ExteNet Systems, Inc. is a leading provider of converged communications infrastructure and services addressing outdoor and in-building wireless, fiber and other advanced connectivity needs of its customers. ExteNet customers include mobile network operators (MNOs), real estate owners, property managers, wholesale carriers, enterprises, municipalities and rural carriers. ExteNet’s outdoor networks are deployed in a variety of urban, suburban and rural environments while indoor networks are typically deployed in property verticals like commercial office buildings, sports and entertainment venues, hotels and convention centers, healthcare facilities and transit systems.
ExteNet was in the process of migrating to a new ERP solution for Finance and Operations. In addition, they were looking to automate revenue recognition and billing capabilities. They did not want to burden their IT staff with managing an internal on-premise solution, which would increase costs and operational complexity. As a result, they decided to look for an external provider that could meet their billing and revenue recognition requirements.
The complexity of their contracts included multi-year agreements, amendments, change orders, and billing periods, to name a few. For example, contracts can span 5 – 30 years and include annual price escalations built into the contracts. They needed the ability to auto enforce the price increase and assist in revenue recognition. Since there are an infinite number of possible variations to each unique contract, there is no set industry standard for contract structure. Flexibility was of essence to ExteNet.
On top of this, their existing process required contract managers to manually adjust contracts, set up billing cycles in spreadsheets, and rework revenue schedules. As ExteNet’s business continued to grow, they had to allocate resources to accommodate the manual intervention required monthly. Given that they bill for thousands of items across small cells, nodes and telecommunications, they saw an opportunity to increase efficiencies through automation. Finally, ad-hoc reporting and analysis was impacted because there were multiple data sources that had to be aggregated and compiled into spreadsheets. The finance team found that they were outgrowing spreadsheets as a viable long-term solution.
“At our growth rate, we were adding on average two employees per year just to keep up with the billing and revenue recognition demands. In addition, we were experiencing delays in invoicing which was an unsustainable path forward and an absolute requirement to automate,” said Joe Cummings, Vice President Information Technology at ExteNet. “We knew there had to be a better way, so we started looking for software solutions and identified RecVue as our go-forward billing and revenue recognition solution platform.”
ExteNet’s primary goal in the selection of a new billing and revenue recognition solution was to be able to accommodate the anticipated growth and complexity of the industry over the next ten years due to the 5G revolution, the future of the Internet of Things and autonomous driving cars.
“We needed the ability to be nimble and flexible to manage our growth and continue to capture market share,” said Cummings. “The ability to infuse flexibility into our financial operations, automate our billing and ensure it was on time and accurate was critical.”
After evaluating a number of solutions, as well as considering custom configuration of their existing ERP environment, they selected RecVue for its ability to drive the expediency of their order-to-cash processes and to recognize revenue more quickly as they secured new business. RecVue also met their requirements for handling staggered start dates for projects with multiple sites or locations, while still presenting a consolidated invoice. The ability to handle contingent commission calculations where the price of an asset may vary based on how it is used (e.g. number of providers on a network) was also a big differentiator. In addition, because the telecommunications industry is heavily regulated, compliance is critical. RecVue offered ExteNet the required compliance capabilities.
“With the 5G revolution, we have a growing number of competitors. We needed a billing and revenue recognition solution that would support our business growth as we gain market share from existing competitors and fend off new entrants,” said Cummings. “RecVue was the perfect partner we needed on this journey.”