We at JeraSoft have been developing billing solutions for communications operators for 12 years already, and more than a dozen of implementations have taken place over this period. An efficient and accurate billing system is necessary for most businesses that offer subscription-based services: Internet service providers, telecom providers (wholesale VoIP, SMS, OTT, MVNO, Retail VoIP, Mobile VoIP) and IoT providers, data centers, content service providers, cloud services and others.
We have worked on many different projects, from start-ups with non-standard requirements to large operators who decided to replace their outdated billing systems to a much better solution. In every case, the set of input requirements for such services is very different and the choice of an ideal system is not an easy task. In September’s series of articles, we will talk about what you need to keep in mind when choosing a billing system to avoid common issues and possible losses.
Why Billing System at All?
Billing systems are an important component of the communications business. These systems process information about the services consumed by subscribers and payments made, control the balance of personal accounts and track credit available. It is through changes in billing options that marketing campaigns are implemented for the operator’s customers, discounts are applied and individual financial conditions for the subscribers are taken into account.
Billing not only connects and deactivates services: it stores the entire history of consumption of services. By processing and analyzing this data, it is possible to develop loyalty programs and control the outflow of the subscriber base, which means that the choice of a quality solution plays an important role in managing the company’s market and revenue flows.
To create such a system independently is a complex, long and very costly task. But to choose an external product that will meet all the needs of the business is not often easy either.
Billing System: Problem of Choice
In the market, there is a large number of serial billing platforms, each of which has its pros and cons, as well as supporters and opponents. There is a lot of information about different products, it is scattered around various forums and sites, and it’s quite difficult to understand exactly what should be considered when selecting a billing system as well as a long-term business partner.
So we’ll disclosure important factors that need to be analyzed before deciding to start working with a particular billing system.
Intelligence of Architecture
The quality of the system is determined by the quality of its architecture. Most often, it is in this area that the main problems of the self-written solutions lie, however, in the billing series there are design errors. This is what you should pay attention to when evaluating the architecture of the system.
Since billing is a system that most directly affects the business of a telecom operator and is selected for years to come, it is important to analyze what technologies a particular product is built on and how easily these can be scaled up and reconfigured for the growth of the customer base and changes in usage patterns.
The introduction of a billing system is a complex process, where errors may lead to future failures in customer service and financial losses. Therefore, it is desirable that the billing developers offer users assistance in its design and deployment.
In the last few years, the competition in the telecom market has increased dramatically – a period of rapid growth, when there were a large number of unreached users and settlements, is a thing of the past. Now you can only acquire new customers by enticing them to switch from other providers. So, you need to pay attention to the way the billing system can support various marketing tools that will help attract new clients.
Not every billing system can work under conditions of frequent changes in various parameters. For example, the marketing efforts of some providers involve the development of a large number of tariff plans – this is necessary to understand which combinations of services attract users more and allow maximisation of revenues. If such work is carried out constantly, then often there is a need to remove inefficient tariffs and replace with the introduction of new plans. Without support for such a flexible configuration, it will be very difficult for an operator to effectively manage a billing system and avoid errors or failure.
Quality of Support
Billing is a critical part of the operator’s business strategy and process. Therefore, you need to be able to quickly solve any issues as they occur with the help of the developers. The quality and speed of the Billing Creator support service are one of the key factors to pay attention to when choosing a billing system provider.
Cost and Flexibility of Pricing
In addition to purely technical and organizational issues, the final decision on choosing a particular system is seriously affected by its price. Billing can be open and free, or closed and quite expensive – in different situations, it may be justified to use each of these options.
The choice of billing solution is an important decision in the life of any communications operator because this system will be at the kind of the heart of the whole business process. Therefore, the analysis of possible options should be handled responsibly. Do not hesitate to ask developers of various systems a large number of questions about their services.
There is nothing wrong with, for example, inquiring about the number of customers, the size of their business and their location, and ask for contacts for other customers to receive feedback about working with the system. In addition, one should also be interested in the plans of the developers, which may affect the telecommunications operator’s business. If a city provider buys a billing system from a company that plans to sell the business to an international corporation, then there are obvious questions about what will be with the support available subsequent to this decision.
In a series of articles, we’ll dig deeper into each of the above factors to help you choose the best a billing solution provider to meet all your business needs.
For general and sales inquiries regarding JeraSoft IoT billing or telecom billing solutions, please contact our Sales Department at [email protected] or use the form and a team member will get back to you as soon as possible.