Case Studies /

Cyrus One Part 3: Reimagining efficient invoicing

By Janeiro Digital | April 11, 2017

CyrusOne offers data center solutions and colocation services for enterprise clients. Their global data storage centers allow customers to purchase the space and services needed for housing and maintenance of their technical infrastructure. CyrusOne’s state-of-the-art facilities feature power and cooling efficiencies, redundancy, connectivity, and other services crucial to the smooth operation of their clients’ equipment.

Over the course of three large-scale digital projects, Janeiro Digital has proven themselves as a valuable collaborator for CyrusOne. Their iterative Rapid Alignment cycles drove a deep understanding of CyrusOne’s business objectives, feasible proposals for solutions to those needs, and accurate predictions of the costs and resources required. By coupling those learnings with an innovative Design and Development process, Janeiro Digital has answered some of CyrusOne’s biggest challenges time and again.

The success of the previous CyrusOne Data Center Marketplace and CyrusOne Portal projects established a solid working relationship between CyrusOne and Janeiro Digital. The confidence CyrusOne had in Janeiro Digital’s ability to deliver meant that additional divisions within the organization began to take notice. While the first phase of Design and Development for the Portal project was underway, a member of the CyrusOne finance team came calling with a struggle of his own.

Challenge

CyrusOne needed a clean and efficient way to handle their billing operations. Every sale for CyrusOne is unique, with a different mix of discounting, service consumption, applied promotions, or special accommodations that vary from one to the next and even from bill to bill. When it comes time to bill each customer, Finance has to measure their actual variable usage of those different factors to generate the total charge. There are many different factors that can influence each month’s bill — how much cooling, how much bandwidth, how much cross-connect — and so the bills are never a steady rate. The ability to reconcile what was sold, what was used, and what was built was a source of trouble and confusion for CyrusOne, as it is for most companies that utilize variable usage models.

CyrusOne had evolved a complex process to deliver each month’s billing that relied on manually arranging and calculating the customizations and variables needed for each and every customer. The time-consuming process often inadvertently introduced human errors and omissions. They were doing their best with an outdated best-fit software solution that was originally designed for the real estate market, but it lacked features specific to their business and had a high learning curve for any new staff.

They wanted to bridge the gap between the information the software was giving them and what their customers actually wanted to receive — which were often very different. With the business growing rapidly, they were becoming more and more concerned about the scalability of the system and their need for additional resources to handle the workload.

As luck would have it, Janeiro Digital was fresh off a similar invoicing project for another client. The timing and circumstance were ideal for both CyrusOne and Janeiro Digital to take on their third project together.

As the primary users of the system, the finance team functioned as stakeholders in the Rapid Alignment process with Janeiro Digital. Janeiro Digital worked with them to conduct in-depth research and analysis and fully understand both the problem and the systems and operations that were in place. The finance team offered feedback throughout on the user experience, wireframes, and the prioritization of features.

With confidence in the plans and well-tested hypotheses, Janeiro Digital was able to ensure high quality output and precise alignment with CyrusOne’s business and technology objectives up front. Then, Janeiro Digital moved into their well-structured Design and Development phase to build out a new solution with low risk.

Solution

To improve the finance team’s operational capabilities, Janeiro Digital designed and built a comprehensive new invoice creation tool, the CyrusOne Invoice application. The streamlined custom invoicing system would be flexible enough to handle all of their customer invoicing needs. The new application would be able to prepare invoices for customers that prefer to have them based on distinct purchase orders, those that may need only a single grouped invoice, or any configuration in between.

It would be a powerful system able to generate and deliver thousands of invoices in minutes. In addition, it would be built in a scalable way in order to handle additional company growth over time. The system would be designed with an intuitive user experience and workflow in mind, with a modern user interface that would ease the onboarding process for new staff.

One of the biggest goals of the new solution would be to remove manual processes such as importing information, assigning customizations based on customer, creating invoices, and sending them out by email. Instead, the complexities of the process would be rolled into one seamless automated workflow that would automatically account for the intricate variables of each sale.

Benefits

Since it was implemented, the invoice platform has given the Finance Team the assurance that they are always billing for the right amount. It removes manual processes and automates the simpler tasks, cutting down on human error. As a result of the various workflow and process improvements, CyrusOne is now able to bill all of their customers quickly in five minutes rather than five days.

The customized invoice solution groups and delivers invoices to customers in a flexible workflow based on customer needs, which allows for invoice changes over time without heavy manual intervention. The intuitive user experience reduces the need for specialized knowledge and training in order to assist in the invoicing process.

With their new invoicing platform, CyrusOne is able to meet their customer expectations, deliver exactly the invoicing format each customer prefers, and stay competitive in their market. The Finance Team is able to ensure seamless service for their customers from Sales through to Invoicing.

Transformative technology solutions

Time and again, CyrusOne has utilized Janeiro Digital to deliver meaningful and impactful work across a variety of project types. Janeiro Digital dedicated time to understanding the challenges faced by CyrusOne across their operations. These conversations made it possible for Janeiro Digital and CyrusOne to develop a natural and organic working relationship distinct from typical digital services engagements. Janeiro Digital listens acutely to their business problems and consistently answers those needs with innovative technology solutions.

For CyrusOne, Janeiro Digital has helped them take many tasks that were fully manual and automate them. Those improvements have created an efficiency across the organization that allows CyrusOne’s employees to focus their energies in more productive ways than they could before, for smoother and faster operational efforts. For the finance team, their invoicing and billing operations have become more automated and, as a result, more reliable for their monthly, quarterly, and yearly billing cycles.

Janeiro Digital consistently displays agility in their approach to the work with CyrusOne and is committed to finding the right solutions for each new challenge. Janeiro Digital has developed tailored solutions for each project that utilize the most appropriate technologies available in the most intelligent and effective ways.

The focus from the very beginning was always on CyrusOne’s challenges and how to address them. Through mindful conversation, deep understanding and analysis, and a process designed for success, Janeiro Digital has been able to introduce transformational change for CyrusOne with each and every new project.

About CyrusOne

CyrusOne operates state-of-the-art data storage centers around the globe. They offer customized data center solutions tailored to the IT needs of their customers to help them lower short and long term capital and operating costs. This allows their customers to overcome current and future capacity constraints by responding to technological updates, meeting business growth, and complying with up-to-date industry regulations.

Learn more about CyrusOne at www.cyrusone.com.

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