Author Archives: David Sumka

Monetizing Data: The Holy Grail of 21st Century Businesses

In today’s world of Big Data, SaaS, virtual products and services, data is king.  Companies from the earliest stage tech start-up to the most established brick and mortar want to find ways to monetize their data.  For many small and medium sized businesses monetizing data could be the key to significantly growing their business organically and without a large investment.  However, few companies ever achieve this goal.

What makes it so hard for companies to monetize their data? It’s challenging to define what monetizing data really means for a given company and if you can’t define the goal then you certainly can’t create a plan to achieve it.

Figuring out how to monetize your data first requires an understanding of what you hope to accomplish.  There are three main ways to monetize data.  Listed below are examples of companies that have successfully monetized their data using those three methods.

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Sales vs. Collections: The Battle between Growing Revenue and Cash Flow

When you hear the word “collections” it conjures up images of nasty warning letters, harassing phone calls, Repo Man and maybe a scene out of Goodfellas.  Those types of collection methods, legal or not, might be part of the collections process at companies that sell products.  However, there is an entirely different dynamic when it comes to collecting payments for businesses that sell services ( i.e. SaaS services, streaming movies, mobile services etc.).

There is a delicate balance that service providers live with ‒  collecting timely payment or upsetting the customer, which may lead to reduced business or even the loss of that customer.  The challenge companies face in applying pressure to their customers for payment is further complicated because the customers can easily switch to comparable service.  Mastering the collections tightrope in order to grow  and still be financially solvent is often the difference between success and failure. Continue reading

Moving the “Back Office” to the “Front Office”

We Americans are not known for being exact in our language, in fact sometimes our use of a word contradicts its meaning. However, we don’t like to be wrong. Fortunately, we have great tenacity and perseverance thus we continue to misuse a word until our definition and use of the word is accepted as correct. Continue reading

Want to Improve Your Company? Listen to Your Bills

The thing most people don’t know about billing issues is that they rarely have anything to do with billing. Of course, customers review, analyze and evaluate their bills. They will complain when they find something wrong. But once the company is providing reasonably “good bills” to its customers where one plus one equals two, customer complaints will have little to do with the billing process.

The basic tenet of billing is that “the bill is the ocean,” which means everything a company does flows into and eventually appears on the customer’s bill. Therefore, the customer’s billing complaints will reveal problems upstream in areas such as advertising, marketing, sales process, service offering, operations, etc. In this way, customer billing issues should be viewed as an internal diagnostic tool. Billing issues provide timely, useful information from current customers who provide detailed information and are passionate enough about the issue to inform the company of the issue and demand resolution. Resolving them will have real impact on the business and can be measured simply by tracking the reduction in billing issues.
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The Pursuit of Good Billing

Why No One Buys Service Because of “Good Billing” but Will Cancel Service for “Bad Billing”

When companies evaluate their business, they often focus on developing and supporting their services and products. Billing is an afterthought, considered a back-office function, not part of the customer experience. It’s easy to understand why billing is neglected but also critical to recognize that “good bills” are a significant factor in a service provider’s success. In fact, billing is a major part of the relationship between service providers and their customer’s experience through their two most frequent interactions:

1) Each time the customer uses the service
2) Each time the customer receives their bill

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Exchanges Offer Alternative to Costly Wholesale Billing

SHAREHOLDERS ARE DEMANDING that after years of unprecedented expansion telecom deliver the profits promised in their business plans. This demand comes at a time when customers are cutting back on their spending. In this environment, carriers are exploring all methods to reduce costs and focus scarce resources on growing revenue.

A new breed of centralized telecom exchange offers an alternative. Such an exchange uses business approaches, processes and systems modeled on those used in the financial markets and have the ability to replace the current cost-laden wholesale billing process and prevent disputes that add cost to an industry experiencing unprecedented margin pressure. Continue reading

Bandwidth And Minutes Exchange: Rating, Billing And QoS

Carriers from IXCs to ILECs and CLECs have all suffered through traditional methods of exchanging telecom capacity. They may not have enough information to know who might be selling minutes or who might need them. Also, bandwidth exchange negotiations can take several months. And a carrier that can’t deliver minutes to a certain destination or bandwidth to particular customers is probably doomed to fail.

Recognizing the need for a faster and easier way for some carriers to sell excess capacity and others to add to their own network volume, minute or bandwidth exchange companies have appeared on the scene to act as middlemen. Continue reading