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2014 Billing Innovators Summit - Conference Report

On April 23, 2014, MGI Research held the Billing Innovators Summit on the top floor of the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco, CA. The half-day event featured MGI Agile Billing Scenario, followed by a series of User Case Study interviews with executives from Cisco, Firehost, ConceptShare, Meltwater Group, and Pitney-Bowes. It was an engaging afternoon of dialog among the presenters and attendees. A wide range of billing, marketing, technology and industry issues were discussed in an open, independent format.  See the attached full Conference Report below.

We would like to thank the conference business case presenters - May Tran of Cisco Systems, Bob Feghali of Pitney-Bowes, Nish Patel of ConceptShare, Tony Poulos of TM Forum and Bruce MacFadyen of Firehost - we sincerely appreciate your participation and insights. We also would like to acknowledge our conference partners - Aria Systems, Monexa, NetSuite, TM Forum and SandHill.com as well as our host - the management of the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco.
 
The conference opened with a brief overview of the role of billing in modern business. A few key themes were underscored:
  • Billing is at the intersection of a business and its customers
  • Billing is often a source of friction
  • A success or failure in billing can either elevate or sink a customer relationship
  • A robust, agile billing capability can elevate competitiveness
The perception of billing among business and IT leaders is evolving. A sophisticated and flexible billing capability has emerged as a key, must-have building block of modern technology-enabled enterprise – one that directly impacts time-to-revenue. Key driver behind the increased interest in billing is the proliferation of new subscription and consumption priced products and services. Business and IT leaders face a rapidly expanding universe of choices for billing solutions. The broad spectrum of billing solutions often leads to a rushed selection process with volatile outcomes or to a complete analysis-paralysis, long selection lead times and expensive feature/function evaluations. IT and LOB management are challenged by complexity, time and cost of evaluating billing solutions while billing software suppliers often struggle to articulate their unique value proposition (UVP).
 
CONFERENCE KEYNOTE
 
The conference keynote - a presentation by the Agile Billing Scenario by MGI Research Managing Director Andrew M. Dailey highlighted key trends, opportunities and risks in modern billing.
 
The scenario tackled a diverse set of topics including the trend towards paying for outcomes, what is agile billing, how does it impact the business, what are the opportunities and risks, how large is this opportunity for suppliers, and what are the best practices for evaluation and implementation of billing systems. A significant focus in the scenario was placed onto Agile Billing – ability to create and maintain monetization capability at a speed corresponding to the needs of 21st century modern, cloud-based, mobile business.
 
 
 
 
BUSINESS CASE PRESENTATIONS
 
Five Business Case presentations from executives at Cisco Systems, Pitney-Bowes, TM Forum, ConceptShare and Firehost focused on the actual experiences in selecting, evaluating and implementing billing solutions. The presentations provided a glimpse on a broad range of approaches used for billing at companies across industries, size and complexity.
  • Presentation from May Tran of Cisco Systems focused on complexities of evaluating and selecting a modern billing solution for a large technology company in the midst of a transformation into a XaaS (As-a-Service) business.
  • Presentation from Bob Feghali of Pitney-Bowes addressed topics integrating modern billing capabilities into a large world-wide e-commerce organization responsible for processing billions of invoices per year for a broad spectrum of clients.
  • CEO of ConceptShare – Nish Patel, shared his experience of dealing with an unsuccessful implementation of a billing solution, the lessons learned and the practical recommendations of how to avoid failure in this context.
  • In a broadcast commentary Tony Poulos of TM Forum reflected on the billing systems experience of the telecom industry
  • Chief Financial Officer of Dallas-based secure cloud provider Firehost Bruce MacFadyen provided a perspective on modern billing solutions from a point of view of a CFO.
 
A panel comprised of Andrew Dailey Bob Feghali, May Tran, Bruce MacFadyen and the CIO of Meltwater Group Rick Bradley facilitated a highly interactive discussion and audience Q&A on billing issues, ERP integration and best practices.
 
Throughout the conference program, there was ample opportunity for networking and peer-to-peer learning. Several key discussion threads dominated both the formal and the informal parts of the discussion. See the attached Conference Report for a detailed discussion of key billing trends.

 

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