Implementing a new Real Time Convergent Billing system is a special type of project. There are specific pitfalls, which can cause untold disasters, if you’re not aware of them. Maybe you’ve implemented a new billing system in the past and will relate to some of these disasters waiting to happen:
- Unclear Requirements: Though everyone knows at a high level they want to move from the old Billing system to the new one, it’s the details you need to focus on. In many organizations, the billing system has been built up over a number of years. Things have been bolted into the billing system year after year. Unraveling the massive ball of yarn isn’t easy. It takes time to uncover all the dependencies.
Not spending enough time on this effort up front, will cause untold problems when they are discovered. In any project, making changes when they are heavy into development can be costly and will most likely impact your delivery dates.
Rather, spend the time up front to carefully map the dependencies and sit with the End Users such as Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) who will be able to identify all the systems being used on a day-to-day basis.
- Not enough focus on Migration: Migrations are hard! There’s no other way to say it. Everyone knows you need to migrate your data from the old billing system to the new one, but they always underestimate the effort required.
Some of the things to consider are:
- Are we migrating both active and inactive subscribers?
- Does their history need to be migrated to the new system?
- How do we map the fields from the old system to the new one?
- How can we test the migration?
- What will be the outage window? Make sure the migration can complete within the outage window.
- Big-Bang Project Delivery: Implementing a new billing system is a complex endeavor. Typically, billing systems are ingrained into every area of your business. It’s obvious, since you want to bill the client for every area of your business. When you consider the sales system, order management, facilities management, provisioning and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems, to name just a few, you have a large set of dependent systems! To make things worse, trying to implement all those changes on a specific day, at a specific time, is pretty challenging.
To get around this problem, it’s better to look at a Phased/Iterative project delivery method to minimize the risk. Rather than trying to implement a big-bang delivery impacting all your systems, focus on a subset of services. You will need to run the 2 billing systems in parallel for a little while, but you’ll minimize the risk to your business.
Though real-time convergent billing system projects have many unique challenges, it’s best to go with a company that has a track record for implementing them successfully.