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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Introduction to Billing System

Billing in telecom industry is part of the big Business Support System (BSS) architecture. The purpose of billing is a tool for telecom Provider Company to invoice customer for service or product used by customer. Billing used in telecom industry not just as an operational tool, but also as competitive tools to keep up with the changes in the market.

New telecom operator and incumbent telecom provider needs the advanced billing for giving the innovative charging and tariff for their customer. For example, some new operator will need to give seconds based or even character based charging for their call and text message services. While incumbent will need to give a lot of bonuses, such as free call for some call usage, for 100 minutes call usages customer will get 50 minutes free call.

The others system that will need billing system is fraud management system, loyalty system, Interconnect system and data warehouse. Below will be explained those systems in details:

Fraud system
In telecom industry there’s always possibility for fault, either by person or system. Billing system need to supply data of customer usage to fraud management system, then fraud system will calculate and compare those data with network call data to get the mismatch between those two data. If billing data less then network data, it will be revenue leakage in the systems.

Loyalty system
Customer will get benefit for their usage and subscription. Billing system will provide data for usage and customer data for loyalty system. Then loyalty system will create point for each customer, the point it self will be able to exchange will bonuses from operator.

Interconnect system
Interconnect is mechanism for provider pay their call cost to other operator. For example, A provider customer call to B provider customer, then A provider should pay B provider interconnect cost for each call. How to determine the cost? This is where Billing pays important role to set the cost. Billing system will provide data for get the interconnect cost.

Data warehouse
Data warehouse or Business Intelligent mainly used by top management to make strategic decision for company future move in the telecom industry, either to set lower tariff or enhance the ARPU (Average revenue per user). Billing system usually provides cost per call per customer to be manipulated in data warehouse and presented in business intelligence dashboard. Some information related to data warehouse could be found in data warehouse solutions.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Customer Management in Telecom BSS Architecture

In the telecom business support system we have identified the four major items, one of them is customer management, Customer management is part of business support system that specifically support marketing, sales and customer relationship management (CRM) process. Lets review all those parts and how customer management could support them.
  • Marketing process
Maintain the entire marketing program that is available for customer, marketing program will includes tariff plan, customer group and what benefit that is available in each marketing program. Customer management system also need to have analysis tool to help marketing people make better decision in creating new marketing plan and evaluate the existing.

  • Sales process
Sales process includes order entry process, sales order from sales agent to the main customer management system. Basically sales process part is how to entry new customer to the system and how to track the performance of the sales people.

  • CRM process
CRM is process for retaining existing customer, including loyalty management, service center, call center and complaint handling.

Customer Management Software
In telecom industry there are several customer management software that widely used. Here are some of them:

1. Oracle Siebel System
Known as Siebel CRM system and play as market leader in the CRM industry, not just in telecom business, but also in banking and finance industry. Oracle bought Siebel in 2007 and try to enter the telecom industry and provide customer management solution. Siebel had advantage in support, web application and its complete module (more on Siebel CRM system).

2. Sword Ciboodle
Previously develop by Graham Technology, then changes its name to Ciboodle after bought by Sword. This java based customer management software is starts their customer management ability as CRM software and the develop as customer management system.

3. Salesforce.com
Pioneer in cloud computing system, salesforce.com is start their way as sales and marketing software and latter on developed also as CRM system.

4. Huawei Customer Management
To complete their domination in telecom industry, Huawei provide customer management to their telecom solution.

We’ll discuss on those software in details in different article.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Telecom Application Map

This telecom application map is adapted from TMForum telecom application map. Then the question lies, what the hell is telecom application map. for simple understanding, telecom application map is frame of reference for telecom applications.

Friday, January 8, 2010

What is Telecom BSS?

BSS is a stand for Business Support System in Telecom Industry. In Telecommunication we also familiar with term OSS, which is Operation Support System. This two BSS and OSS makes telecom industry grow rapidly in this past years.

Business support systems (BSS) are the components that a telephone operator or telco uses to run its business operations towards customer. BSS and OSS platforms are linked in the need to support various end to end services. Each area has its own data and service responsibilities.

Business support systems cover four main areas in Telecommunication services:
1. Product management
2. Customer management
3. Revenue management
4. Order management

Product management
Product management supports product development, the sales and management of products, offers and bundles to businesses and mass-market customers. Product management regularly includes offering cross-product discounts, appropriate pricing and customer loyalty programmes.

Customer management
Service providers require a single view of the customer and regularly need to support complex hierarchies across customer-facing applications (customer relationship management). Customer management also covers requirements for partner management and 24x7 web-based customer self-service. Customer management can also be thought of a full-fledge customer relationship management systems implemented to help customer care agents handle the customers in a better and informed manner.

Revenue management
Revenue management is a BSS focus on billing, charging and settlement, that can handle any combination of OSS services, products and offers. BSS revenue management supports OSS order provisioning and often partner settlement.

Order management
Order management as a beginning of assurance is normally associated with Operational Support Systems though Business Support Systems are often the business driver for fulfillment management and order provisioning.

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