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[September 21, 2000]

IBM Enhances Its Integrated Customer Management System For The Next-Gen Telecom Market

IBM announced the latest version of the Integrated Customer Management System (ICMS), its telecommunications industry customer care and billing solution. Version 5.1 introduces several new tools and enhances the existing ICMS product to help communications providers quickly and easily implement systems that support new technologies and industry standards.

The explosion of wireless communications, the increase of data, voice and video traffic, a trend toward Web-based customer self-care, emerging standards and a rapidly expanding marketplace demand customer care and billing solutions that are quick to implement, flexible and scaleable. ICMS Version 5.1 offers communication providers a single customer view across wireline, wireless, cable, Internet and data services. The enhanced functionality and ease of use help providers reduce overall operating costs while offering their customers value-added services. Version 5.1 leverages IBM's ability to offer a one-stop shop for hardware, software and integration services for customer care and billing.

"Today's deregulated marketplace means pricing and packaging for individual needs, across services, are the real differentiators, rather than cost of service." said Pete Janca, Global Solutions Executive, Customer Care and Billing. "ICMS Version 5.1 features help companies maintain a competitive edge by responding to their customers' unique requirements quickly and efficiently."

ICMS Version 5.1 introduces Package Builder and ICMS Customer Hierarchy Builder, tools that use graphical user interfaces to simplify pricing and promotion discounts. ICMS Package Builder enables a business to define discounts for customers who meet specific qualifying criteria, which helps get new or modified products and services to market faster. The Customer Hierarchy Builder gives providers the ability to define complex customer hierarchies for corporate customers, with discount and reporting options. Larger customers can be moved to the front of the billing cycle, thereby reducing total cycle time.

Additional enhancements include:

  • Wireless Support for the North American Market -- It accommodates version 3 of the GSM TAP standard and data conversion support for CIBER protocol, supporting global industry and regulatory requirements.
  • Access Via Internet (AVI) -- Telco or cable operators have the ability to customize their existing Web site with a link to ICMS so its customers can easily access billing information, make payments and complete service orders, expanding self-care and e-commerce options.
  • Competitive Second Carrier Support -- Billing Service Providers can now lease/rent network access from a communication supplier, potentially reducing the cost of hand-off calls through other carriers.
  • Multiservice Fault Management System (FMS) -- FMS now supports both Telephony and Cable TV services, and has the ability to identify, track and resolve reported faults.
  • Openness and Integration Support -- Use of XML Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and architecture used by AVI allow interoperability between ICMS and other applications and external systems, increasing flexibility and ensuring data integrity.

"The ICMS system has replaced six separate billing, order management and customer care applications across mobile and wireline services. Now we are able to bill on one statement that gives us a global view of our customer situation, increasing efficiency and greater returns, " said Jean-Marie Spaus, Business Support Manager of European telecommunications provider EPT Luxembourg. EPT recently previewed Version 5.1 in a customer focus program, and will begin implementing Version 5.1 in October.

ICMS Version 5.1 is designed to meet the challenges of today's dynamic communications marketplace with increased openness, functionality and usability, building upon a proven solution already used by many leading telecommunications providers worldwide. It positions IBM to continue to capture a significant share of the telecom billing industry, which Prudential Securities says will grow from $2.8 billion in 1997 to $8.3 billion in 2002.

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