The Top Seven Reasons Billing Implementations Fail

Implementing a new billing system is one of the most complex undertakings for an IT department, not only is the billing system responsible for calculating all of a company’s revenue, but this system is often integrated with other key back-office software, such as accounting and enterprise resource planning (ERP), ordering and customer relationship management (CRM), provisioning, usage collection, payment processing and tax calculation. These integrations cause technical challenges in the implementation process that can be highly visible to all areas of the business. In this blog, we will discuss the seven most common reasons that cause complex billing implementations to fail.

1. Insufficient Planning: Given the complexity of these implementations, developing a thorough plan that involves all parties is essential. Deadlines are often communicated up front, before the new billing vendor is even selected, which causes a time crunch for the implementation team and inevitably leads to shortcuts in planning. To avoid this mistake, resist dictating an artificial go-live date and let your technical team plan the details before determining an implementation timeline.

2. Lack of Executive Buy-In: Because the billing implementation will impact various systems and departments, having executive level buy-in and involvement is critical in resolving disputes between departments and making business decisions that can simplify the process. The implementation team often encounters objections, which requires overruling by leadership to establish a better and cleaner system.

3. Incomplete Requirements: One of the major pitfalls of billing implementations is incomplete requirements, which typically happens when all of the impacted departments or stakeholders are not consulted about the project. When the system being replaced has been in service for a long period, some legacy knowledge of underlying details may have been lost over time. Another subtle but significant pitfall is the misunderstanding of terminology. A good practice when starting the requirement gathering process is to build a list of key terms and ensure that all users understand the definition of each term. Then, using those common definitions, define the requirements as completely as possible with the in-house experts.

4. Integration Complexity: Billing systems tend to have several integration points. Project complexity becomes an issue when numerous technical and business teams must be involved to ensure that the workflows are maintained and all systems communicate the required information with the new billing system. Because business processes can change with a new implementation project, modifications in the integrated systems may also be necessary.

5. Data Migration Challenges: Data migration is a huge focus for billing system implementation projects, with all customer accounts, addresses, products, services, payment methods, balances, and, optionally, history needing to be brought into the new system. Developing the data migration plan early in the project and practicing data migration multiple times before going live will ensure that all data issues have been resolved well in advance of the cut-over date.

6. Inadequate Testing: Testing billing implementations can be challenging because the test cases are much more complex than with other system implementations. Some examples include ensuring that revenue is recognized correctly over time, prorated charges are being calculated properly when a customer cancels or upgrades to a higher level of service, and information is displayed in an easy-to-understand format on the invoice.

7. Resource Constraints: The biggest resource constraint tends to be when key business and technical resources have their own responsibilities to focus on outside of the billing implementation, which leads to delays in gathering requirements, getting timely answers, and conducting testing. The best approach in mitigating this issue and ensure success is for executive management to intervene and dedicate key resources to the billing project.

Implementing a billing system is a complex undertaking that requires careful planning, collaboration, and a proactive approach to overcoming challenges. Organizations can significantly increase the success of billing implementation by having key executive sponsorship, a dedicated implementation team, solid requirements, a good data migration plan, numerous practice data migration attempts, and an abundance of testing. If you would like to speak with one of RESPEC’s billing experts about ways we can help, please email us at

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