Make no mistake, billing is obviously an important function in what businesses do, but in terms of technology solutions, although it is listed as a core solution, as the old saying goes: Some things are more core than others.

I’m writing an article for the June issue of Tech Decisions on billing solutions and wanted to share some information from Martina Conlon, a principal with Novarica, who wrote a research report called “Billing in Insurance: Current State, Challenges, and Plans.”

Billing grew up as a function of the finance department, but it has evolved over time into a customer service issue and that is where the technology focus comes in. If companies were simply sending statements with the amount of money you owe them there wouldn’t be much hubbub about them, but as Conlon and others point out, billing is one area where carriers can reach out and touch their customers—and not just touch them in the wallet.

Like many things insurers do today, the bar has risen, not just from the work of the leading tier-one insurers, but by other financial services companies and even retail companies such as Amazon.

“Online self service is now a baseline expectation of a competent provider,” writes Conlon. “Expectations on mobile self service will build over the next five years.” (No offense to Conlon, but expectations on anything even remotely connected to mobile will build over the next five years.)

Carriers are not going out of their way to buy a new billing solution unless they are stuck with a real clunker, but those replacing legacy systems will be enticed by what is available, either in an enterprise solution or as a component. And even better news, Karen Furtado of Strategy Meets Action believes enterprise billing solutions are more robust than ever. They may not match what a strict billing component has to offer, but you won’t be disappointed.

Conlon lists a few of the pluses from modern billing solutions:

  • Improved customer service levels
  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • Improved agent satisfaction
  • Improved operational efficiency
  • Clear audit trail of activities

Are those some things you might be interested in?

I thought so.