The best aspect of working with Ordway clients is the fact that we get to watch our customers grow and thrive. A great idea, product/market fit, and team are critical to future success, but so is the infrastructure needed to scale. Oftentimes, we are fortunate to engage with customers right as they are re-imagining their billing architecture and infrastructure to enable more rapid growth and scale.
I’m fortunate to work with one of our customers Global Mentoring Solutions (GMS). They are a Canadian-based help desk provider and prior to working with Ordway, they were spending 3 weeks each month getting billing done. Their business model combines a recurring fee with usage-based billing. Aggregating data across all their customers was a difficult task each month and led to both internal and external frustration.
During the implementation phase of the Ordway cloud-based automated billing software engagement, we worked together to diagram their usage-based billing process and deeply understand their quote-to-cash workflows.
As with all of our customers, we attempted to understand the following three questions (and related topics) when scoping out what we wanted to tackle together. We think they are useful questions to ask prior to any implementation of any software. In our particular case they help us identify areas we want to amplify and gaps we need to close.
Simple-to-implement framework that guides our partner/client relationship
- Where has the business been? What process is in place? Where are the friction points? What data exists in what formats?
- Where is the business today? What people will be involved with the project going forward? What is the product portfolio? How is it sold? Is it a SaaS business that requires advanced subscription management? Is it a transaction-based business with billing milestones that affect both invoicing and revenue recognition?
- Where does the business want to go? Is the way it sells its offering changing? Are they offering a freemium option in the future? Do they need to include a usage or performance-based pricing component to their business model? What metrics and KPIs do they want to monitor going forward to impact business decisions?
Framework in action: Global Mentoring Solutions and a shift to more efficient usage-based billing.
Where has the business been?
GMS was spending 3 weeks billing and estimating future usage of their services. This led to them leaving money on the table when they underestimated the actual usage. They sold their services in a traditional B2B sales model. They collected usage data and contract data through a series of manual reports and data aggregation. They were manually recognizing revenue (if you are not at the scale where you need to automate these types of processes, check out a free Excel-based recurring revenue schedule).
Where is the business today?
They didn’t want to increase headcount related to billing and accounting and they wanted to increase the efficiency of those involved in the process. They realized they could reduce the complexity of the way they sell their services. They also realized they could reduce friction with their customers by more effectively communicating important billing information through invoices.
Where do they want to go?
They want to scale their business through efficiency gains brought about by automating repeatable processes. Through more automation of internal usage-data reports, to batch invoicing, to accurate invoicing, they can use regained time through automation to better analyze the business and make better decisions. They also articulated a desire to continue to enhance automation through the use of the Ordway REST API. Having a system that is flexible enough to grow as you grow is important. You can read about their full story of how they went from manual to automated usage-based billing.
In summary, next time you meet with the Ordway client services team, be prepared to talk to us about the 3 big questions: where has your business been? where is it today? and where do you want it to go in the future?