Recently we were asked by leading industry publication, Comms Business, whether we considered scalability to be one of the most important yet most overlooked features when choosing a telecom billing platform? It definitely is! Telecom billing system scalability has to factor into any CP’s ambitions for medium to long term growth. For CPs that are looking to aggressively grow and/or acquire competitors, scalability of billing and other back office systems, is an especially important consideration. Our aBILLity billing system is used by CPs of all shapes and sizes ranging from start-ups through to wholesalers, so naturally we know a thing or two about scalability. Despite this, the question of scalability doesn’t come up for us as often as you’d expect.
There’s a variety of ways in which telecom billing system scalability can be quantified. Perhaps the most obvious is in raw processing power. Most systems will comfortably import and rate call data records (CDRs) and generate the resulting invoices at low volumes but, if a business develops as hoped, will it still be able to effectively manage in five years’ time? A billing system’s power or limitations in this area will become apparent as it’s required to process ever increasing amounts of data, tariffs, customers, CDRs, service charges and so on. For cloud-based billing platforms like aBILLity, the scalability of the infrastructure and resources used to host the platform will also play into this.
Next there’s operational scalability. For example, CPs starting a business from scratch may select a cloud-based deployment with a managed bureau service in order to keep hardware and staff costs down. As the business grows, it may become more cost effective to bring the management and/or hosting in-house. Future proofing a business by choosing a platform that caters to both these requirements and that can adapt without dislocation is therefore a must. It could well help to avoid the cost and disruption associated with switching billing systems later down the line.
Finally, there’s scalability in the sense of responding to the changing requirements of the CP, its customer base and the market place. Because the ICT channel is constantly disrupted by emerging technologies, it’s vital for a billing system to adapt as new products and services are introduced to a CP’s portfolio. Beyond technological change there’s regulatory changes to consider. Just in the past few years, Union Street has developed aBILLity in preparation for changes for non-geographic call services, the introduction of reverse VAT for wholesalers, the GDPR and now mobile bill limits.
We believe our dedication to developing aBILLity to help CPs comply with these regulatory requirements, strongly contributed to Union Street winning the highly prized ‘Best Software Vendor’ category at this year’s Comms Business Awards.