No one can deny that astute telecom billing management is essential to any communication provider’s (CPs) business. Pivotal to this is an effective billing platform. When assessing the various billing platforms available in the market many CPs will, quite understandably, begin by looking at price and basic functionality. However, it would be a mistake to believe that these are the only factors worthy of consideration.
Dig a little deeper and it soon becomes apparent that not all billing platforms are created equal. Some will address all requirements whereas others will only support part of the process. Some will rate call data records (CDRs) and other types of billing data in hours whereas some might take days.
Telecoms Billing Management | Key Aspects To Consider
So, what ideally should CPs be looking for when selecting a telecom billing management system?
Pricing will always be a crucial factor when evaluating comms billing management systems. Whilst cost has to be a prominent factor, it is important to look beyond the ticket price and aim to evaluate the total cost of ownership.
The cheapest billing platform will not necessarily be the most cost effective, especially if it is slow to process CDRs, lacks automation that could reduce manual processes, or lacks revenue assurance features that would ensure you are billing profitably. In short, don’t look at the short term and consider what your billing management could cost you over time.
Integration with other back office solutions should also be considered when choosing your billing platform. In addition to the billing management system, CPs will often require accounting, CRM and WLR3 software such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Sage Accounts. A platform that can seamlessly accommodate and provide bidirectional data flow with these applications will offer many productivity benefits, creating a single point for data entry, synchronising across all applications and effectively reducing the workload of administrative staff.
A comprehensive range of revenue assurance tools is also of fundamental importance when considering telecom billing management. Constantly checking that everything is billed correctly at the right tariffs to avoid lost revenue and that customers are not overcharged, can greatly improve profit whilst reducing disputes and base churn.
Finally, and equally important is guarding against fraud. Telecom fraud is an increasing problem and, whilst carriers offer a great deal of protection against fraudulent activity, it’s still wise for CPs to take precautions. Selecting a billing platform that can automatically detect and terminate a fraud occurrence early, can save a huge amount of money for a CP and/or end user.
For example, our aBILLity billing platform features the LineGuard module which analyses CDRs and detects unusual calling patterns and charge rates in a customer’s account. If configured, LineGuard will automatically use aBILLity’s WLR3 interface to put a block on further calling to the suspect numbers, terminating the fraud event and rapidly reducing the cost of fraud.
When considering comms billing management, at the end of the day only you can decide which platform best suits your business. However, the above factors should certainly be considered during the tender process as you need to have full confidence in your billing management systems.