As operators move into a converged technology space, the need for an extensible multi-service orchestration platform is clear. And yet many providers continue to try to double up their billing system for service fulfillment — and then wonder why they struggle with scalability, performance, security, and time-to-market.
Why not just use a billing solution?
The main problem with the “one-size-fits-all” approach is that most billing systems are designed for monetary transactions, not service fulfillment. Using only one system makes it difficult to make changes or scale up without dismantling your entire BSS/OSS network architecture.
It can also compromise sensitive customer data. Billing solutions generally fall under the banner of business support systems (BSS), which encompass order-taking, payment, and revenue management. These processes involve sensitive customer information and require restricted access from operations teams and customer service representatives.
Order fulfillment, on the other hand, is broader in scope and used to manage, process, activate, and fulfill subscriber orders — it’s part of operations support systems (OSS). The easiest way to remain scalable and secure sensitive subscriber data is to run separate but complementary BSS/OSS. This way, if you need to make changes to billing or revenue management, the service provisioning and order-taking side of things are not affected.
A robust service fulfillment solution should integrate tightly with billing to act as the focal point for multi-service orchestration and allow visibility into relevant data without creating multiple touch-points for administrators or CSRs.
Still not sure? Here are six advantages to integrating your billing solution with a dedicated service fulfillment solution for multi-service orchestration:
1. Eliminate the “swivel chair”
Multi-service orchestration provides visibility into data from multiple systems. An integrated solution that acts as the central point of service provisioning and management eliminates the need for multiple entry points and reduces human error.
2. Quick service request turnaround
Enable the swift activation of services, which may involve multiple technology platforms, through a single interface. This might involve a customer phoning a CSR to activate a new service or could be even faster if self-service is enabled.
3. Effective diagnostic and assessment for troubleshooting
If you just have a billing system, it can be difficult to diagnose information in other silos or gain the corresponding permissions to view relevant data. With a dedicated service fulfillment solution, you can review issues from a platform that has visibility into orders taken, provisioning, and service management. A CSR or technician may be able to retrieve a diagnostic on the deployed device while the customer is on the call and quickly determine the actions required to rectify the situation.
4. Reduction of inter-department conflicts
A one-size-fits-all billing system for service fulfillment can create problems when one department needs to make changes that affect another department. Rather, scalable modules that integrate allow teams to work concurrently and gain visibility without back-and-forth requests.
5. Better access control and security
Define roles and responsibilities, and only make the necessary data and customer information visible to protect sensitive details by differentiating administrators from non-administrators.
6. Empower subscribers with self-service
Meet the needs of tech-savvy subscribers and reduce support costs by offering a self-service portal where subscribers can access their account information, subscriptions, and add or remove services. This speeds up service activation and can also be used as a direct marketing platform that is backed up by analytics to provide personalized preferences.