Tower Billing made simple & easy

Client
A leading independent telecom tower company, having operations in multiple countries and continents.

Client’s Requirement

Automated & Flexible billing system, which can –
a) Eliminate all billing errors
b) Build overall efficiency by bringing Operational Excellence
c) Better visibility of the revenue across the region
d) Standardization of the billing process across different countries irrespective of different contracts and billing parameters

Solution offered

With expectations clear and task in hand, Infozech decided to deploy its top-rated product – iBill, Tower Billing Solution for the client.

Journey

First country

The country which had got maximum billing issues was chosen first. The payments from customers were pending for last six months owing to billing disputes. Client’s customers were not clearing bills because of multiple billing errors, unauthorized charging, and sites being billed on wrong parameters. Billing team was under tremendous pressure and was trying very hard to provide billing supporting documentation and convincing their customers. In this mix-up, several iterations of the bills were happening and multiple Credit/Debit notes were floating every now and then.

From the management perspective, the cash-flows were getting impacted and there was continuous trust deficit happening with the customers. This was hitting business directly. iBill was introduced and the foremost thing done was to configure all the charges and set-up billing rules for once. Approvals from SMEs were taken in consultation with their customers before the first bill was generated. This way, our client and their customers were aligned with the billing logic.

iBill has a billing engine that is capable of processing thousands of records within minutes to generate accurate and precise bills. The first bill generated from iBill was not having any wrong charging or billing errors; however, there were still many questions on the data which was used to generate the bill.

To address this issue, iBill was integrated with the external systems – Asset Manager, RMS and GL account to fetch all the data automatically in order to do away with manual mistakes. In addition, a workflow was built in iBill to highlight exceptions in the input data with the purpose of eradicating all the errors before the bill is generated.

Automated corrective actions based on the agreed rules were also set up so that the correct values can be used for billing. Input consumption data compliance for billing increased from mere 55% to 95%.

The next bill which got generated from iBill was better received by the customer and the disputes were much less. Within three months, billing disputes which initially were on 25%-30% of the sites, got drastically reduced to less than 2% of sites.

Another thing that added to the customer delight was the supporting documentation along with the final bills, which provided all the details of data, rates, billing logic and other information used to calculate the billing amounts. Customers are more convinced now and have 70% lesser queries. This is saving the precious time of the billing team and they can now focus on more productive tasks.

Second country

With this success in the first country, attention turned to the second country. Other than the common problems, the two major problems our client was facing in this country was complex MSAs and multiple billing contracts with the same customers on a different set of sites. This was making the billing process extremely difficult and time-consuming, and the billing team was not able to meet the timelines to share the bills, which was 20th of every month.

iBill implementation helped the billing team to configure all the complex MSAs and billing rules with the help of rule builder interface of iBill. This rule builder layer allows the user to manage all the contracts and rules and allow new rules to be created on the fly. With this, the billing team was able to generate their monthly bills by 7th of every month, a significant 65% reduction in time.

Third country

The third country deployment was much quicker as the solution was ready and catering to all the requirements through configuration. The only time that was required was to do country-specific integrations. Standard billing procedures could be defined in iBill from day 1 and the set-up was done by the users themselves from iBill front-end interfaces. Bill validation & approval workflow was introduced to ensure there is no revenue loss. It was quite appealing to the business users and the bill validation activity was now much smoother. Any deviations with the last month’s bills were automatically highlighted by iBill and user can focus more on these sites only. The customers were able to see more accurate, consistent, customized bills with complete information and that was increasing their confidence.

A year after implementation
Now when our client is using iBill for three countries for last many months, there are many positive things that are being witnessed by our client.

With iBill, there are now reduced Revenue leakages. Bills are generated automatically from sanitized data based on the approved charges, which ensures the accuracy of the generated bills.

Automated process for bill generation has also guaranteed the timely generation of bills, which has further ensured timely payments from operators. Stringent SLAs for billing are now ensured in terms of quality and timely output, and service levels are assured and risk has been mitigated. Time reduction has now improved the cash flows and payments from customers are coming in time.

iBill has brought transparency in the billing process. Data is available in a single repository and a controlled access is available to different users. For easy and quick access to reference & verification, historical information along with track and audit history is maintained as and when any data-set changes. This has resulted in minimal disputes with the customer, and even if there are any, those are resolved in a timely manner as all the supporting information is available in iBill. It has also brought high confidence in data & versioning of data for customer facing account manager. There is a better acceptance of the bills by the customer, and our client is able to build deeper customer relationships.

With iBill, improvements in overall operational efficiencies have been observed. One time configuration of contracts and MSAs in iBill has reduced dependency on SMEs. Standard billing procedures have been defined in iBill that has helped in the execution of the same across all geographies and users. Audit findings in billing process are now 80% lesser. Flexible & configurable rule-based billing logic layer has supported all the current contracts & MSAs and has also enabled the users to capture any future Contracts and MSAs, with minimal changes and faster turnaround. It has also helped in reducing the working capital required for bill generation and delivery.
Management is able to better assess their financials because of better visibility of revenue. iBill reports provide deep insights about the financial-health at sites. Loss-making sites are identified and highlighted, and the actionability can be defined on such sites. From this information, management is able to maintain sustainable margins for at least 95% of the sites. Informed decisions are being made based on iBill reports and budgeting for coming years is done based on this cost and revenue data.

Our client is looking at iBill as strategic tool and expansion into other countries is being planned.

Feedback received directly from client

“Infozech has a very good understanding of Billing System, Processes and Operations. The team ensured zero error billing in the delivery of Pre and Post Bill Data since several uninterrupted Bill Cycles. Infozech as a Team exhibited a high level of commitment and have been very flexible in meeting business critical requirements. Thanks to Infozech Team for supporting us in a very complex and critical billing function.”

“The extensiveness provided by the system in terms of configuring MSAs, and configurability of building new business rules on the fly has provided flexibility to our sales team to go into the market with new plans and pitch the business models to the operators which are more suitable to them.”

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