Telecom Billing Software Development
- A high-performing billing and rating system
- Process automation
- Built-in invoice management
- DevOps enablement
Iflexion helped a mobile telecommunications company build an automated, scalable and dynamic billing and rating system for daily processing of 10 million records, as well as set up distribution configurations and synchronize disconnected processes.
The customer is a UK-based B2B telecommunications provider and airtime distributor offering cost-efficient mobile, data, voice, IoT and cloud solutions to 30K+ enterprise customers. Its intelligent, fast and self-optimizing cellular networks let business users stay connected around the world. The company has 1.5M+ users and offers 120K+ services and 2.5K+ products.
The customer’s business model consists in buying calls, SMS, and traffic in bulk and selling it to enterprises at a margin. The network providers process call data and generate call detail records (CDRs), saving them using File Transfer Protocols (FTPs).
Our customer had a legacy system for processing rating data, updated unbilled data, and their invoiced clients’ records, consisting of two components: a web portal and a billing module.
The web portal was used as a platform where end business users could get consultations regarding tariffs, pricing models, and contract duration, and select the most suitable telecom solution for their business.
The billing module was based on a third-party SaaS solution that rated the usage of connected services, generated invoices, managed financial transactions, etc.
The legacy billing system was outdated and posed the following critical issues:
- Poor performance, resulting in slow processing and rating times and delayed user alerts
Lack of flexibility of invoice management, billing, and product setup
Insufficient automation of rating and invoicing processes
Poor integration of the web portal with the billing system via multiple APIs, hindering their communication
These issues slowed down business operations, posing user loyalty risks and impeding growth. Under these circumstances, the customer wanted to replace the third-party software they were using with a brand new billing and rating system (BRS) in order to get rid of the issues altogether and speed up data processing.
Iflexion became their partner of choice due to our expertise in business process automation for the telecom industry, including high-load real-time operating systems.
Iflexion developed a new BRS to replace the existing solution, as well as set up effective collaboration processes between the customer’s and our teams.
The new system followed the habitual general flow of the rating process and introduced the missing functionality, including the invoice management module. This new built-in module processed all rigid structures and added flexibility at the architecture and design levels, making the system highly dynamic, rule-based, and configurable. It eliminated the need for manual invoice management outside of the system.
The key features of the invoice management module are:
Flexible invoice distribution schedules
Branded invoice templates
Branded email templates
The invoice distribution scheduling feature solved the invoicing and payment issues typically occurring at peak times. Batch API and temporary payment items helped resolve the issue of little control over the final decision to post invoice and direct debit transactions. Additionally, the unbilled data set provided admins with the ability to view the unbilled state of the rated usage.
A large pool of improvements concerned automation, namely:
A re-rating module built into the BRS that eliminated the need for manual re-rating of late events.
A payment processing module that automated most manual processes.
A new integration layer based on the REST principles that solved the problem of the poor communication between the integrated components.
A new BRS API, a UI layer, and a web hook system to notify third-party systems of tasks, results, issues, and alerts.
Background modules for the processing/rating of individual and contractual recurring charges.
Automated integrations with the customer’s other systems.
Iflexion’s billing software development team consisted of a technical expert, a project manager, a business analyst, a DevOps engineer, three Apache Flink (Java) developers, four PHP developers, and three QA experts. Our business analyst and technical expert worked closely with the customer on-site to elaborate the system components, structure, and management.
At this stage, we gathered high-level business and functional requirements and drew up the strategy for the first release of our billing software development project.
By the end of the discovery phase, we presented the following deliverables:
The project’s vision and scope
Detailed project goals
High-level architecture documentation (layout mockups, information architecture, and key navigation principles)
The prioritized feature set for the new BRS
During the discovery stage, we found out that the system’s high modularity and component diversity could lead to unresolved team dependencies and bottlenecks, thus requiring synchronization between the customer's and Iflexion’s development teams. As all the project stages except the discovery one were to take place remotely, we needed to organize the onboarding, set up offsite collaboration rules, sync up software development processes, and customize them to fit the project goals.
As the technological partner, we set up Agile-driven collaboration and communication. Together with the customer, we created integration plans to facilitate planning and manage risks and deadlines. To track and review intermittent results and implement changes based on new requirements, we delivered frequent demos in a flexible development environment.
Iflexion also implemented CI/CD practices using Jenkins. We focused on:
Local end-to-end tests
Our team also deployed an AWS-based infrastructure following a DevOps-enabled approach tailored to enterprise software development:
In the two years of our cooperation, we have become a trusted technological and development partner for the UK-based telecommunications provider. We released their new billing and rating system that helped them achieve the following results:
The rating processing power grew to 10 million records a day with no performance hindrances.
We made the invoice distribution process predictable and configurable.
Thanks to the improvements to the PHP part of the system, the invoice run time execution was decreased from 8 to 1.5 hours (by over 80%) for the same amount of data.
The system became highly scalable, dynamic, rule-based, configurable, and integrable.
The business processes supported by the solution became predictable and transparent overall.
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