By: Chris Newton-Smith, Vice President Marketing
In today’s economy, communications service providers, in their never ending search for ways to reduce costs and streamline operations, are looking to the cloud to help manage some of their most critical back office requirements.
Even retail CSP billing systems, which have traditionally been made up of large and complex suites of services that require costly upkeep and a team of specialists to maintain, are now moving to a more nimble and cost effective route of a cloud offering. CSPs are looking at different options of leveraging cloud billing to fulfil their business needs. These include: Billing as a Service (BaaS), Managed Services and Private cloud-based billing solutions.
For many of the world’s CSPs, this is an excellent alternative to high cost systems that require extensive on-site expertise and frequent upgrades. According to analysts, while this market is in its infancy today, global telco spend on cloud-based billing solutions will grow steadily to reach USD1.5 billion by 2015. BaaS providers will take around 11% of this market by 2015. (source: Innovation Observatory Report, 2011)
A BaaS type of solution means that a real-time, multi-tenant billing system is maintained and operated by the vendor instead of the operator. In effect, from the service providers’ perspective, this provides turnkey ease to the entire billing process; from provisioning and account activation, to real-time charging, billing, customer care and invoicing, all information can be accessed via the ‘cloud’ from any browser at any time. Redknee maintains the solution while providing easy, yet secure, online access to the service provider. In fact, the CSP can even offer cloud services to their subscribers with a web-based customer self-care portal, where they can view their accounts online and make changes to their services in real-time.
Source: Innovation Observatory, October 2011
Cloud based billing system requirements exceed beyond multi-tenancy requirements. The system needs to provide flexibility and scalability to comply with the changing needs of billing in a telco environment. It requires support for sophisticated rating, dynamic price plans, handling large volumes of variable kinds transactions in real time, revenue sharing and settlement capabilities between various parties, support for variable billable units, and end to end processing with little or no direct intervention from the service provider’s IT staff.
For the CSP, moving to a cloud-based billing solution:
- Reduces the large upfront CAPEX investment traditionally required with on-site billing systems
- Reduces the reliance on in-house expertise required from the network and IT staff to manage upgrades and on-going support of the system
- Allows the operator to scale up when required
- Provides easy access to information remotely
- Allows better focus on the operator’s core business, resulting in improved products and services and better subscriber life cycle management
With their core focus on telco billing since 1999, Redknee has the expertise and the proven products to support today’s converged services, whether as an on-site licensed offering or through the cloud billing solution.