As a company committed to innovation, boosting the productivity and efficiency of our customers, and supporting their digital transformation, we had the opportunity to sit down with Kill Bill’s Pierre- Alexandre Meyer and discuss how innovation has helped shape the company’s digital transformation journey.
Tell us about yourself and your company.
As a software engineer, I’ve spent the last ten years focusing on the billing and payments sector. Along with Stéphane Brossier, we created Kill Bill– a very active open-source project used by all types of organizations to handle subscription billing and payments.
How has innovation brought digital transformation to Kill Bill?
Stéphane and I have always been remarkably in agreement about what we wanted to do with Kill Bill and how we were going to do it. That has made it so much easier to try out new ideas and experiment with innovative projects. This has helped evolve Kill Bill into what it is today.
At times, one of us may be skeptical of the other’s ideas, but because we have the same vision, it’s not the type of skepticism that’s going to tear our business apart. And if the idea doesn’t work out, there are no recriminations. C’est la vie!
Also, we are always aware that over time, an organization can get stuck in a rut. Whenever we have a new team member come on board, we’re particularly interested in how they react to Kill Bill, our processes and workflows, and so forth. Having a fresh mind on board grants us a new point of view.
We remain open to trying different ways of doing things, provided that they generate measurable results that align with our digital transformation goals.
Can a company teach its people to be innovative?
I think so, but not in a step-by-step way. Being innovative is about having an open attitude toward changes.
Feeling threatened by new technologies, methodologies, and other things is the polar opposite of innovation. Having the space to own your mistakes and not having to be right all the time is what innovation is all about.
But all of this can be difficult to remember when you’re down in the trenches trying to get things done. And because it seems like one is always in the trenches, you actually have to create a balance between building in accordance to the time frame given and having time to think about how you’re doing things. Otherwise, you will keep doing things the same way, over and over.
As I mentioned earlier, we especially like it when new people join the team and tell us what we’re doing wrong! It gives us a different perspective.
How do you motivate employees over the long haul to keep them focused on innovation?
First of all, when we hire new team members, we’re particularly interested in those who ask a lot of questions about what we do (open-source billing and payments). That kind of curiosity is not something you can instill in a person. For us, curiosity is the mother of innovation.
Encouragement and communication are important, of course. You can’t squash new ideas constantly and expect the idea presenter to remain enthusiastic, much less remain with the organization.
However, there are only so many hours in a day, and at some point you have to choose from a list of potential ideas. We don’t have a set schedule for doing this, but when the “innovate” list gets too long, it’s time to prioritize and cull!
Let’s talk about technology. Increasingly, companies are trying to close the innovation gap by working with partners like Wovenware that have deep expertise in the latest software technologies, design trends, consultancy services, and agile practices.
What value has Wovenware brought to this partnership with Kill Bill?
Having a technology partner is like having two heads instead of one. We can focus on what’s important to us and continue to spread the word about Kill Bill and still receive the benefit of that partner’s previous experiences.
Stéphane and I don’t have the bandwidth for new or customized software development. By necessity, we focus on maintaining and supporting Kill Bill. A partner like Wovenware can completely manage a customized development project for companies using Kill Bill. Every time Wovenware successfully completes a project, we get to reflect on their glory! And, of course, the success of the project helps to spread the good word of Kill Bill even further.
Why is Wovenware the right partner to support Kill Bill’s digital transformation journey?
Wovenware has been working with the Kill Bill software for several years now, and it’s completely familiar with its ins-and-outs. Subscription billing software can be quite complex, so this isn’t a simple or easy accomplishment.
We’re completely confident in Wovenware’s ability to successfully perform Kill Bill customization projects. Without this kind of trust, Kill Bill’s growth would be quite restricted. Not to mention, without relying on them to handle these complex enterprise-level integrations, we wouldn’t be able to focus on “the stuff”—like innovating!
As a side note, a couple of the customized development changes that Wovenware created have been folded back into the main source code. That’s a clear benefit to us in not having to do any of the actual software development work, but continuing to build upon the software’s features.
Because Kill Bill is open-source software, all of our current and future Kill Bill users get to benefit from these enhancements. That leads to more satisfied Kill Bill users, who also spread the word about us. We look forward to our continued growth and to the future challenges we might encounter along the way.