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Data Migration
Upgrades
Healthchecks
Tuning
Impact Assessments
Technical Assurance

Billing Specialists Ltd's consultants have recently been working on a series of projects involving rating and billing systems.

NetCracker - Rating and Billing Manager (RBM)

Complete refresh of usage and non-usage billing for a worldwide institution

We are currently assisting a worldwide institution, which is based in west Europe, to completely refresh the billing of its customers. The usage and non-usage charges have been billed independently for decades, relying on complex interfaces between both systems, but will be consolidated into a single solution to generate efficiencies and improve the service to customers. We are providing a range of consultancy over several years, including delivering changes to the legacy business systems whilst the refresh is being planned and implemented.

Migration from RBM to new Revenue Management Suite

In 2015 we provided remote subject-matter expertise to our Scandinavian client about their RBM implementation in the months leading up to their 'big bang' migration off RBM onto a new application suite from an Asian supplier that is breaking into the European market. Inevitably as the 'days are numbered' for their legacy systems vital staff were lost. With no knowledge of their business but enormous expertise of how RBM functions, we worked with their project team to answer numerous queries about their data, running remote queries against the catalogues and customer tables in their RBM database. Our immediate in-depth knowledge of the schema enabled us to provide answers far quicker than their team, enabling the challenging time-scales of their project to remain viable.

Transferring customers onto common set of tariffs following takeover of telco

Western European operator

In a project that commenced in May 2013 and lasted three years, we helped a worldwide telco operator migrate one of its key West European subsidiaries, which it had recently acquired, to its global rating and billing solution. The first stage of our consultancy converted the client's legacy retail and business tariffs into their own brands. The operator had two independent rating and billing systems (one of which was RBM 5.3 from NetCracker) and required both to handle the same tariffs.

One of the key short-term benefits to the operator was lower marketing costs and consistent communications with customers.

Our involvement included analysis of the offerings (for retail and SME customers and also partner revenue share models), then configuring RBM and performing comprehensive (positive and negative) testing, making use of tools we have developed to create exhaustive test data.

Our presence on the project was extended beyond the brand merger and we worked on their consolidation of all back-office systems onto one set of applications. The intention was obviously to substantially reduce costs (hardware, software licences and staffing). The client is moving all customers held in RBM onto Singl.eView. The choice of target rating and billing system was based on the operator's standard solution rather than which system was superior.

As well as helping to extract data from RBM for loading into Singl.eView, followed by developing a rating and billing comparison process, we provided on-call operational support during a period in which the client's own staffing levels for RBM support were reduced.

Convergent Billing Review

Middle-Eastern operator

In 2013 we supported our client's bid to win consultancy business in the Middle East where an RBM operator wishes to review all of its CRM, charging and billing systems to improve its competitive advantage. We helped our client write their response to an RFP.

Major Upgrade

Western European operator

In 2015 we have been providing a West Europe operator with Subject Matter Expertise to upgrade their NetCracker installation of RBM 5.1 up to version RBM 7.0 (which is one behind the latest version), skipping over three intermediate major releases. On this occasion the client had sufficient spare resource to perform the regression testing and financial comparisons themselves. On the previous upgrade in 2012 (upgrading from RBM 3.0 to RBM 5.1, skipping five major releases) our role involved full regression testing all of the major rating and billing processes, using scripts that we provided to drill down into the raw data.

Our first upgrade for this operator was in 2007, when we managed the upgrade from Geneva 5.3 to Geneva 5.4 (a.k.a. RBM 2.2). Each upgrade has been easier, as the RBM product quality has improved immeasurably in our opinion. In 2015 we managed to get a working system in little more than four weeks, thanks to our unrivalled experience, following several weeks of intensive analysis.

Launch of new product for operator

UK operator

In 2012 we helped a client to launch an additional product within a four-week time-frame. Whilst the configuration of this installation of a ten-year-old version of Geneva was simple, the product introduced a new 'customer segment' and the operator had a lot of custom functionality that needed to take account of this new product/tariff. The operator had more than half a million customers and was looking to up-sell by switching its customers to the new offer.

We also analysed the impact upon a series of financial reports, and modified them to support the new customer segment, which is a new section within most of the reports, reconciling the new reports and obtaining customer approval to deploy them.

Immediately afterwards we helped the client to introduce a price change, which again needed some custom code because the very hold version of Geneva did not support the accurate correction of line rental for in-advance charges.

Large-scale performance testing for operator prior to 'go live'

UK operator

In 2012 we wrote a framework to generate a vast amount of event data for a client to perform large-scale performance tests against the RBM end-to-end rating and billing processes, leveraging core RBM utilities where they are available.

Data extracts for exit from RBM

UK operator

This operator has an old version of RBM and is looking to move to third-party managed end-to-end customer relationship management plus rating and billing solution. This means moving away from RBM, and we have been involved in developing processes to perform high-speed bulk extracts to minimise the amount of production system downtime.

Post Migration Reconciliation

UK Mobile Operator with Resellers

We recently provided Java development skills to produce reconciliation and other reports for an operator that had just migrated thousands of customers into RBM.

Operational Schedule Design

UK hosting service operator

We provided two weeks of consultancy to design an automated operational schedule for an operator that had just gone live with a new RBM 5.0 implementation. This included Unix scripting to support the scheduled execution of standard and bespoke RBM reports written by Convergys.

New Installation

Worldwide Operator of Internet-Based Communication Services

In 2010/11 we acted as RBM Subject Matter Expert in the Implementation and Systems Integration of a brand new RBM implementation, with Java and Pro*C interfaces to and from RBM.

Oracle - Billing and Rating Manager (BRM)

Data Migration Project - Scripting and Testing

UK Landline Operator

Earlier in 2011 we produced scripts and ran a series of tests to migrate customers from Portal 7.2 into a new rating and billing system.

Alcatel-Lucent - Rating Enabler

Data Migration Project - Design Authority

UK Mobile Operator

In 2008 we acted as Design Authority on the Data Migration element of an implementation of Rating Enabler from Alcatel-Lucent in a post-pay environment for a major UK mobile telephony operator.

Other Revenue-Based Projects

Impact Analysis for Scottish Independence

In spring 2014 a client commissioned Billing Specialists for two days of consultancy to consider the impact to their business on a successful vote for Scottish independence. They wanted to be ahead of their competitors and to show Scots that they were taking independence seriously. Of course, the Scots eventually voted 'No' by 55% to 45% on 18th September 2014.

We looked at a broad range of issues that might have affected our client. One concerned the UK branding, such as needing an alternative to the '.co.uk' web-site, which would clearly have to be changed.

The consultancy cost was not wasted as we also advised them on issues that might arise from 'devo max' such as having differential tax rates.

On-line Sales Solutions for Not-for-Profit UK-based Rail Campaigning Organisation

Since 2010 we have been retained by Railfuture to provide all of their web-site enhancements for eCommerce - read the case study.

Last updated: 18th September 2017