It’s that time of year again. LogiSense is entering the period for our annual Level 1 PCI Compliance audit. With millions of dollars in credit card transactions flowing through our billing software it’s imperative that we offer the security our customers (and their customers) expect when paying for service. We have worked hard with our customers over the past number of years to reduce our footprint, and theirs, to almost nil. There is absolutely no need to have a credit card number (PAN) hit our software or be stored in our database.
Subscription billing platforms such as LogiSense are inherently exposed to highly variable workloads which are a challenge to manage efficiently. Two of the system's primary functions, rating event records and creating invoices, are generally short-lived, compute intensive, high throughput processes that occur at unpredictable times and intervals across a customer base.
Technical debt is a commonly understood term within the software industry, whereas short term velocity gains are knowingly accepted in exchange for an ongoing “cost” in maintenance. This type of debt compounds just like your mortgage and becomes drastically more expensive over time if not dealt with.
Like all business-people, I’ve been deliberating a lot lately about what the coming years look like economically and what the impact of the pandemic will be on the long-term resilience of existing business models as well as what sort of social change we’re likely to see.
Like many technology organizations, LogiSense is thriving in a virtual construct. We’re quite fortunate in that regard. We went virtual on March 13th just as the gravity of the situation started to hit North America and governmental restrictions on businesses and individuals were being put in place to help diminish the spread of the virus. I recall having asked our IT leaders at the start of that week if the VPN and other systems were ready for everyone to start using them concurrently during business hours and whether or not our infrastructure was ready for full virtualization. Luckily, we were ready and made the switch with an absolute minimum of fuss – or so it appeared to me - thanks to the thoughtfulness and capability of our amazing team.
Services, Entertainment, Manufacturing, Retail, Travel and a multitude of other industries face more severe challenges as to how to adapt to a present-or-post-pandemic mode of operation. For us in the software business, however – moving everyone to virtual work has been surprisingly successful on a number of fronts, and I believe it will change the way that people work forever in this industry.
When we originally shifted to a 100% virtual structure – with only a few days to plan things out – I was deeply concerned about productivity from home. We’re all humans and are all affected by human things at times: need of a quiet place to work, perhaps you have kids bouncing off the walls while you are on a call with your colleagues, perhaps you need those in-person social interactions or are missing the ‘hallway updates’ and the communication that inherently comes from being together in the same place.
Our capacity to stay engaged without having a physical location in which to collaborate and our capacity to develop relationships and stay properly connected virtually had never truly been tested, and I’d wager – still hasn’t fully. All of this said, within the first few weeks, we had a handle on our ability to measure, monitor, communicate and be confident we could ‘carry on as usual’ without being together in the same facility. Our meeting frequency has increased, and we have deployed some additional tools over the past couple of months to help collaborate virtually, but all-in-all; the daily operations seem to have become routine again and the business is moving forward: despite our not having been in the same room in nearly three months. When we surveyed our employees to ask them how they were adapting to this new normal, the vast majority of respondents said it was subjectively the same, or a better quality of work and life in the new virtual world we now inhabit.
Though nothing is perfect, a few key observations from our shift so far have been:
I’m not describing an organization’s star athletes or executives who are self-motivated to perform above the pack, but I’m describing the majority of employees who are there to get the job they were hired for done, professionally and properly.
Would a human being be willing to give more to an organization than 2 hours and 23 minutes a day if they were NOT asked to waste 2-3 hours on a commute and preparation for a formal environment every day? If they weren’t asked to pretend to be engaged for 8-10 straight hours in an uncomfortable setting? I believe deeply that they would. Although this proposition comes with risk and a need for trust, a shift in balance and a focus on the human nature of your team will reap dividends in the long run, and it’s a transition LogiSense IS going to make as we transition from our current situation over the coming months, but hopefully not years.
LogiSense has been adapting to the changing environment well, and we’re in a privileged position being a software-only company to do so. Some of the key learning and observations as we transition through this time as a society are that:
Despite the terrible nature of the pandemic, it is going to impact our society and our economy both negatively and positively. Those organizations who can hear the call and adapt will flourish as they emerge from this transformation of economic and social disruption and our changing perceptions of fairness, humanity, commerce and work.
Exciting times are ahead, this much is certain.
Pundits all over the globe are warning of an economic slowdown. As a result, consumers are anxious and rethinking their budgets, looking for ways to cut spend. The choice many face is: can I live without this service in order to save money?
RoundTable Report on Customer Centricity and Monetization: How Do Agile Billing Platforms and IoT Help Modern Companies Engage Customers and Generate New Revenue?
Mediating usage feeds can be a complex process of reading headers, making sense of multiple fields and classifying records. To stay on top of adding new usage feeds you need powerful tooling to make it easy
Subscription angst, fear, fatigue ... whatever you want to call it, is a real and growing concern. The list of services that can be subscribed to are ever expanding covering a myriad of industries and markets. Enterprise software, apps, gaming, movies, TV, music, lawn care transportation, hygiene, grooming, exercise, nutrition, industrial equipment; are just a few examples of markets that have begun the transition to subscriber centric business models and this list of services continues to expand at a rapid pace. Subscriptions have a growing share of world-wide consumer and corporate budgets, offering benefits to vendors and customers alike, however there are problems emerging. Subscriptions tend to categorize subscribers into large groups, limiting choice by not considering unique subscriber lifestyle and consumption behaviours and needs. Subscription fatigue is a growing response, inviting closer examination of the cost/value benefit from these memberships. The solution? Include a Usage Pricing Strategy in your go to market efforts that substantially thwarts seeds of subscription discontent, drive additional revenue and ultimately improve your customer experience and bottom line
API access to a BSS system or Enterprise software opens up lots of integration opportunities. But what happens if you need to call multiple APIs in series and one fails? How do you roll back? LogiSense’s DataFlows provide that extra transactional control on your RESTful APIs.
Migration of data between disparate systems remains a significant challenge for organizations as they consider onboarding new back office systems. Organizations will often procrastinate and delay the procurement of a much-needed business transformation due to their legitimate fear of the data migration headaches this may cause. While this fear is legitimate, it also means that many companies continue to maintain archaic systems and tools thereby impacting their operational efficiencies. It is evident then that simplifying the data migration challenge can go a long way towards alleviating service provider concerns.