By Ilan Benodiz, CTO, FTS
June 3, 2019
As we explored in another article, only communications service providers that are able to monetize their offering more efficiently will be able to turn telecom billing into a source of revenue. In order to do so, they need a future-proof billing solution. There are countless telecom billing platforms to choose from – so what are the most important things to think about when selecting a telecom billing solution?
Like all the best software tools, the most important trait of a good telecom billing solution is how user-friendly it is. It can be the most powerful and comprehensive software suite there is, but none of that will matter if it can only be used by experts or power-users. And that can mean multiple things: an easy to use graphical interface is important as well as simple operation that does not require a platoon of sys-admins. However, it is also important that it allows its users to quickly set up workflows, no matter what it is they are trying to achieve with the software. The best solutions are those that accommodate all types of users, technical or business-oriented.
The solution should also be comprehensive in the functionality it offers and allow users to do everything they need to in the same place. Think of supporting multiple digital channels, creating new invoice types, managing complex partner relationships, generating advanced payment and tax reports and enabling innovative payment methods, like banking apps or electronic wallets. But it should also be able to adapt to new IoT vertical business models, moving the CSP from the position of providing connectivity-only to becoming a more significant player in the IoT value chain.
However, other than templates, an advanced business support system (BSS) should also offer flexibility to communications service providers and allow them to constantly develop their offering. Because they need to, in order to be able to respond to other, competing CSPs. The slow and unwieldy systems of yore could take weeks and even months to change a plan, and by that time, existing customers and potential new ones will have switched to the competition. An efficient solution should allow any user with a good idea to independently create and deploy creative plans within a few hours.
Another important consideration of telecom billing software is how well it plays with other tools that are in use, like for example customer self-service digital channels, reporting and analytics, or a CRM tool. So first, you need to make sure that the software can be integrated easily, providing documented APIs and system extensions options. If not, you should check whether the developer of the tooling will be able (and willing) to assist, should you run into any problems during rollout. In any case, proper support from the vendor is essential.