In today’s fast-paced technology landscape, MSPs and resellers play a crucial role in delivering IT solutions to businesses of all sizes. However, effectively managing billing and monetisation can be a challenging task for channel companies. To streamline this process, they need robust billing and monetisation solutions. This article explores the various options available and outlines the key capabilities that MSPs and resellers should consider when selecting a provider.
The primary objective of any billing provider is to provide a stable, cloud-based platform. This platform serves as the foundation for resellers to generate accurate and timely invoices, a critical element in maintaining a healthy cash flow. In an environment where profit margins are consistently under pressure, efficiency and precision are key.
Cost Verification: Ensuring that all incoming costs from suppliers are accurately accounted for is imperative. This is achieved with revenue assurance tools, which meticulously track every line, charge and service delivered. The goal here is to fully maximise revenues.
Cost Management: Robust reporting tools are invaluable for managing costs and understanding profitability. These tools provide insights into whether individual customers are contributing positively to the bottom line.
Beyond these basic essential requirements, billing providers should offer add-on services to further enhance their value proposition. One such feature is self-service functionality for end-customers through an online portal like Inform Billing’s Enlighten platform. Additionally, billing providers can offer a full branding service to align the portal with the reseller’s website.
These add-ons offer several benefits:
- Customer Empowerment: End-customers gain greater control over their services through self-service portals, reducing the administrative burden on resellers.
- Value Enhancement: The branded portal can provide a “wow factor” that adds value to the customer experience, potentially helping resellers secure more sales.
Many of these add-on features are particularly relevant to mobile services, an area experiencing continuous growth with new entrants and existing dealers seeking flexibility and autonomy through billing capabilities.
The ability to produce creative tariff packages and flexible pricing and bundling options is essential for success in the mobile space.
The telecoms industry is undergoing rapid transformation due to the emergence of technologies such as full fibre, 5G, IoT, artificial intelligence and digitalisation. Billing companies, especially those operating on fully cloud-based platforms, are better positioned to accommodate these changes.
In an all-IP world, the demand for integrated systems and self-service capabilities is growing. Billing providers are responding by investing in their API sets to enable seamless integration with other systems and suppliers. Moreover, the rise of subscription-based services has introduced the need for flexible billing platforms capable of managing revenue assurance and profitability.
Billing providers must cater to the diverse needs of their customer base, offering different propositions for changing scenarios. This includes tailored solutions for new entrants and the flexibility to accommodate various services, from Office 365 licensing to IaaS, voice and data. Flexibility to adapt to digitalisation requirements, especially for subscription services and consumption-led pricing models, is paramount.
However, the value of a billing provider extends beyond software functionality. It lies in the provider’s experience and expertise in navigating the ever-changing market. Easy access to this knowledge and support is essential for MSPs and telecoms resellers.
Resellers and businesses will need to have access to real-time data and analytics that allow them to make informed decisions and plan for a smooth migration to the new communication framework, following the PSTN switch off in 2025. Inform Billing’s team has a track record of preparing customer data, leading to improved data identification and organisation. Empowering resellers to make informed decisions and prioritise their activities efficiently.
While monthly billing cycles remain prevalent for their consistency and cash-flow management, there is an increasing expectation for timely and more frequent billing information. Some resellers are adopting multiple bill cycles throughout the month, allowing for real-time usage monitoring, fraud detection and bill limit alerts.
Billing providers must stay agile and responsive to emerging requirements. Investing in the development of billing platforms to meet diverse market demands is critical. As digitalisation continues to reshape the channel, billing providers like Inform Billing are adapting to offer solutions across various industries, opening new opportunities for themselves and their partners.
In conclusion, billing providers in the channel must balance essential requirements with innovative add-ons to meet the evolving needs of MSPs and resellers. Staying ahead of industry trends and offering flexible, cloud-based solutions is key to success in this dynamic landscape. As the channel and digitalisation continue to evolve, billing providers can showcase the power of their software and services in diverse markets. It is an exciting time for those who are ready to embrace change and seize new opportunities.
Recently featured in Comms Business October issue: Billing and monetisation, page 38.