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Unified Communications

UC: Billing & CRM for Unified Communications service providers

In a business world where communication is inevitable irrespective of the location where one or more individuals are present, Unified Communications is the solution. Unified communication makes sure that the individuals across locations are not only identified rather communicated effectively over chat, voice or video without compromising on the quality of the service.

Many players provide end to end unified communications solutions to the corporates so as to enable them in taking faster and accurate decisions as well as to deliver on promises made by the corporates to their business users by effective and timely communication On this outset, it is quite important that the Unified Communication Service Providers are enabled with the right pricing and cloud billing solutions so as to monetize from the varied range of services they are offering to the corporates. Just by deploying the service does not address the issue for the unified communications service provider. Rather the providers ensuring internet connectivity also has to be properly managed to make sure that all stake holders involved in service delivery are properly managed.

A robust and dynamic IT environment is hence critical in this scenario, the key business support systems being Customer Relationship Management, Product Catalogue, Rating and Billing and Partner Management SURE! Unified Communications is an end-to-end customer care and billing system designed to handle the customer management, charging and billing aspects associated with multiple services offered as part of Unified Communications. Key features include

  • Full-featured business rule-driven solution that includes end to end management and maintenance of the customers as well as making sure that best services are offered so as to retain the customers and deliver delight.
  • A proven transaction processing core that has been benchmarked in excess of 1,000,000 records per minute
  • Support for multiple level of hierarchies within the corporates
  • High-performance and scalable billing engine that can generate invoices to multiple corporates
  • End to end partner management modules which makes sure that other stake holders as part of service delivery are properly managed and serviced
  • GUI-driven configuration and rule-based data processing that enables service providers to adapt business processes to changing local market rules, regulatory requirements
  • An open and scalable technology platform that allows easy integration into an existing system landscape

Solution Architecture

UC Billing & CRM Solution Architecture

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Customer Relationship Management

Customer Management module is responsible for managing and maintaining all customers and associated contracts. Also the module makes sure that the entire hierarchy associated with a corporate customer is captured and maintained. Major feature includes

  • Campaign Management and prospect to customer conversion
  • Capturing the order information associated with a corporate incumbent
  • Tracking the changes associated with a corporate as service orders and thus managing the entire history of activities for the corporate
  • Supports different customer categories among corporates for proper management
  • Associating corporate with the right plans based on which the invoices are generated
  • Capturing the hierarchy as per the multiple locations of the corporate customer where the UC installation has to be performed.
  • Account activation and deactivation with association of services used
  • Credit classification and credit control
  • Customer intimation on the new offers and promotions
  • Advanced search facilities using account attributes
  • Management of tickets raised as part of enquiries or complaints

Customer Relationship Management

Product Catalogue

In a Unified Communications business landscape, the corporates will be given all or part of the services available with the Service Provider. This includes presence, collaborative meetings, voice mails, voice conferencing, video conferencing, hosted PBX etc. Again there can be sub services and offers within the main services. It is also quite important that the other stake holders (like network providers, ISPs or telecom operators) are also given the share of the revenue which the corporates receive as part of offering the services. Product Catalogue is hence is must so as to capture the products and services which are required for charging as well as to determine the share of revenue given to the stake holders. Key features include

  • Definition of Products and description
  • Association of products in a catalogue
  • Associating rates with each product
  • Definition of the rules based on which the products has to be priced based on the usage
  • Ability to vary the pricing rules based on the transaction parameters and customer parameters – Bandwidth, QoS, Customer type etc.
  • Ability to offer discounts on top of the products based on the usage
  • Ability to define time based rates for a product
  • Ability to bundle hardware and associate the same in the plan.
  • Ability to define multiple pricing models – flat, tiered, cumulated etc
  • Definition of revenue share for the partner for each product.
  • Absolute or percentage based rate share

Product Catalogue

Rating – Real Time and Batch

Once the customer details are captured and services are allotted, usage details will be generated from the networks. There are instances where the usage needs to be priced immediately and balance to be properly updated. In postpaid model, the usage needs to be captured and priced against the product catalogue. This balance updation or usage details will be published online also so that the customer can always keep track of the usage for a particular session.

  • Ability to capture the usage events across industry standard network protocols
  • Real time authorization and balance management in case of prepaid services
  • Ability to manage multiple services and sessions in real time against one common balance available with the customer
  • High performance postpaid usage details processing based on the available product catalogue
  • Rerating in case there is change in the rate even after the rating process is complete
  • Policy Management to make sure that the usage limit allocated is properly tracked and managed
  • Suspense clearing process enabled in case of processing failures

Real time and batch rating

Consolidated Billing

Billing module makes sure that the corporate as well as all geographic locations for the corporates are billed and invoices are sent to respective locations. Billing makes sure that all charges available from rating as well as other charges like rentals and discounts are considered, consolidated and included in the final bill of the corporate. Major features include

  • Convergent bill for multiple services used by the corporate in the main office as well across geographies
  • Representation of invoice amounts against each location and corresponding payments
  • Discounts based on usage or based on any other user defined conditions
  • Configurable bill cycles: weekly, monthly, quarterly, annual
  • Revenue Assurance processes
  • Multi-currency support for invoice presentation and multi-currency payment support

Consolidated Billing

Payments and Collections

Payment processing is an important phase of customer acquisition and involves tracking of the collections made by the customers through the channel partners. Timely collection of payments will bring in the desired cash flow into the service provider organization and is a very critical function with respect to the stability of the organization Magnaquest’s SURE! has end to end Payment and collection features to support payments via different modes of payments as well as collection mechanisms to make sure that proper follow-up is performed so as to track the unpaid amounts. The major features supported as part of Payments and Collections Modules are

  • Payment Collections
    • Online using credit/Debit Cards. Support for customer vault and direct online mode of payments
    • Automated Clearing Houses
    • Cash
    • Cheque
    • Direct Debit
    • Advance Payments
  • Collection
    • Definition of pay by dates – Date before which payments should be collected after invoicing
    • Follow Up based on number of days elapsed after payment due date
      • SMS
      • Email
      • Clawback or Penalty
      • Temporary Service Disconnection
      • Permanent Disconnection

Payments and Collections

Contact Center

As the central hub which links the customer and the organization together, a call center also helps in giving customers the information they want, the resolution for their problems and hence enhances customer-to-organization relationship. This function enables the organization to focus on various parameters in an effort to gauge performance and resulting in improving efficiency and quality of the services. Magnaquest’s SURE! has end to end Contact Center solution which can support call center operations for a service provider. The major features supported as part of Contact Center are

  • Provision for call monitoring, outbound calls, remote agent call looping etc
  • Asterisk* based solution which facilitates internal calls to be routed to CSR Agents and auto populate required customer information.
  • Includes CTI client and server component as part of the architecture
    • Server manages the Agent Vs Customer assignment rules
    • Client polls the information to auto-populate the respective information to the user interface
  • Support ACD, Blended (conference) and IVRS interfaces
    • Location agnostic routing for ACD– Routing of call to agents based on the location from where the customer wants the repair to be performed.
    • In IVR, option available to move away from menu driven approach. Rather rules can be configured to make the customer to talk directly to the service agent based on the customer profile.
    • When CTI queries the customer database a match is struck with respect to the details provided and the details are fetched. This data is then populated instantaneously on the UI along with the inbound call. This results in easy problem resolution for the customer. This is an experience that ensures customers’ delight and increases the potential to turn the customer service call into a revenue-generating call.

Contact Center

Partner Settlement

Partner Management module makes sure that all stake holders involved as part of service delivery is properly maintained and agreements are followed as per the terms and conditions. Defining the revenue share associated with each service and releasing the amounts to the partners is hence quite important from partner settlement point of view. Also if there is a dispute, there should be an option to perform the reconciliation and comparison and close the dispute at the earliest possible. Major features supported are

  • Capturing the details of the partner. This includes the names, contact details etc
  • Agreement details like the term of contract, the charges to be paid, the catalogue based on which revenue share is decided etc
  • Definition of partner share. The share could be defined against a product or a service or against the total invoice amount for a month
  • Pricing which will compute the revenue share for the partners in real time or batch based on the requirement
  • Invoicing of the partners based on the amount mentioned as part of the agreement as well as the revenue share amount calculated as part of the service usage by the corporates
  • Ability to reconcile the invoice from the partner as well as with the service provider in case there is a dispute
  • Settlement of the disputes as credit notes or ad-hoc credits

Partner Settlement