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Globys Research

A strategic perspective on invoice-to-cash

Real-Time Usage: The Data B2B Customers Would Kill For

Topics: Customer Data, E-Invoicing, Self-Service Analytics, Usage Data

Everyone loves a surprise – except when it comes to their invoice.  This ‘bill shock’ has been widely addressed on the consumer front with real-time visibility and alerts into usage, but very little has been done to address this need among the business base. Why? Because there’s an incredibly complex maze of products, services, plans, rates, corporate policies, cost structures, and more to factor in.  How do you know what’s relevant to who in order to help them avoid the unexpected?  Or to maximize their resources? Or to track relevant business activity?

The short answer?  You don’t. 

The good news?  They do. 

Similar to invoice data, what your customers need from you is an efficient way to connect their real-time usage data to what’s important to them. They don’t want mountains of usage data by the minute. And they don’t want you to attempt to make decisions for them. They want to proactively monitor their service usage according to their business needs. And make decisions based on what’s actually occurring versus what occurred a month ago.

This ‘preview’ into what will ultimately show up on the monthly invoice empowers customers to optimize their supplier relationships. Which services should be reallocated? Are we at risk for overages? Are we on track to meet our business metrics? And contrary to what some may believe, it’s not all about cutting costs – it’s about managing costs and resources to be efficient as possible – which is a major value add to any business.

And if you can solve this complex business problem for them?  They’re willing to pay for it. In fact, Globys research shows that business customers are willing to pay twice as much for an integrated invoicing experience, one that provides a single access point and workflows for both pre-invoice and invoice data, in comparison to monthly invoice data alone.

Seems obvious that customers would want their real-time usage data (which is eventually rated and invoiced) and invoices in the same place, right?  Obvious but not necessarily happening today.

“CFOs are beginning to step up to the plate, taking on real-time usage data as a component of the customer invoicing strategy.”

This disjointed experience is typically due to lack of ownership on the real-time usage front. There’s clear direction that the invoicing experience belongs to Finance, no questions asked. But when it comes to the data that occurs ‘pre-invoice’, it’s a bit of a black hole. Some usage-based products or services have launched stand-alone portals, creating yet another customer access point. Others have tied into the consumer experience, providing a less than satisfying experience for large businesses (is there really value in viewing real-time usage per service, when you have thousands of services?).

But CFOs are beginning to step up to the plate, taking on real-time usage data as a component of the customer invoicing strategy. They’re acknowledging the direct tie and impact on the invoice to cash process. Of course, it’s for the good of the customer, but the opportunity to extend beyond a traditional expense center to revenue center is also a nice perk.  

Ready for some specifics? 

Globys research is launching a series on ‘Real-time usage: What’s important to your business customers’, which will highlight several service types that customers are actively monitoring in real-time. Over the next month you will learn what business drivers are contributing to the successful adoption (and revenues) of the real-time usage component and the impacts they’re having on the overall invoice to cash process.  

You can also attend the Unlocking the Power of Usage Data” webinar on June 28 for a deeper dive on this series.  This webinar will outline the  solution to provide your customers with a near real-time view and 24×7 monitoring of their company’s utilization of your usage-based services, along with best practices and real world scenarios.