Reconciliation. Visibility. Alerting. The risk of missing billable usage is "too damn high."
One of our recurring clients at Cognizant Softvision (fka Devbridge) brought a quite unique problem to our attention.
Through the year, New Relic's Finance team had been enduring a manual process of pulling and assembling data usage through different systems to ensure customers using their services were being billed properly.
Emphasizing this amount of manual work, the team would spend on average 30 hours out of a 40-hour workweek performing this reconciliation process in a single-core Excel instance on tens of thousands of accounts, taking precedence over other activities that were required of them.
To alleviate the issues around this approach, we performed a top-down discovery effort to define an approach to eliminate all issues to begin with. Our team worked to create a solution placing all data from source systems into a single place accessible by all stakeholders in New Relic Finance and Engineering, so that the process could begin to eliminate issues that would require reconciliation in the first place.
Multiple problems stemmed from why users were being billed improperly, but there was a focus on the amount of time spent by Finance on multiple issues.
In our discovery phase we identified the types of issues that Finance team were running into and our larger question was why the team hadn't identified issues for the NR engineering teams to address system-wide. It had turned out that there was an active initiative that had been in place to try and resolve issues - our scope had expanded to provide metrics that would help those teams identify if issues were recurring less often based on changes they deployed.
In an ideal world, we want to provide our clients with the world-saving solution that will swoop in and solve every need possible. However, the world of software development is quite constrained, and we faced multiple issues with delivering a full solution in a quick timeline to address all the needs around this issue. Thus, we used this engagement as a way to deliver what we could at the moment - a set of tools to help alleviate the time finance was taking to address issues in billing.
I'm happy to chat more about my work at Basic.Space. Send me a ping at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to learn more!