Telco billing gets a drilling

In an effort to spare CFOs and enterprise telco managers the pain of fluorescent markers or forcing comma-delineated ASCII into spreadsheets, AAPT has launched a self-service, online billing reports system for enterprise customers.

Cunningly dubbed the “Online Bill Analyser”, the two-month old service has graduated from a soft launch and allows clients to divide, slice and dice the individual accounts for various cost centres within a given enterprise; granularity extends to individual call times, numbers and lengths.

“If you want you can sort that by length or expense and find out who is calling their mates in [wherever]. If there is something the customer is watching it allows them to associate names with destinations,” says AAPT project director Steve Sacks.

While identifying windbags and wastrels is an obvious benefit, Sacks argues that the real value in the new offering is the ability of customers to see fully how they use their telecomms and plan and adjust usage effectively.

"If you are trying to detect misuse of a mobile phone, you can nominate the time and then drill down into every call made in that time - from what line to what number in what city. You can [then] sort that by length or expense. If there is something the customer is watching, it allows them to associate names with destinations," Sacks said.

The Online Bill Analyser works on a straight ASP configuration powered through a specialist telco product known as Call Vision to allow users to view, sort and manipulate fixed charge services, voice, mobile and data charges on a single bill.

If necessary, data can be dumped straight into databases and spreadsheets, while an onboard PDF writer allows locked custom reports to those either more format-challenged or less trusted. On the back end, the equivalent of an electronic invoice is taken directly from CICS mainframe environment and loads into the host site to provide a presentation layer.

“It does help that we have that infrastructure whereby there is one bill for all of the [AAPT] services,” Sacks says.

Basic reporting functions have been rolled out free of charge, while a fully customisable five-user version is available for $55 per month per five-user block.

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