You've hit a breaking point with your current billing system, maybe you've outgrown it completely, or maybe you are fed up with manually entering items in a spreadsheet. You may already have built an internal billing system that just isn't cutting it anymore.
Billing is probably the most important function which ensures that your business is running smoothly. You have two choices: either you build your own billing system in-house, or you can buy a solution from a vendor. There are several considerations in this debate, like which undertaking will save you time and money? What are the risks involved? Which choice is ultimately right for you in the long term? How will this decision affect your customer's experience? Let’s discuss these in detail:
Building a recurring billing platform from scratch doesn’t come cheap. It can often involve significant capital expense costs and investment in time and resources. The annual cost of hiring a single software developer can cost approximately between $137K and $173K in the US. Building the solution is just the beginning, you have to also invest in ongoing maintenance costs required to update the billing system as you grow, application testing and deployment, ongoing support, bug fixes, patch releases, security and backups, upgrades, platform migrations, and more. These expenses can add up very quickly. Think about it, do you have the capital to finance the development of such an application?
On the other hand, licensing to a third-party billing service provider can be cheaper as they own all costs associated with development and maintenance and charge you a fee for access. It is easier to predict how much the whole project will cost you if you buy instead of building a billing software, this knowledge comes useful when setting long-term business goals. Therefore, it is a better investment to pay for a robust recurring billing system that is flexible enough to meet your enterprise billing needs, and use those savings to better your product or marketing.
No one knows your company’s requirements better than you. So designing an in-house billing software can get you exactly what you need, without the hassle of having to go back and forth with a 3rd party. The trade-off here is a higher upfront as well as ongoing investment in building and maintaining the system. And let's not forget, if the developers of the software end up leaving the company, you could lose the crucial corporate memory required to maintain it, which can be debilitating.
Choose a billing service provider with years of experience in managing the most complex billing scenarios, and a professional services team that is there round-the-clock to provide support and manage any unforeseen issues and ultimately alleviate the pressure on your billing team so you can focus on other tasks and improve efficiencies.
Building a recurring billing system from scratch takes time. You also need to budget for delays and setbacks when calculating the time to launch. If you do not want buggy software you need to invest in proper testing before launch. Building a well-functioning, user-friendly billing platform can take multiple years. This may not be ideal if you have a shorter go-to-market.
If you decide to buy a billing solution instead, the time is mostly spent in finding and evaluating the right billing solution for your enterprise and launching it. If you choose a reliable billing provider, they will make the onboarding and integration process as seamless as possible.
Even the best-planned projects are at risk of scope creep, exceeding budget, and pushing out project deadlines. When buying, the time to implement can be as soon as a few months or less, as opposed to potentially a few years or more when building. A study published in the Harvard Business Review, which analyzed 1,471 IT projects, found that the average overrun was 27%, but one in six projects had a cost overrun of 200% on average and a schedule overrun of almost 70%. The reality is that you are responsible for all project-related components of your in-house billing system. That means managing the launch, integrations, user training, security, compliance with industry standards, and building new functionality. Building a billing system that meets all your needs and is built to scale with your company will likely require increased bandwidth or even extra staff.
When you decide to build your own recurring billing system you expose yourself to certain risks especially if you are not a technology company, and are therefore unfamiliar with all the requirements for launching new software like safety and security, upgrades, patch fixes, etc. You also need to get your servers ready to host the new software and update the security system. If you are accepting recurring payments you need to be PCI-compliant to ensure you are securely storing customer’s payment information. Other important considerations experienced billing system providers can easily manage like re-rating, taxing, self-care, validation, rollback, etc. which you may overlook. Also, make sure you are not making these 7 common billing mistakes.
When you build an in-house billing software, you have to hire new employees responsible for maintaining the system and upgrading the system to fit your complex needs as you scale. These changes will require intensive time and cost investment.
The decision to build billing software in-house may arise from your belief that the available solutions lack the features and customization that is a requirement for your business, however, billing software providers like LogiSense can handle even the most complex usage-based billing and rating issues and have years of experience solving complex billing problems, and therefore already know the best practices for billing related issues having solved countless problems for other customers.
Building a homegrown billing system may seem like a no-brainer at first, especially if you are a technology company. After all, this allows you to create a billing system customized to your enterprise's specific needs, with the talented developers in your employ. But think about it, is their time best spent on creating a billing product or developing your core product? Once the billing software is developed, will your billing and engineering team be able to update the software fast enough as you scale to outpace your competition?
Once you decide to build your billing software in-house, you need to ensure that you meet all the documentation requirements which may pose a challenge as it might need input and agreement from several internal stakeholders like finance, operations, customer support, and IT. The new software will also have to integrate with your existing third-party software like quoting, inventory, general ledger, provisioning, email provider, tax provider, and other service providers.
Next, you have to ensure that the software meets all the applicable laws and regulations in the countries you transact your business in, including rules for storing and securing payment information you collect from your customers. It’s important that the recurring billing software you develop complies with all the rules and regulations and can keep up with all the changes in laws and regulations. Data Sovereignty is real, don’t miss this if you offer your services in multiple regions.
Your expertise is not in developing a B2B billing solution, so a project of this size and level of complexity will be expensive and lengthy. By the time you are ready to launch, your business needs and technologies will likely change and already outgrow the scope of the solution you developed.
Why invest hours of operating expense and resources to architect a solution that already exists in the market and is proven, as billing experts who spent years creating and continuously improving an enterprise billing solution? Let the experts manage your billing needs so that you can concentrate on your core business
You may have complex usage billing needs which cannot be met by an off-the-shelf subscription billing solution, but building billing software from scratch also sounds like a huge task. The good news is you do not have to compromise.
LogiSense’s flexible usage and subscription billing platform can adapt to your unique business and industry needs. As your organization scales and introduces complex changes to the product, you can be confident that you have a billing solution tailored to fit your roadmap with LogiSense.
As an entirely API-driven cloud platform accessible through available RESTful APIs, LogiSense allows you to extend the application with no-code/low code configuration. With LogiSense’s Automation Workflows you have the ability to connect systems and automate business rules. LogiSense workflows are designed for endless possibilities, allowing solution engineers to wrap them around your business processes. With these customizable billing solutions and years of expert knowledge, you can rest assured that you get the benefits of infinitely configurable solutions with the convenience of off-the-shelf software. Contact one of our billing experts today to learn more and take a test drive of LogiSense Billing.
Ryan is a seasoned telecommunications expert with a broad background in both the service provider and software vendor sides of the business. Ryan is currently responsible for worldwide sales at LogiSense. During his tenure, Ryan has held executive level positions including Senior Sales Executive, and Director of Sales. In these roles, he has provided strategic sales, product, and market guidance for our next generation IP service management solutions.