Many in the technology industry have heard the mantra people, process, and technology. All three components are required to work together for the successful scaling of any business. Many times, startups are very scrappy when it comes to a lot of things including processes.
Outgrowing Your Processes
It’s understandable, everyone is just looking to get their job done and grow as fast as possible on a very limited budget. Many times, startup processes are very manual, and as you grow, they take longer and longer to complete, and sometimes startups can outgrow processes. As time goes on, team members work longer hours and weekends, exception reports are created, manual processes continuously get created and go undocumented, and errors happen which lead to negative customer experiences.
Hopefully, during this growth stage, you’re not experiencing any revenue leakage or turnover in any key positions. In the early days of Dyn’s growth stage, it took several billing team members more than a week every month to manually process invoices in an open-source, homegrown billing system, which were then sent to customers. Every month it took longer and longer to complete this process. When the company reached $20M in ARR, a decision was made to automate billing processes and to do so in a cloud environment.
One of the many reasons this decision was made was the need to hire more people to support our growth rates and the impact that growth had on our manual billing processes. It was a clear signal that it was time to invest in this area and the ROI was relatively simple to figure out. Fast forward several months to what we were able to deliver through this initiative which was automated daily invoice and payment processing. It was very well received by employees and customers. It allowed the billing team to focus on other improvement projects, reduced errors, improved reporting and compliance, and allowed us to close the books faster.
Enhance Existing Processes
It was a big step required to scale the business. Billing system migrations are also a good time to document, optimize, standardize existing processes. It’s a very smart idea to do those things prior to any system selection or strategy initiatives. Your technology investments will only be as good as your processes so think long and hard about them!
Steve Perras is an experienced leader with a demonstrated history of working in the Internet and Financial industries. Steve is a Director of Business Systems at Right Networks.