing and the channel must rank among the most insightful. Bodsworth had previously established a mobile and fixed line consultancy business, providing contractual and commercial guidance to large corporates as well as billing analysis and validation services. Salisbury also worked as a Billing Manager prior to running Pan Telecom, overseeing billing and building the first iteration of the Eclipse software from scratch. In fact, all but one of the management team have all previously worked as billing managers. Together, says Bodsworth, they will ensure that Inform Billing is ahead of its fast moving and expanding markets for another ten years and beyond.
“The telecoms landscape is changing at pace, and as an experienced billing specialist with flexibility within our software applications we can support new technology areas where billing systems are vital,” said Bodsworth. “These include cloud and subscription services and more inclusive package style propositions, where multiple products and services are essentially bundled into a total solution and billed in that way. The bill remains simple, but our software provides the critical detail for revenue assurance and supplier invoice validation.”