Recurring revenue is critical to the success of modern businesses, as it is predictable and can account for a large portion of overall profit. However, managing recurring revenue – in particular, renewals – can be a long and laborious process, taking up an inordinate amount of time and resources.
In this article, we will dive into the root cause of recurring revenue inefficiency, and what organizations can do to solve these challenges and unlock the true power of their recurring revenue streams.
The major reason most organizations struggle with transforming their revenue into recurring revenue streams is a lack of a connected and mature IT Asset Management (ITAM) practice (lifecycle management of IT assets, from their creation to their removal, disposal or re-use). To be able to capture your full recurring revenue potential, to prevent revenue leakage and to monetize the utilization of features and services, you need to have a comprehensive understanding of the data. You need to know how that data changes over time and how it becomes disconnected over the course of the channel and customer lifecycle.
If you do not have an ITAM practice or automation, every renewal event becomes a data negotiation; every organization within the channel has their own “source of truth” that does not align with the others’. Because of this, your ability to achieve recurring revenue goals becomes illusory.
How does an organization build a successful, mature recurring revenue practice and achieve their business goals? The answer is to first understand the steps required to raise an effective IT Asset Management practice.
The first step to unlocking your recurring revenue potential is to make the data visible and accessible. If your contractual, asset and utilization data is not easily accessed (or not accessible at all), it will be extremely difficult to monetize. A lack of maturity at this step often indicates that there is a large amount of human capital processing even the most basic data activities, including meetings, emails, tickets and requests. All of these activities can significantly slow down your renewals and They can also eat into the potential profit margin of your solutions because of the high operational expenses generated by the number of people needed to query and retrieve data from inefficient legacy systems.
Assuming that your organization has a handle on retrieving and accessing that data, it is also important that your channel partners (manufacturers, distributors, providers and resellers) and your enterprise customers have shared access to that data. For example:
- If you charge your customers on the utilization of software, you need to be able to share that utilization data with them.
- Without access to asset data, distributors will not be able to understand the extent of revenue potential, let alone capture the full scope of their recurring revenue opportunity.
Once your organization can easily access, retrieve and share data, you have taken the first step towards establishing an IT Asset Management practice that will help you effectively reduce revenue leakage and capture the full potential of your recurring revenue.
The second step – the validation of this data – is a crucial component of recurring revenue management that is often overlooked or misunderstood.
It is one thing to have readily available data, but to ensure that this data is accurate and valid is the true key factor.
Furthermore, renewal and purchasing data is complex, originating from multiple systems and organizations. This data needs to be correlated and audited to create a Unified Source of Truth for all parties involved in the renewal process. If this is not done, each party has a different understanding of “truth” and renewal events turn into tense negotiations and customer dissatisfaction. Your organization might complete data cleansing and validation of your own internal datasets, but if you do not keep an up-to-date, reconciled Unified Source of Truth throughout your channel, you create an unnecessary need for validation and accuracy events in the future.
Connection and validation of data are two main components of IT Asset Management that empower recurring revenue strategies. However, data is not stagnant, and validated data only exists at the moment in time that it is initially made accurate and a Unified Source of Truth is created and shared.
To truly be able to automate, prevent data issues from turning into loss of revenue, and streamline the entire process, you need to exert governance and control over the data throughout the IT asset lifecycle and customer journey.
Effective ITAM solutions keep the data up-to-date over time, enabling you to increase efficiencies as well as revenue capture. This is especially important because:
- Whether it is the status of hardware products, the utilization of software licenses or the location of either of the above, IT asset data changes constantly throughout time.
- Customer environment and purchasing habits can be incredibly complex and the amount of movement within IT asset data can be immense, especially during a time of digital transformation.
If you cannot keep data accurate over time, you will have spent time and money on personnel and customer negotiations, only to find that you need to spend it again every time your customer wants to make more purchases. This is inefficient and will lead to an OPEX spend that outweighs your revenue increase.
Data must be accurate for it to be useful. Therefore, having the processes and automation in place to control IT asset data over the entirety of its lifecycle is paramount to achieving business outcomes.
Once data is validated and controlled, it can be actioned upon and optimized to create an effective renewal management program that leads to business outcomes that fit the needs of your organization.
Specifically, the data can be leveraged to:
- Produce automated and accurate customer-facing quotes that book quickly without issue.
- Find new opportunities, such as:
- Uncovered assets
- Current revenue leakage
- Upcoming hardware and software technology refreshes
- Out-of-compliance software license refreshes
This can result in business outcomes such as:
- Accelerated renewal rates
- Reduced revenue leakage
- Enhanced customer experience and satisfaction
- Increased recurring revenue
In this age of digital transformation, renewals are more complicated and laborious than ever. IT Asset Management simplifies the process by providing the accurate data, control and insight you need to build an efficient recurring revenue management program. Once you have adopted a mature, automated and structured IT Asset Management practice, you can begin to make your data relevant and actionable. This can result in numerous benefits, including accelerated renewal rates, increased recurring revenue, reduced revenue leakage and operational expenditures and enhanced customer satisfaction.
ITAM and Recurring Revenue Management with RAY ALLEN, Inc.
RAY ALLEN’s IT Asset Management and Recurring Revenue Management solutions provide Technology Manufacturers, Service Providers and Value-Added Resellers with expert insights into their customers’ entire hardware and software IT infrastructure, allowing them to effectively map out a robust and effective plan for enhancing their recurring revenue.