Build or Buy? A Common Question about Intelligent Billing Platforms, Solved


When an organization decides to make the switch from a legacy system to an intelligent billing platform, the first question to answer is whether to build or buy. Does it make more sense to develop the new system in house or work with a third-party vendor to implement an existing platform?

The arguments for developing a system in house seem convincing at first. Why pay someone

else to come in and do a job the existing team can handle? But let’s take a closer look at what the decision about building or buying a billing platform really entails.

Arguments for Building or Buying a Billing Platform

Cost

First and foremost is the cost of developing and implementing the system. And at first glance, it does seem like building is cheaper, especially for a company with a robust engineering or IT team. If there are already plenty of full-time software developers in the office, that’s it, right? Not so fast.

What about third-party costs like hosting, backup and security services? What about opportunity costs? What high-priority projects could those in-house engineers have been working on instead of designing, developing, testing and maintaining the new billing system? And how much did those delays cost the company?

Timing

How quickly does that new platform need to be in place? If it needs to be ready in the next few months, building is likely to put the organization in a bind. Development, quality assurance and testing are long processes, and there will inevitably be setbacks and delays that mean living with the current system even longer than anticipated.

Quality

Even with the savviest developers involved, there will always be bugs and deficiencies to work out in a new software application. That’s to be expected, and it’s fine for some platforms. But the billing system is one of the key drivers of the customer-business relationship, and it directly affects a company’s revenue management and growth potential.

And that’s not to mention the unique requirements of a billing platform, from the security of customers’ financial data to regulatory compliance issues, there are a lot of critical details that could slip through the cracks if the in-house engineers aren’t billing experts, themselves.

Longevity

At first, the project may seem like just a small addition to augment existing platforms and meet immediate needs. But once the system goes live and starts to get regular use — and every time the company makes a strategic pivot or hits a new growth milestone — new requirements will emerge. The engineering team will be spending excessive time patching together the billing platform instead of supporting core business functions, and suddenly the DIY system will be a sprawling, unwieldy thing that can’t support the demands of the business. At that point, it’s back to the drawing board.

So if you’re trying to decide between building or buying a billing platform, it looks like you’ve found your answer. Research shows that billing is the most critical monetization discipline for any organization.  So why wouldn’t you leave it to the pros? In-house development may seem appealing at first, but a vendor with a tried and tested platform and expertise in the nuances of security and regulatory compliance for financial information can get your new intelligent billing platform up and running with less time, less risk and fewer hidden costs.

To learn how goTransverse partners with organizations to improve customer relationships and enhance business processes through our leading intelligent billing platform, contact us at info@gotransverse.com today.

Don’t miss our new infographic: Build vs. Buy: 5 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Frankensteining Your Own Billing Platform.

Michael Beamer is a 24-year technology and business leader with unique experience helping companies maximize the business impact of technology. In his current role as president of goTransverse, he is dedicated to providing clients a flexible billing touch-point that creates long-lasting customer relationships and increasing customer lifetime value.