|By Esmeralda Swartz||
|March 31, 2014 09:15 AM EDT||
A recent Forbes article by Andrew Dailey at MGi Research reinforces the importance of "agile billing" to businesses that are serious about creating new revenue streams, meeting customers' needs and doing it fast and well.
The term agile is a good description of what businesses need from their billing systems in order to meet these challenges. At MetraTech, we've been an agile billing solution from day one with our "metadata-based" approach, which is what makes MetraNet flexible and responsive as well as business model and industry agnostic. So "agile" is a good description of how the system should perform and "metadata" is how the billing system actually delivers the agility. Metadata enables you to configure your data model, transaction processing, and user interface through web services compliant APIs and, as a result, enables the billing system to conform to your business model and existing systems. No need to compromise, you can simply innovate.
Recently we have seen (and commented on) an upsurge of breathless comment on the age-old concept of subscription billing, as if subscriptions were a new idea. Of course, any services company that relies on subscription pricing models only (or even mostly) is likely to be ill-prepared for the future as described by Andrew that includes cloud mashups, digital services and Internet of Things. A subscription-heavy service model is not an agile service model. So it was amusing to see that upon the Forbes article being published, one billing vendor put out a press release commending Forbes for their keen observation that the world needed agile billing and that as the inventor of cloud billing (maybe they've been taking pointers from Al Gore, the inventor of the Internet and from the inventor of subscription billing), the world was ready for their type of agile billing.
So you have to ask yourself, if it takes metadata to be agile and flex and change to capture new revenue streams, be responsive to customers, change business models, roll out services in weeks not months, and give customers freedom to run their business the way they want, how do other billing systems fare on the agility front? The answer is not so well. Most billing and for that matter ERP systems expect a customer to flex and be agile in fitting their business model into what the systems can and can't provide.
In contrast, the agile business constantly takes into account all pricing and charging options from subscriptions to one off purchases to usage and consumption models, unconstrained by the limitations of the billing system they use. The first time your IT department tells the product or sales team, "Nice idea, but the billing system can't do it that way ..." then you know that you don't have an agile billing system, you have a service innovation blocker: It blocks the way to creativity, change, customer satisfaction, and profits. And it allows IT to keep saying ‘no.' Too bad, you just have to stick with what we can make work.
Although we know that MetraNet was one of the first systems to see action in the field of cloud billing, we don't actually claim to have invented cloud billing. It is a fundamental characteristic of an agile billing system that it doesn't have to be recoded or rebuilt to meet the needs of a new type of service, or a new business model, or a new type of settlement for a partner deal. If there's a billable event out there that can be captured, then your billing system should be able to bill for it, and do so under any pricing/rating regime, no matter how weird the discounts or premiums. Agile, don't you think?
We are proud to deliver business agility to customers across industry verticals that rely on us to be their service innovation engine and believe these customers can speak to our agility far better than we could ever do:
Concur (largest SaaS ERP provider): "With MetraNet, Concur has a large degree of agility in not having to form fit a business model into its system but rather to do the reverse so that the infrastructure and combinations of business processes can come together however the business evolves."
TELMORE (most competitive MVNO in the world with the a Net Promoter Score of +58): "MetraTech understands our pain points and its MetraNet solution can address market demand for the highest levels of customer responsiveness while simultaneously enabling us to deliver the innovative solutions that our customers want."
Guarulhos (GRU) International Airport, São Paulo (largest airport in Latin America): "The ability of MetraNet to be easily configured to support all of our business models in record time made it possible for this milestone to occur. The ease of use and high visibility also helped us to quickly make any adjustments necessary to comply with regulatory rules during certification."
Cetip (leading marketplace for private fixed income securities and over the counter derivatives): "We believe that the right billing system is the flexible backbone on which we will continue to build a successful future; one that will enable us to support increasingly complex and varied products and services. In MetraTech, we have found a partner who will meet our needs both immediately and into the future."
Through WebRTC, audio and video communications are being embedded more easily than ever into applications, helping carriers, enterprises and independent software vendors deliver greater functionality to their end users. With today’s business world increasingly focused on outcomes, users’ growing calls for ease of use, and businesses craving smarter, tighter integration, what’s the next step in delivering a richer, more immersive experience? That richer, more fully integrated experience comes about through a Communications Platform as a Service which allows for messaging, screen sharing, video...
Aug. 30, 2015 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 597
With the proliferation of connected devices underpinning new Internet of Things systems, Brandon Schulz, Director of Luxoft IoT – Retail, will be looking at the transformation of the retail customer experience in brick and mortar stores in his session at @ThingsExpo. Questions he will address include: Will beacons drop to the wayside like QR codes, or be a proximity-based profit driver? How will the customer experience change in stores of all types when everything can be instrumented and analyzed? As an area of investment, how might a retail company move towards an innovation methodolo...
Aug. 30, 2015 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 433
The Internet of Things (IoT) is about the digitization of physical assets including sensors, devices, machines, gateways, and the network. It creates possibilities for significant value creation and new revenue generating business models via data democratization and ubiquitous analytics across IoT networks. The explosion of data in all forms in IoT requires a more robust and broader lens in order to enable smarter timely actions and better outcomes. Business operations become the key driver of IoT applications and projects. Business operations, IT, and data scientists need advanced analytics t...
Aug. 30, 2015 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 386
A producer of the first smartphones and tablets, presenter Lee M. Williams will talk about how he is now applying his experience in mobile technology to the design and development of the next generation of Environmental and Sustainability Services at ETwater. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lee Williams, COO of ETwater, will talk about how he is now applying his experience in mobile technology to the design and development of the next generation of Environmental and Sustainability Services at ETwater.
Aug. 30, 2015 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 119
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Aug. 30, 2015 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 431
SYS-CON Events announced today that IceWarp will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IceWarp, the leader of cloud and on-premise messaging, delivers secured email, chat, documents, conferencing and collaboration to today's mobile workforce, all in one unified interface
Aug. 30, 2015 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 388
Consumer IoT applications provide data about the user that just doesn’t exist in traditional PC or mobile web applications. This rich data, or “context,” enables the highly personalized consumer experiences that characterize many consumer IoT apps. This same data is also providing brands with unprecedented insight into how their connected products are being used, while, at the same time, powering highly targeted engagement and marketing opportunities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nathan Treloar, President and COO of Bebaio, will explore examples of brands transforming their businesses by t...
Aug. 29, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 207
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies leverage disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevOps to advance innovation and increase agility. Specializing in designing, imple...
Aug. 29, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 260
While many app developers are comfortable building apps for the smartphone, there is a whole new world out there. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Narayan Sainaney, Co-founder and CTO of Mojio, will discuss how the business case for connected car apps is growing and, with open platform companies having already done the heavy lifting, there really is no barrier to entry.
Aug. 29, 2015 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 115
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Aug. 29, 2015 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 856
SYS-CON Events announced today that Micron Technology, Inc., a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Micron’s broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies – including DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash – is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. Backed by more than 35 years of technology leadership, Micron's memory solutions enable the world's most innovative computing, consumer,...
Aug. 29, 2015 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 205
As more intelligent IoT applications shift into gear, they’re merging into the ever-increasing traffic flow of the Internet. It won’t be long before we experience bottlenecks, as IoT traffic peaks during rush hours. Organizations that are unprepared will find themselves by the side of the road unable to cross back into the fast lane. As billions of new devices begin to communicate and exchange data – will your infrastructure be scalable enough to handle this new interconnected world?
Aug. 29, 2015 07:45 AM EDT Reads: 135
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
Aug. 28, 2015 07:45 PM EDT Reads: 202
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Aug. 28, 2015 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 335
Akana has announced the availability of the new Akana Healthcare Solution. The API-driven solution helps healthcare organizations accelerate their transition to being secure, digitally interoperable businesses. It leverages the Health Level Seven International Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (HL7 FHIR) standard to enable broader business use of medical data. Akana developed the Healthcare Solution in response to healthcare businesses that want to increase electronic, multi-device access to health records while reducing operating costs and complying with government regulations.
Aug. 26, 2015 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 127
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner, Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., discussed the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conducted a live demonstration of how quickly application development can happen when the need to comply wit...
Aug. 2, 2015 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 552
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities.
Aug. 1, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 478
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
Jul. 30, 2015 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,562
MuleSoft has announced the findings of its 2015 Connectivity Benchmark Report on the adoption and business impact of APIs. The findings suggest traditional businesses are quickly evolving into "composable enterprises" built out of hundreds of connected software services, applications and devices. Most are embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) and microservices technologies like Docker. A majority are integrating wearables, like smart watches, and more than half plan to generate revenue with APIs within the next year.
Jul. 30, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 279
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, d...
Jul. 30, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,223