All over the world, telecom corporations use a unique Telecom billing solution called Operational Support System (OSS). A layman might have never come across this word OSS, but the entire telecom industry centers around it. This provides the ability for Telecom giants to maintain data of millions of users and bill them for their calling expenses. It is a recent invention and was developed in the 1970s. Until then billing was done manually, by administrative staff. However in this time and age, when billions of people use mobiles, its data management is an unthinkable and unwieldy task.
Emergence of Information Technology made it possible to do the same tasks through computers which earlier required more labour. Companies readily switched to computers. In the course of time, C programming language, Unix etc were conceived. Various kinds of Telecom billing software solutions emerged. In initial years, the networking of its various systems was not possible. So there was physical transfer of data. This led to unwarranted delays and made the whole process inefficient. But today with advances in technology, Telecom billing solutions with networks have evolved. Today it OSS is popular worldwide as the processing solution for generating bills in companies.
OSS must be distinguished from BSS, which is basically Business Support System. It involves interaction with customers and also taking orders from them. The two processes complement each other and companies implement both systems simultaneously. It deals mainly with receiving of orders, payment issues, etc. A service provider executes the following functions -
(i)Product management – This pertains to holistic lifecycle of a product. Its product development, product offers and discounts, mass sale of product.
(ii)Customer management – An application called Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is used by service providers to offer 24x7 services to the customers. This function is responsible to ensure customer satisfaction by resolving their queries.
(iii)Revenue management – This focuses on settlement, charges and billing processes. This function of BSS is often integrated and supports the OSS also.
(iv)Order management – Order management is usually a component of OSS and BSS is used as an instrument to facilitate it. The taking of orders, order decomposition, updating the order status etc. all comes under this.
These two solutions for generating bills have simplified an otherwise gargantuan task of maintaining records of billions of callers. And these have truly proved to be a milestone in the development of billing solutions.
Keywords: Telecom Billing System, Telecom Billing Solutions
By: Lisa Lyon
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