At Ubersmith, we strive to serve our hosting customers’ needs in addition to understanding their alternative options, whether they include in-house development, outsourced development, integration of various third-party systems, or selecting a suite-based approach.
With our team’s experience, we have put together a list of considerations we would use ourselves if we were evaluating a billing management system for our own organization:
- Recurring Billing – Ensure all types of billing you need (e.g., quarterly, in arrears, prepay, etc.) are supported for usage-based billing and/or fixed billing, including the ability to do specialized forms of billing like bandwidth billing and cloud billing. Are these available out of the box?
- Related Functionality – Verify key types of functionality are provided (directly or via integrations) for areas adjacent to billing such as domain registration, certificate ordering, provisioning, ticketing, and accounting. Does the system support hosting-specific software like cPanel and Virtuozzo, for example?
- Scalability – Make sure the system can handle high volumes of usage and monitoring to enable you to successfully grow your hosting company over time. Migrating platforms takes time and money. Being able to stay on one platform maintains your business’ hard-earned stability and reliability.
- Security – Ask about standard security features like multi-factor authentication and PCI (Payment Card Industry) Compliance. These should be requirements for any billing system you use given how critical it is to safeguard customer, financial, and related information in your industry.
- Flexibility – Determine whether a system offers the ability to customize easily within the interface for your employees or via a portal for your customers. How easily will it flex to accommodate unpredictable future needs as the hosting, cloud, and related markets evolve over time?
- Openness – Spend time test-driving a system’s customizability features, API, and any other extensibility functionality that may be offered. Review the documentation available, and ensure there aren’t insurmountable limits on what your team can do now or in the future as you expand in or beyond hosting.
- Ease of Use – Evaluate how intuitive and usable a system is – not just for business managers and finance executives but also for sysadmins, network engineers, sales reps, support staff, operations teams, and any other potential groups of users. A hosting management system needs to be successful cross-functionally for the highest adoption and productivity.
- Global Capabilities – Be sure the system can elegantly and easily accommodate multiple currencies and languages, multi-locational infrastructure monitoring and tracking, and other similar requirements as you grow your hosting or cloud business into new areas of the world.
- Support and Training – Evaluate the availability, quality and responsiveness of pre-sales, implementation, training, technical support, and consulting services as well as any hosting-specific or general education resources such as videos, tutorials and documentation to make sure your team can quickly get up to speed – and stay up to speed.
- Economics – Analyze which approach and system(s) provide the best economics for your company and your unique needs. Billing management solutions that have usage-based pricing usually offer lower upfront costs than flat-rate pricing, and these solutions will grow with you in a logical way over time.
What do you look for when evaluating a billing management solution?