In part 1 of this blog, I have already described how the market looked like when FIQAS really began in the mid-1990s. In this part 2, I will take you to the future as we see it and provide a sketch of how we respond to it.
Flexible response to changes
In the time that then internet provider ZON was offering free internet, new business models came up. That also meant changes for FIQAS. It was also said that user-based billing was on its way out and that everything would be ‘flat fee’. Since then however, it has gone the other way: customers prefer not to have a flat fee but just want to pay for what they use. This goes to show that it is hard to predict the future. It is especially important to be able to respond flexibly to changes. Telecom companies now want to enter into long-term relationships with their customers. Customized invoicing is certainly crucial in this.
Creativity and data
One aspect that we can definitely exploit in the future is to tailor our services to the data we get from our systems. If we find out that in a customer base of millions of customers, most people pay on a Saturday at the beginning of the month, then we can do something about it. For example, by adjusting the timing of the billing or by testing which type of reminder works best for a certain group of customers. In the field of data mining, Business Intelligence and even Artificial Intelligence are obviously becoming increasingly important. This will help us make the billing process even better and more efficient in the future.
Examples of what is possible
The difficulty of innovation is that most people cannot imagine it. For example, when we ask our customers what they would like to get from their customer data, we usually get a question in return: can you show what is possible? It is a key point for us to build good cases that can serve as examples for our customers. They will then be triggered to look at other aspects, and together we will further improve the process. This can be basic questions, such as ‘does the customer find that this customer is a good creditor?‘, but by combining, aggregating and anonymizing data from various sources we will make even more progress.
PSD2 and blockchain
Today Payment Service Directive 2, abbreviated PSD2, is a typical disruptive development. Banks are eliminated from the payment collection process, so that collecting parties have immediate access to their customers’ bank accounts. This makes it much easier for organizations, because they can instantly see if the customer’s balance is sufficient and reversals are less likely to occur. The payment world is changing, which makes flexibility an absolute necessity. Blockchain is another development: fraud free digital payments without the intervention of banks. At FIQAS, we are closely watching the developments in the areas of regulation and acceptance. But when the time comes, we are prepared to work with the systems that our customers are working with.
The services we offer to our customers can of course be expanded on all sides. For example, together with a new customer we have found a way to create an order management system as an add-on for our system. Such a modular extension is always interesting for us, as it gives us an opportunity to provide the crucial piece of the puzzle for our client to be successful. And if this applies to that one customer, there will be other customers that we can help too. So, we are still focusing on what we are good at, but increasing our focus in this way, with performance and scalability as starting points.
Back end of the billing process
Another extension of our services is at the back end of the billing process. For example, we also provide the amicable (first phase) collection process for our customers. In addition, we have customers whose rating and billing are not even that complex but who come to us mainly because we are so efficient in managing the reminder process and the reporting around it. Each customer has their own focus and we are able to adapt to that. That is the way we will continue to make the difference in the future as well.
Managing director FIQAS Software B.V.
FIQAS is an authority on invoicing processes, established in 1989, with renowned international customers and operating from Aalsmeer (greater Amsterdam area).