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Eye On Tomorrow
March 2002


Flexibility On Demand


What�s hot in convergent billing solutions? With the economy tight and budgets slashed, service providers want practical features such as �flexible event� and �user exits� that help optimize the billing system for current and future operations.

What carriers face today: Billing systems deploy a super set of billing event attributes, many of which aren�t needed for current services. The �extra baggage� slows processing and unnecessarily increases storage requirements. 

Flexible event allows a carrier to predefine the precise attributes of the billing event according to current requirements � and to add attributes, as needed, for future services and features. For example, a wireless carrier offering voice today may only need to process and rate events according to call duration, but they have the option to bill for quality of service and content at a later time when wireless Internet service is added. 

By limiting billing attributes to those needed at a point in time, flexible event keeps processing time and server resources to a minimum and places no excess burden on storage, potentially saving carriers millions annually.

User exits permit service providers to add implementation-specific business logic easily and cost-efficiently. Typically, billing systems allow carriers to modify features through GUIs. However, GUIs are limited in handling complex problems. User exits add functionality by providing access to the billing system�s features, without having to manipulate the system�s source code foundation. They allow a carrier�s IT staff to develop and �plug in� proprietary business logic, which needs to be implemented through source code to leverage their own business processes with the billing system�s features. 

User exits are a huge advantage because carriers do not have to spend time or money understanding a billing system�s source code to customize features.

Together, flexible event and user exits help carriers cut costs and efficiently support convergent services. The flexibility to define rating attributes and customize processes simplifies extending the billing solution across networks and IT systems � no matter what new services emerge in the future. The features enable carriers to combine services based on any number of rating attributes to create new service packages, maximize service value, offer cross-product discounts and present detailed or summary invoices � without outside programming support.

Rene Sotola is CTO of Tapestry, AMS�s next-generation convergent customer care & billing suite. Please visit their Web site at www.ams.com.

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