Frankenstein’s System: The Trouble with DIY Billing Platforms


If your organization has outgrown its current billing platform, it’s a good bet you’re weighing the pros and cons of building a new platform in-house or contracting with a third-party SaaS and cloud-enabled software solution.

At first blush, the homegrown platform may seem like a good idea. After all, why pay for something you can build yourself? But time and again we’ve seen companies devote countless hours and resources to DIY billing platforms (sacrificing other priorities in the process) only to give them up altogether when it becomes clear they’re not a long-term solution.

The Pitfalls of DIY Billing Platforms

Download infographic: http://billing.gotransverse.com/lp/saas/build-vs-buy-infographic.html

Download our infographic to learn more: http://billing.gotransverse.com/lp/saas/build-vs-buy-infographic.html

Billing platform needs are deceptively complicated. While the immediate system requirements may be clear enough, it’s impossible to accurately predict all the capabilities an organization will want from it’s billing system one, three or five years into the future.

What this means is that, while the initial build might be fairly straightforward, you’re likely to find that, six months down the road, new operating models or customer offerings require additional features. So your IT team throws something together and adds it on. In a little while, you discover you need a new way to normalize your customers’ usage data, but the volume isn’t high enough to merit a tech investment, so you manage with an old-fashioned spreadsheet — until your customer base grows so much that it’s impossible to produce timely, accurate invoices with the manual rating system. Your customers are getting frustrated, and you need to modify the billing system. But the in-house developers are swamped, and the new add-ons will take at least three months…

See where we’re going? Soon, your organization will have spent far more money (in the form of cash, manpower and lost customer opportunities) on the DIY billing platform than it would cost to implement a third-party system — and the result will be a patchwork creation that, at best, struggles to keep up with the company’s needs; at worst, it actively hinders growth.

( Download our infographic to learn more about the potential pitfalls of DIY billing platforms.)

The Smarter Alternative: Intelligent Billing

“Organizations need flexible, agile software systems that are configurable, continuously updated, quick to implement, available anywhere and anytime, and highly scalable. That’s why so many have turned their focus to SaaS and cloud-enabled software.”

– IDC e-book: 5 Best Practices for Selecting SaaS and Cloud-Enabled Solutions

As organizations evolve, embracing digital transformation and shifting their business models to better meet customer needs, change is often happening too quickly for in-house solutions to keep up.  That means third-party SaaS solutions like intelligent billing platforms are more than worth the investment.

(To learn more, download our Executive Guide to Intelligent Billing.)

Once you’ve made the decision to buy rather than build, here are three things to keep in mind when searching for the right intelligent billing platform for your organization:

1.   “Out of the Box” is Too Good to Be True

Many vendors promise systems that are fully functional right out of the box, but the reality is that billing platforms aren’t (and shouldn’t be) one size fits all, and “simple” fixes often lead to complex problems down the road. So instead of a standard option, look for one that’s configurable to your organization’s unique needs — and flexible enough to reconfigure as needed.

2.   Focus on Value as Well as Cost

We understand that budgets are tight and resources are precious, so it can be tempting to look for the cheapest option on the market. But experience tells us that the solutions that have the smallest price tags tend to overpromise and under-deliver, leaving companies looking for ways match their needs to the billing platform’s limited capabilities or add additional features to fully meet requirements. Just like a DIY billing platform, then, the company ends up pouring more resources into the “cheaper” solution (and seeing smaller returns) than they would have if they’d invested in a more sophisticated product in the first place.

3.   Ask for Help

Though it’s certainly worth the effort, the transition from a legacy system to an intelligent billing platform is complicated, and vendor selection and platform implementation can be overwhelming, especially for companies that are new to the world of SaaS solutions. A quality vendor will act as a partner in the implementation process, but it’s always a good idea to devote time to thorough research — or even consider hiring a consultant — to learn best practices for selecting a vendor and preparing the team to make the transition.

We know making the switch from a legacy billing system to an intelligent billing platform is a daunting proposition, but we also know that, according to recent MGI research, 44 percent of companies see legacy billing systems as a barrier to growth. So don’t let your outdated system or DIY billing platform hold you back.

goTransverse’s premier intelligent billing platform is a cloud-enabled, SaaS solution that can turn your organization’s billing process into a competitive advantage. To learn how we partner with clients to improve customer relationships and enhance business processes, schedule a free personalized demo today!

Clare Corriveau is the Director of Marketing at goTransverse. An award-winning marketer, Clare has built her career in SaaS and demand generation. Prior to joining goTransverse, Clare oversaw North American prospect demand generation at Blackbaud. When she’s not kicking SaaS in marketer-mode, you can find her spending time with her husband and kids, hiking with her pup Pippa and cheering on Michigan State.