There is still a division between operator and vendor thinking. This is actually a good thing. Part of a vendor’s job is to keep his eye on the horizon and help the market figure out how we will charge for the new stuff. Operators, on the other hand, are just trying to get bills out, cheaper, faster and accurately.
Commercial conferences tend to reflect the vendor’s job, small workshops and seminars cater more to the operator. Workshops on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will attract operators.
The Global Billing Association produced a set of 10 KPIs a few years ago, and hosted a benchmarking project to allow members to measure and compare key points in the billing process. The favourite was ‘the percentage of inbound calls that relate to billing.’ This KPI, more than many others, showed how they should be for discussion, not simply for measurement.
The ‘percentage of calls about billing’ KPI needs to be measured over a significant period of time to be relevant. Otherwise, other parts of the business could affect the percentage. If the network is misbehaving, then percentage of calls about billing will go down, as people call to say they cannot get connectivity (assuming they can call at all). If everything else is working perfectly, then the percentage is likely to be higher.
Spikes, however, can alert operations to something being wrong. Perhaps some CDRs have been processed twice, maybe it has missed a batch (although that would be less likely to generate calls).
This KPI also triggers other discussions. If the percentage is high, why? What are the root causes of the high level of calls. If it is unclear bills, then investment might be needed, but it may also be that the cause is missing or inaccurate CDRs, or fraud, or, as was generally the most common cause, inaccurate order entry. Hopefully, now that processes are being automated more and more, this is no longer the case. It would be interesting to find out.
It is vital for the billing process to be measured by billing guys, otherwise “someone else will do it, and that is never good.” And, anyway, it brings with it good discussions.