When the bill no longer adds up
Broker and sharing platforms and new services from the cloud are in vogue. Accordingly, the "classic" sales world is changing drastically: former product providers are increasingly becoming service providers with innovative, highly flexible business models. Those who still rely on rigid billing systems will not be able to cope with the digital transformation in the long term. With the new business and billing models, the math will soon no longer add up.
"Digital technologies open up completely new possibilities and business areas on the way from product orientation to service orientation. These in turn require new billing models," says Jasmina Cejan, Principal Consultant at GTW Management Consulting GmbH in Vienna, from numerous user projects in which she has implemented SAP BRIM (formerly Hybris Billing). In a networked world, less is bought and more is leased, rented, subscribed, saved and networked. Accordingly, billing modes have changed significantly. In addition to the changed billing options, flexible pricing and variable customer contract and receivables management are also coming into focus.
Accounting for every conceivable business model
But what is SAP BRIM all about? To put it in one sentence: BRIM, or Billing and Revenue Innovation Management, is an industry-independent and flexible software solution for pricing, billing, and invoicing a wide variety of services and products in a uniform system landscape.
With the solution, new products or product packages can be introduced within a short time, uniform invoices can be created, simulations can be carried out, and payments and reminders can be managed. Furthermore, SAP BRIM offers mass data processing, real-time connectivity and implementation of prepaid and postpaid scenarios. Due to the configurability and modularity as well as the integration with other SAP modules (e.g. SAP SD, SAP FI-AR, SAP IS-U) and the integration of existing billing systems, the SAP solution offers a high degree of flexibility.
"In particular, the billing of digital services is thus possible in a flexible manner; these can be subscriptions, leasing or usage contracts, one-time fees, consumption and much more," emphasizes Jasmina Cejan. The SAP solution combines different billing sources, makes the raw data SAP-compliant using a mediation system, and summarizes it on a single invoice during billing and invoicing. Even with very complex business cases, the invoicing process becomes much simpler. "We haven't had a case yet where we couldn't have mapped a new business idea, no matter how unusual, into SAP BRIM." Whether it's one-time, recurring fees or usage-based transactions, all billing types can be mapped in SAP BRIM. The solution therefore offers nothing off the shelf, but rather customer-specific billing measure tailoring. In the telecommunications sector, these can be pre-paid and post-paid scenarios; on Internet platforms, they can also be partner participation models, with pricing taking place in real time.
The entire offer-to-cash business process can be mapped in SAP BRIM, including quotation generation, billing for the services used, invoicing, and receivables management. For the rental and leasing business, it is advantageous that even existing upstream and downstream systems can be connected; this can be an external customer relationship management (SAP CRM), but also a third-party billing and/or tax calculation system.
Far more than energy supply
Some typical industry billing scenarios are intended to show how flexibly SAP BRIM can be used in practice. The "Contract Accounts Receivable and Payable" component is a subledger that was developed for industries with a very large customer base and correspondingly high document volumes with mass data processing. This makes SAP BRIM particularly well suited for use in insurance, utility, telecommunications and media companies as well as in the public sector.
For example, the services offered by an energy supplier have long since gone beyond the mere provision of electricity, gas and water. Today, data on consumption is usually transmitted and billed to the minute or second using smart metering systems. If, for example, time and energy consumption play a role in billing for consumption, these can be used for tariffing in SAP BRIM, as they are also transferred to the rating system. If a consumer also uses the offer to "refuel" his e-car, e-bike or e-scooter, this consumption data can be billed in real time, regardless of whether payment is made by credit card, Paypal, bank transfer or via an app. If the utility company is also a regional telecommunications or smart home provider, then the billing data can be printed on a collective bill. "This gives a customer the highest level of transparency about their actual consumption, as it is recorded in detail on a single bill," says Jasmina Cejan.
Rented, leased and sharded
Since there is now hardly a product or service that cannot be rented in some form, these business models are virtually ideal for customer-specific billing via SAP BRIM. In this way, industrial rental parks or rental services can also invoice their services to the minute. For example, if an excavator including driver is rented to a developer, a special sensor is installed on the excavator that records exactly when the excavator is in use. Such recorded data can be sent to SAP BRIM and billed in the system. This means, for example, that rented or leased machines can be charged not only according to the actual machine hourly rate, but also according to spindle revolutions, depending on the rental agreement. Even expensive hand tools such as drills are increasingly being rented rather than purchased. Equipped with a measuring device, both rental hourly rates and "revolutions in use" can be charged. There are virtually no limits to the wealth of ideas for rental and leasing models in SAP BRIM.
Invoice platform transactions individually
In general, SAP BRIM is predestined for use on Internet and collaboration platforms or for start-ups due to its enormous flexibility and modular adaptability. Broker models are a well-known example of this. A broker provides a platform for app development online, for example. This is where app developers and potential buyers meet. If the broker integrates SAP BRIM on its platform, a flexible billing system is available to developers and customers. The platform operator then receives a commission for each transaction, for example.
And the conclusion of consultant Jasmina Cejan: "The customer just needs to have the idea of how to turn their product into a service, for example a car-sharing service, and we can implement the billing in SAP BRIM."