The Importance of a Smart Billing System

The Importance of a Smart Billing System

The billing system-also known as the business support system-is a vital tool for communications service providers. The system bills end customers and manages payments to service providers. Having an efficient, feature-rich and “smart” system is essential as technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Natural Language Processing (NLP), Internet of Things (IoT) and Advanced Analytics become more pervasive.

There are four main features of a smart billing system:

■ Self-configurable module
■ Self-healing module
■ Personalized offer recommendation module
■ Charging The Connected Things (CTCT) module

Self-configurable module

Service providers spend a lot of time creating and testing configuring plans and offers on their billing systems. A smart billing system allows them to reduce the development time so they can get their offers to market faster. Utilizing NLP, the service provider simply talks to the system, giving the requirements just as they would communicate the requirements to the configuration team. Once the system receives the requirements, it uses AI and ML to perform the required configuration of the plans and offers. But it doesn’t stop there. The system then tests the configuration using test automation and generates a report. A human then verifies the requirements, charges and approves the configuration.

Self-healing module

Customer Experience Management (CEM) is perhaps the most important component of the service provider’s billing system. Quickly resolving customer queries is essential for maintaining good relationships with the customer. To enhance CEM, smart billing systems have a self-healing mechanism that continuously monitors for errors generated in the system. If an error is found, the system generates an error code and fixes the issue autonomously. If the system is not able to fix the error, it generates an alarm and creates a ticket that it sends to the support team to resolve the error.

Personalized offer recommendation module

Because competition is fierce, customer retention is a high priority for service providers. Indeed, retention is often more important than acquiring new customers. An important feature of CEM is the ability to provide customers with personalized offer recommendations. The smart billing system understands each customer based on their usage history and recommends offers or plans to help them get more out of the network. For example, the system might recommend a heavy data usage customer a data-friendly plan. Not only does the system have the intelligence to create and propose an offer, but it can also customize rates and tariffs. With this approach, the service provider can keep its customers happy with personalized offerings based on usage.

Charging The Connected Things (CTCT) module

Given the forecasts of tens-of-billions of IoT connected devices entering the marketplace within the next few years for critical applications such as smart cities and industrial automation, an increasing percentage of service-providers’ networking business will be generated from managing how these devices communicate. As the network is the bread-and-butter revenue generator for service providers, they need to focus on maximizing revenue from IoT applications. Smart billing systems can not only help service providers bill their customers on a fixed-price basis but can offer services for billing customers based on usage of connected IoT devices. For example, many IoT devices become active and communicate only intermittently and are inactive for long periods of time to save power. Billing these devices based on usage creates a win-win situation for service providers and their customers.

Aricent pioneers in communications technology with deep domain expertise and over two decades of experience working with leading communications service providers across the globe. Combined with our expertise in AI, CEM and IoT, Aricent’s Product Services & Support team helps our customers develop next-generation smart billing systems, with end-to-end services ranging from R&D services to managed services. For more information please visit www.aricent.com

 

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