CSPs Can’t Afford to be Inefficient in the Face of COVID-19
Guest Blog by Evan Rice, EVP of Sales and Marketing at Rev.io
While the coronavirus outbreak progresses, more and more businesses are shifting their operations remotely to keep employees safe and ensure continuity during this pandemic.
As a result of this telecommunications trend, many communications service providers (CSPs) who sell cloud communications services are seeing a surge in demand. The reasons for this surge are obvious:
- People are requesting robust cloud services for their new home offices similar to the services they have at their work locations
- Cloud platforms allow for easier access to a broader range of services than central office-switched communications
- Cloud services can be provisioned much faster than conventional landlines
From this new rush in business comes the anticipation that old provisioning and billing models might not hold up. Without a complete billing and customer management platform in place, key system issues can begin to slip through the cracks.
Setting Up Success
Unless you can generate accurate and detailed CPQ proposals, every new deal you close may be set up to cost you margin. This expectation is, of course, under the assumption that you can bill accurately for those services. Without a comprehensive quote-to-cash platform and automated billing processes, you could find that all of these new accounts will never be fully profitable.
With the current rush on business, legacy billing processes are a major likely fail point. Invoices may not get out on time, may come riddled with inaccuracies, or may leave out line items altogether. Another potential fail point is taxes, which may not be properly accounted for. Payment processing also may prove more difficult. Due to the recurring nature of subscription billing, any initial issues with payment processing will continue affecting your monthly profits until they’re corrected.
Fortunately, there are cloud billing solutions that are just as nimble as cloud communications platforms. A prepared Billing as a Service (BaaS) provider can quickly stand up a configurable solution to your portfolio of services. Integrations with existing systems and third-party providers are also much easier since the BaaS providers who serve CSPs already have “hooks” into the most common essential platforms. That means the integration is already done and just needs to be configured for your account.
Opening Up Opportunities
While the prospect of switching to an automated billing system may seem like a painful process, it can be a great opportunity to identify and correct any leakage in a legacy billing set-up. The configuration process is necessarily designed to get everything exactly right at the beginning, meaning it rarely needs to be touched again.
Instead of treating your billing process as a chore, suddenly you can leverage it to grow your business. A BaaS system can serve as a source of valuable data that helps guide your relationships with customers and ultimately drive value to your company as a whole. During this time of disruption, providers should put more emphasis on strengthening their client relationships. A full-service platform can operate as a catalyst for this, ensuring clients continue to see the added value that CSPs provide.
The current pandemic we face will hopefully become a thing of the past sooner rather than later. Regardless of when that day comes, work-from-home policies are likely here to stay once we return to normal. This shift to remote collaboration expedites the need to move from legacy, manual, or semi-automated billing processes to a fully automated platform. If and when business slows, that fact will make the increased profit potential of using a BaaS solution more important than ever.