Union Street’s Head of Sales and Marketing, Vincent Disneur, recently discussed the benefits of billing integration as part of leading industry publication, UC Today’s, telecoms billing series.
Following are some key excerpts from the interview and there is a link to the complete article at the bottom of the page.
Building Better Billing Integration
To get the most out of your billing platform in the age of digital transformation, it is essential to effectively integrate it with other best of breed applications that you may be using to manage your business and its operations.
In an ideal scenario, your billing platform should work seamlessly with your existing infrastructure, particularly in a world where efficiency is the key to customer satisfaction and enterprise success.
Disneur has been in his position at Union Street for nearly a decade, overseeing growth in the company’s partner base from around 150 to almost 600 resellers. This has included, in many situations, requirements for the company’s aBILLity™ billing system to be integrated with other business and/or operational support systems.
How Crucial is Integration for the Modern Marketplace?
As Channel resellers of all shapes and sizes continue to search for the perfect end-to-end solution to realise their strategy, integration has become a crucial factor in many business operations. With that in mind UC Today began by asking Vincent his opinion on the importance of connecting a billing system with other back office solutions such as CRM.
“The demand for a billing solution that provides integration with other back office solutions is growing. In fact, almost every implementation supported by Union Street in the coming years is likely to feature some kind of integration – varying from simple opportunities for export and import routines, all the way through to fully API-driven services.”
What Kind of Software Will the aBILLity Platform Integrate With?
The aBILLity platform already offers out of the box integration with accounting platforms such as Sage 50 and Sage 200. The system can also provide pre-developed integrations for Microsoft Dynamics and Creditsafe, when it comes to integrating with accounts packages other than Sage, Disneur explained that:
“Union Street often receives requests for integration with QuickBooks, Xero, and SAP. Although we don’t yet offer out of the box integration with these software packages, we’ve already begun to develop solutions that allow us to tailor the output of our system to meet corresponding “requirements.”
Commenting on the importance for resellers of integration between billing and WLR3 software Disneur said:
“As an Openreach third party integrator (TPI), Union Street not only offers the fundamental provisioning and assurance interfaces for BT WLR products but, by having this tightly integrated with the aBILLity billing system, we are able to provide levels of automation that are not possible with a stand-alone TPI solution. Holding a single system of record for your WLR3 asset base negates the time-consuming task of keeping two platforms up to date and, by having product pricing available from the billing system, the WLR order process becomes a configure-price-quote tool. Service charges and CLIs are automatically attributed to a customer’s account when the order completes, remembering any bespoke pricing agreements that may have been negotiated at the point of sale. This ensures there is no loss of revenue due to someone forgetting to update the billing system!
“Beyond this, the power of an integrated WLR3 solution even allows our partners to place Call Barring orders of WLR lines if certain levels of suspected fraudulent activity are detected in the call traffic. The whole process is unmanned and automated, so that if fraud is detected from call traffic imported in the middle of the night, an order is still placed there and then to mitigate any losses.
“For everything else, we have recently developed and introduced REST (Representational State Transfer) APIs that allow third parties to integrate with our platform more easily.”
What are the Benefits of Platform Integration?
We have spoken before about the importance of customer experience as a key differentiator in the market place and many telecoms and IT resellers are beginning to recognise this. Likewise, customers are beginning to demand more efficient, faster services. Vincent was asked how integrating billing with other back office systems can help to deliver a competitive advantage in this way.
“Choosing a billing platform that can integrate easily with back-office solutions, CRM programs, financial platforms and so on, is pivotal to speeding up work-flow so that businesses can start to perform at an accelerated rate.”
“By automating time-consuming manual processes and eliminating the need for duplicated data entry, departments within a business can be much more productive and free to focus their efforts on delivering an incredible customer experience.”