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Billing Beyond Company Boundaries

May 28, 2020 10:15:00 AM

How Ecosystem Businesses Thrive and Create New Challenges for Agile Billing

In a recent article, Harvard Business Review explains how businesses driven by eco-systems have a competitive advantage.

In the article "In a Crisis, Ecosystem Businesses Have a Competitive Advantage", it is argued that: 

“Organizing a business as an ecosystem enables companies to hedge and thrive. This is now also true for companies all around the world and especially true during the coronavirus crisis, in order to compete in the turbulent time.”

Managing a Business Ecosystem

Ecosystem businesses have been rising in the past 20 years. This ranges from initially simple initiatives such as marketplaces to complex shared service offerings such as Mobility-as-a-Service concepts.

What makes ecosystem business unique is, that the offering consists of ever-changing sub-offerings of participating businesses to match a unique business need. Together, they form an agile business platform, that can change quickly to adapt to the new demand. In this blog, we discuss how your billing system is a lead character in your ecosystem playbook.

Beautiful, but complex model

As with all the best things in the world, building a business ecosystem is both attractive and complex. The interests of all participating companies need to be met to create a successful proposition to customers.

For example, let’s look at the monetization and the billing aspect of ecosystem businesses. In an earlier article in Harvard Business Review 2, How To Monetize a Business-Ecosystem, three strategies to monetize a business ecosystem are mentioned, but it also becomes clear that the ecosystem only works if the participating companies have a long-lasting profitable return for their contribution to the ecosystem.

Pay per use in an eco-system billing

Let’s take Mobility-as-a-Service models. Over the last 10 years, this concept has matured into a viable proposition around cities in the world. Earlier MaaS concepts were owned by for example a dominant player, such as the National Railway company. Adding services from third parties was easy, and billing was done straightforwardly. But as the industry matured, more transport options and more players were introduced, with different monetization and billing needs.

Consumers demand full flexibility, but on the back-office, you rely on heterogeneous, complex contracts with other companies that make up the delivery of your eco-system.

How do you deliver to all stakeholders, while keeping the promise to your consumers?

Agile billing is the cornerstone of your ecosystem business execution

Because an ecosystem business is essentially a marketplace on which you build your offering, you must keep good track of your cashflows in the light of the agreements made with your business partners.

After all, this is where you monetize your business model. A traditional system may be too rigid to provide the oversight needed and cater to the flexibility that makes your business model so attractive. History has taught us that oftentimes profitable concept was ruined by unprofitable delivery models.

Put Your Contracts In The Spotlight

An agile billing solution will always put your contracts in the spotlight. Contracts are the result of negotiations and might need to be adjusted to reflect changing market opportunities. Your system needs to be as flexible as possible to fit all your contracts in. Once your contract is put in the system, contract drivers described digitally, executing on it is easy.

Just think of the endless monetization possibilities you have if you can capture all your contracts in an agile system. Only then the promise of a business ecosystem can be fully fulfilled.

Take Us To The Test

When you want to capture the ecosystem business opportunities and you feel your future billing needs will outgrow your current billing solution, or if you are just curious to learn how Good Sign does things differently, feel free to take us to the test! We will gladly take on your challenge and prove to you it can be done, and that the new world lies beyond your company boundaries.

Some blog posts about service ecosystems:

How our Customer Technopolis uses Good Sign for managing their ecosystem-based services.

How to make your business ecosystem work?

Good Sign

We at Good Sign help our customers solve existing pain points in monetizing service contracts and managing subscriptions and pay-per-use services. We help companies freely grow scalable services.

Feel free to contact us and let’s have a chat on how we can support your company.

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Marc Wullings
Written by Marc Wullings

Marc is active with our global and local customers in the Benelux and Western Europe. He blogs about the topics that come up in discussions with our clients and partners.

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