Before You Switch
Before you switch, review the benefits of cloud-based billing and how they align with your business objectives. Whether it’s cost reduction, scalability, outsourcing IT functions, or enhancing security, this should be the focus of everything you do. It will help you make the right software choices, and it will also help you obtain internal buy-in on what needs to happen to ensure a successful transition.
Three Steps to Make the Transition Smooth
Once you’ve decided to make the switch, there are a few things you’ll need to do. It will mean a little extra work now, but it’s an investment in improving your efficiency long-term.
1. Review Cloud Vendors
Not all cloud billing solutions are created equally. The first step is to review what to look for in a cloud billing solution.
This might include the following.
- Easy onboarding process to help you get going quickly combined with ongoing support to help you through any issues you discover later.
- Customizability to match your needs.
- Integrated sales and order management to allow you to manage your full sales process in one place.
- Turn-key usage billing that lets you scale in real-time.
- Automation of ongoing processes to save time for both you and your customers.
- Infrastructure management to track your physical and virtual assets.
- Helpdesk ticketing and client portal to allow your clients to reach you right from the billing system.
In addition, you’ll also want to think about any specific needs your business has and make sure the cloud billing system you’re considering has them.
2. Map Your Legacy System
To ensure you’ve properly identified all of your business needs, you need to access and map your legacy system. This requires actually digging into how you use it. The written documentation you have may be incomplete or out-of-date after system changes.
The first step is reviewing your typical order flow from initial customer contact through payment settlement all the way to exporting your final accounting report.
- What happens at each step of the process?
- When and how is human intervention needed?
- What are the minor annoyances or inefficiencies with your old system that you never got around to fixing?
It’s also important to look at things that happen less frequently not just your day to day orders. This might include preparing for annual financial reports or occasional audits, dealing with order exceptions, or less common orders that fit outside of your typical workflow.
Your end goal is to document everything that you use your billing system for so that you don’t inadvertently leave out a needed feature when you make the switch.
3. Communicate, Train, and Adapt
Changing to a new system takes work. Management and key employees will need to be involved in planning. Then, everyone involved in billing will need to be trained on the new processes.
There may also be duplicate work during the transition period when you have clients on both the old and new systems.
Employees who are adapting to the new system may feel that it’s slowing them down after switching from a system they know like the back of their hand.
To get your team through this period, it’s important to make sure they aren’t overwhelmed.
- Communicate why you’re making the switch, how it will help the business, and how it will make your employees’ daily work easier once they’re used to the new system. People are more likely to buy in when they’re told the “how” and “why” behind the changes.
- Train all of your team members on the new processes and provide ongoing support. Some people may pick up new software at a different pace than others, so it’s important to provide individualized support. No one should be left feeling frustrated to the degree that just keeping the old system seems like the better solution.
- Adapt as an organization. Make the plans for the transition period clear and set deadlines for each phase. The best way to do this is to have one person leading the transition so that they can take charge of working through any issues and the transition doesn’t take a back seat as other employees focus on their routine tasks.