Last week I attended the TM Forum's Management World 2008 event in Nice, to take part in a discussion panel on the future of billing. I focussed on billing convergence and the changing customer experience - convergence will make billing simple & consistent for customers.
The panel provided an opportunity to talk about some of the areas I've been looking at; single bill, subscription services, fixed monthly charge by direct debit, bundled products with a single price point, bill becoming a value statement.
I also touched on the common capability approach as an example of the new approach to delivering new billing functionality, rather than the way it was done historically - built from scratch every time.
Some other interesting themes came up in presentations:
- Real time service access verification & charging will increasingly replace post pay rating & billing. Customers want to buy content, add services on the fly, so charging needs to be real time.
- With the commoditisation of voice & broadband, content will be key but how will it be monetised? Will people be prepared to pay when they're used to getting content for free? Relevant advertising will help fund this gap - time, place, interest, context. The freemium model, where for example 90% of customers receive a web service or content for free, supported by 10% of customers who pay for a premium version, is gaining traction online.
- The challenge of moving from a product centric to a customer centric world.