Finance & Accounting Articles

GetApp Meets: goTransverse CEO James Messer on Monetizing the Internet of Things

by Karen McCandless
Published on 30 July 2015

globe and Jamess Messer face

Building four billing companies, two of which became the undisputed leaders in their industry, is no mean feat. But James Messer, CEO of goTransverse, is not about to stop there. He believes the Internet of Things is one of the biggest opportunities for back office systems "in our lifetime", and that SaaS solutions such as his company's TRACT platform can reap the rewards of this opportunity.

In his interview with GetApp, Messer talks inspirations, achievements, as well as the opportunity to monetize the Internet of Things through cloud-based billing.

What would you say are the biggest challenges you are facing at the moment in your business?

Continuing to hire grade "A" employees to support our tremendous growth is a challenge for us.

And what do you see as the biggest opportunities for your company in the next 12 months?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the biggest back office opportunities of our lifetimes. A recent article in CIO Insight highlights remarkable statistics projecting the IoT's growth.

According to Cisco Systems, 99 percent of physical objects will eventually become part of a connected network, with an almost 30-fold increase in the number of connected devices from 2009 to 2020. McKinsey also states that the IoT has a total potential economic impact of $3.9 trillion to $11.1 trillion a year by 2025, which is 11% of the world economy. Even the less optimistic forecasts are enormous. When looking to monetize this revolution, people are first and foremost looking at SaaS solutions to help them process this usage and grow revenue.

How can companies actually monetize the Internet of Things?

The IoT is all about processing and monetizing usage data, and is already having a significant impact on the creation of new products and services across a number of verticals, including telecom, transport and location-based services, utilities, industrial, healthcare and many, many more. Each one of these new business models and their connected devices are producing valuable usage that tracks how customers are consuming products and services.

How does this relate to SaaS and billing?

Advanced cloud-based billing not only allows rapid time-to-market, but if it enables bundling of subscriptions and the critical ability to meter, rate, and dynamically price these usage events, you start to realize the full potential of the IoT.

What do companies need to take into account when considering the impact IoT has on billing?

Firstly, the rapid and dynamic provisioning of devices requires advanced RESTful APIs (cloud-based APIs) and the critical ability to manage metering and entitlements.

Then, there is usage or "consumption" based billing (where customers pay for what they consume). This can't be effectively done without the ability to "rate" in as real time as possible each and every event that is to be monetized. This rating capability also allows important tiered and tapered pricing and the pooling of events (similar to a family plan and the ability to share or carry-over event bundles/buckets to the next pay period).

Customers will also want to be able to review their consumption and billing charges, as well as manage basic parameters of their account without an expensive reach into a contact center. And any billing software you chose should support new business models and allow you to react quickly to the market.

What other trends do you see affecting the billing industry in the years to come?

It's really just about being flexible enough to quickly support whatever business model the market wants to deploy. We are their monetization engine. As we say, if you're not billing for it, it's a hobby.

Who has inspired you the most throughout your career or who do you most admire professionally or personally?

I come from a very hard working farming family. Anyone who works the soil from before sun-up to past sundown has my deepest admiration.

What achievement personal or professional are you most proud of?

Successfully building an enterprise billing company is a remarkably difficult endeavor. I've been involved with building four billing companies, two of which became the undisputed leaders in their industry, with multibillion dollar exits or market capitalizations. Out of these companies, I am most proud of goTransverse's TRACT platform, which I firmly believe will have the largest market impact of the group.

What is your favorite piece of technology you use either at work or at home?

My turntable.

TRACT Billing is based in Austin, why do you think there is such a burgeoning tech scene there?

It's a creative town, full of vim and vigor, that moves to its own beat and doesn't take itself too seriously. What's not to love about that?

This post was brought to you in conjunction with billing solution provider goTransverse.


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