Chris O’Kane, BIZview business manager, guides resellers through the three phases of the journey for customers to reconciliation-as-a-service.
As resellers, when you are talking to your prospects and customers about the transition to an ‘as-a-service’ model, there are issues, barriers and benefits which, if you are familiar with them, will add real value to your discussions and potential success.
Due to the complexity of ICT services, barriers to overcome include: the need to quantify the end benefits in terms the customer understands, how you will manage the transfer of institutional knowledge, and how to link the new services to actual business outcomes.
This will be harder to achieve if a competitive incumbent supplier is involved, as commercial sensitivities will mean no visibility of current costs, such as the rate card.
Triple phase As you take these prospects and customers ‘on a journey’, there are three phases to consider.
In a pre-transition phase the current services, the consumption and associated costs need to be identified and documented as a baseline to measure against (existing TCO).
The data needs to be collated into meaningful information to produce a definition of existing services including any interdependencies, and a definition of what a successful transition to the as-a-service model will look like. Develop an implementation plan that aligns customer benefit realisation with milestone payments (cash flow benefits for both customer and reseller).
The transition phase should incorporate reconciliation as an activity within the project plan, as this will ensure service changes are reflected in the invoices (dates and charges). Actual costs can then be tracked against forecasted cash flow, which can also provide an additional control to ensure interdependent services are terminated together and relinquishments are not missed.
The post-transition phase should include a final benefit realisation, and an end of project wash-up.
Including reconciliation as part of the project not only manages cash flow but it also minimises the effort to do both the benefit realisation and project wash-up.
Independent benefits Using, or proposing the use of an independent third party to do the reconciliation can remove the issue of viewing commercially sensitive information while providing additional transparency and assurance for the customer. And ensuring what was agreed, is delivered, and correctly invoiced.
This will help ensure that the ongoing relationship and discussions become focused on value, not around invoice or cost issues. Ongoing reconciliation and service assurance is an integral part of the as-a-service model, and independent reconciliation-as-a-service can provide this.