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Author's profile photo Former Member

Telco Billing – Reports of Its Death Are Greatly Exaggerated

A recent headline in a telecom trade organization’s publication caught my eye.  It was titled, “The Death of Billing (Again)”.

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Admittedly, I was intrigued by what the author might have to reveal, given SAP’s investments over the last few years in its telecom billing solution.  Would he reveal something that would prove SAP’s strategy to be errant and misguided?!  Has this fast moving telecom market changed so fast that we missed something?!

The article basically establishes the point that the billing function is being pressured to evolve beyond where it is today versus it really dying.  The article goes on to discuss the shortcomings of many legacy billing systems that are in production today at telcos and why they are already or will soon be insufficient. 

The key characteristics of the future billing system aligns with the key features that our solution possesses! 

Examples include: 

  • Real-time charging is now a “must have” feature in billing. 
  • The rise of on-demand and pre-paid commerce models, stress legacy billers designed primarily for the post-paid model.
  • When bills / invoices must be delivered, they must be able to be rendered in real-time across multiple devices / media formats.
  • Charging and service delivery is becoming more dependent on “policy” rules.
  • Support for multi-sided business models, as content (especially 3rd party content) becomes a predominant service being delivered.  Content owners will demand property rights, including use charges, commissions, and royalties be charged and realized.

Again, SAP has addressed these requirements and we at SAP are committed to continue to evolve with the market needs!

Equally important, related to these points, SAP has a unique portfolio of capabilities (e.g.,  Analytics,  In-memory computing, mCommerce, M2M support) that go beyond these points in terms of billing innovation that can further provide a competitive advantage to a telco!  Admittedly, SAP does not yet have leading mindshare in the telco billing community.  However, as this article points out, legacy billers and legacy billing vendors that do have the mindshare, are falling short of market needs.  For some time now, SAP has been stating that telcos need to “rethink billing”, this article indicates that this is indeed occurring! 

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      Author's profile photo Harris Veziris
      Harris Veziris

      I think SAP should be more aggressive in promoting these solutions to telcos, since in many cases it is not even considered as a viable contender! It is a tough break to convince customers, when well established competitors (many, a fraction of SAP's size) have succeded with lock-in for decades.