Leveraging data for better business outcomes
Financial services companies are constantly looking for ways to increase revenue and maximize growth. However, this can be difficult in an increasingly digital landscape where data is often scattered across multiple systems with varying degrees of accuracy.
Modern companies in the financial services industry generate a wealth of data – 70.3 billion real-time payment transactions took place in 2020 alone. With thousands of assets and transactions collected every day that need to be analysed, reported and shared, it can be difficult to keep track of what has been delivered and to whom.
The current issues
However, while providing information of this complexity and scale, financial services SaaS companies must deal with fragmented proprietary data. Without tracking and understanding how their own software is being used, it is inherently difficult to accurately bill a customer for the services they provide, resulting in potential lost revenue and a degraded customer experience.
These financial SaaS companies struggle to manage data about how their services are being used. Not having full control over data or the right processes can lead to performance issues, prevent insights from being used to plan and launch new services, and slow innovation and growth of a SaaS platform.
The promotion of the adoption of this type of software is increasingly linked to the customization of services to the needs of their customers. For example, to offer more dynamic pricing and billing, financial services SaaS solutions need a way to set a variable price based on the unique attributes of each asset and aggregate the collected data in a customized way. This means that each customer’s specific billing terms can be correctly calculated by the billing system.
Another big problem is the application stack of many SaaS and other companies. Most have modern CRM and ERP systems but rely on a legacy billing system and homegrown integrations to customer systems and data sources. Traditionally, it takes several days to add new customers to the billing system. For each new contact, the billing team must analyze the service agreement to decide whether new integrations, software development, or manual processes are required to serve that new customer.
This leads to a slow and ultimately compromised customer onboarding experience. It also puts pressure on the team to prepare everything in time for the next payroll run. While these generally give good results, they are far from efficient. Businesses need integration between enterprise applications and their accounting platforms to avoid unwanted delays and bottlenecks from using different systems.
Instead, financial services SaaS companies must overcome manual processes and automate the management of their data.
The first step in reversing lost revenue is for software to collect transactional system usage data. By connecting to all the different systems used by customers – such as online banking platforms or payment gateways – the reporting and analysis software has an overview of transactions. This ensures that no information is overlooked that could contribute to lost revenue.
Once all the data has been collected, usage data management software can normalize it into a single format so that it can be easily read by any system or application. This defines what the individual data should look like and ensures that it is structured consistently throughout the company.
Financial SaaS companies can use it to integrate all software and data formats, whether transactional data or supplementary data from the CRM or ERP that is used to enrich the data with valuable customer information.
The benefits of understanding data usage
With better control and understanding of usage data, organizations can improve the way they work. These include the high level of automation in processing usage data and easier integration between business systems, including billing.
New customer setup and monthly billing are streamlined, with more accurate billing and fewer miscalculated invoices, teams can not only save time but also prevent lost revenue.
With a more flexible back-end business system, the sales team can quickly offer flexible pricing models that can be easily customized for each customer. You can even offer multiple pricing schemes for different companies within one client.
In the future, with a more effective system, companies will be able to respond better to the needs of their customers. By collecting transaction data and software usage data, SaaS companies have a better view of how their platform is being used and how best to bill for the services provided. By using software that automatically processes any type of customer usage data, companies can easily collect, format and review customer data so that it can be returned in valuable reports that are insightful and actionable.
About the author: Stephen Hateley is Head of Product and Partner Marketing at DigitalRoute